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  1. #1

    To college, or not to college...

    ...Okay, if I may give a brief history of myself? Ahem, ahem...

    I have struggled with mental illness all of my life; my own, my mother's, my sibling's. About ten years ago, my illness became so severe that I landed in the hospital for the first time. I was only kept for a few hours despite being actively suicidal, but the evaluating psychiatrist in the county hospital recommended that I go home and seek therapy on my own as the psyche unit in that hospital would probably be a bit too intense for me (the unit primarily serves patients who are severely psychotic), and also since we did not have health insurance at the time, I would only run up a very big debt.

    So I went home and did my best to forget the whole scenario. A few months later, I went to our family doc and explained to him that I was depressed and suicidal, and would he kindly prescribe me some of those anti-depressants I had heard about. He threatened to have me committed to the state hospital. I begged him to reconsider, and he gave me a few weeks worth of Prozac while extracting the promise from me that I would search out a psychiatrist. Yeah, sure, whatever...

    A few weeks later, I did actually attempt suicide and I then was pressured to find a psyche-doc. This was the best turn of luck that had ever happened to me, for I contacted a psychiatrist who has sense helped me to heal in so many ways.

    Now, for those of your who are still reading, I have been working with Dr. L for almost ten years now, and we have made great strides in my illness. For the past two years, I have been officially labeled as "Permanantly Mentally Disabled." I have been recieving Medical and Social Security, but I want to be more than my diagnosis. I discussed returning to school to get a degree in psychology with Dr. L and he says that he has been angling towards that direction for a long time. He believes that I will be a great therapist despite my Major Depressive Disorder, My Anxiety/Panic Disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Really, it has been my dream to be a therapist who works primarily with teenagers and young adults ever since forth grade. I love teenagers! It would be such an honor to help them grow and learn. Dr. L says I would be a fantastic therapist, and I believe him.

    BUT, and a very big but that is, I don't always have control over what others inside will do. I once had a job as a secretary in a mortgage brokers agency where one of my people inside grew so angry with one of my bosses that she jumped out and said "F*** you, B****!" Well, the truth was, that boss was a f***ing b****, but that didn't change the fact that I was fired. Then later on I was a barista at Starbuck's (Great place to work, wonderful environment, great management, outstanding benefits package), but on a very busy morning where one of the other baristas didn't show up, and my boss and I were the only ones there, I became so overwhelmed that someone inside popped out and cut in the back room of the place. I have had other experiences such as these, though they weren't nearly as dramatic, but it makes me leary of actually putting myself at risk by going back to college.

    Anyway, I would appreciate to hear anyone's thoughts on this, especially in how to tell that I have reached a point where I no longer have to fear what people inside might do. Thanks in advance.

    Allegro

  2. #2

    To college, or not to college...

    What does Dr. L say? I mean, I read that he supports you going back to school, but does he offer any advice or thoughts about your concerns?

    Don't forget too that getting your degree will take years. Going back to school would be a great place to "test the waters" and give you and Dr. L lots of opportunities to see if you can work through some of these things if they come up? You could try it and see how it goes? Maybe take 1 course to get back into the education routine and if that goes well, you could always add more courses the following semester.

    Did Dr. L suggest anything in terms of a plan for going back?

  3. #3

    Good thoughts, Healthbound...

    ...No, we haven't yet discussed the details of going back to school. He is careful not to push in any way. It's a good idea for he and I to sit down and build a specific plan, however.

    You are right, of course, that college might be the best of all environments to test the waters before diving into any sort of career at all. I guess I am just afraid of the unknown. I was in college before for a year, and it went very well. I even worked as a writing tutor. I only had one major mishap when trying to work with a completely dense and lazy sophmore who was under the delusion that I was supposed to write her paper for her.

    Anyway, I have to go now, but I want to thank you for your remarks. They gave me a lot to think about. Be gentle with yourself

    Allegro

  4. #4

    To college, or not to college...

    No problem Allegro. Returning to school was actually very instrumental for me after my sister died (I was in school when she died, but left immediately after her death. When I returned I went into a completely different field which, for me at the time, also helped). It helped give me a new focus and purpose. It also taught me to handle stress differently. The stress I was facing was completely different stress than I was used to, but none-the-less, I certainly learned new coping mechanisms.

    It was a really good choice for me at the time. Keep us posted :)

  5. #5

    To college, or not to college...

    Hi Allegro. I really don't know anything about Dissociative Identity Disorder, but when you said that you wanted to be more than your diagnosis, well I couldn't help but encourage you in that! Perhaps going to school and striving to reach your goals will help you in your recovery process. I know that the worst thing you can do when you're depressed is to do nothing. But, I agree with healthbound. It's unnecessary and maybe even dangerous to push yourself too hard, too fast. Yes, maybe try taking one course. If it goes well, then continue as a part-time student. It's no fun dropping out of a course after you've started it, so go slowly. It might take a long time, but so what? It will be time spent well.
    I can imagine that having DID is scary and frustrating, but it sounds like you have confidence in yourself. You know that you're smart and that you'd make a good therapist. That's a great start! But, if you go back to school I think you should make sure that you give yourself enough time to continue seeing Dr. L. You don't want to be so busy that you have to abandon therapy. That might just cause too much stress which might cause a bad reaction.
    That's all I have to say, except for Good Luck!

  6. #6

    To college, or not to college...

    Thank you, Diana. But I have to say that having DID is not nearly as scary as it once was. It still can be difficult and frustrating at times, but frankly, the anxiety disorder and the depression is far more scary and frustrating.

    I will always make sure that I reserve time in my schedule to see Dr. L. He is my touchstone, and if I ever drifted away from him, my husband would certainly make sure to put me back on course again. He knows that Dr. L. has not only helped me reach a place where life works most of the time, but Dr. L. has also helped our family work better with each other. He and my daughters are very grateful to Dr. L.

    Again, thank you for your thoughts and encouragement. I am going to call up the local community college and find out about how to go about enrolling for spring or summer semester.

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