Most of the people reading this (as of the time of this writing, anyway) are friends of mine, but for anyone who isn’t: lately I’ve been dealing with some pretty serious depression recently. I had to take Incomplete grades in both my classes (and I have to have the last of the work due by next Wednesday; or at least that’s the goal I’m setting myself so I’m not trying to cram everything just before midnight on Saturday the 28th). I’ve been dealing with suicidal ideation on and off for months. There was even a small amount of self-harm earlier in the week. I’m safe — not going to kill myself or anything — but I’m sick of feeling this way.
Because of the depression I’m having to put off grad school for a year. (Instead of getting my BA this month as planned, I won’t graduate until August, and I can’t exactly start grad school before the “grad” part happens.) I honestly don’t even know if I’ll reapply. I’ve been struggling with mental illness for over 15 years now, and while it’s much better than it was even eight years ago I’m still not as functional as I’d hoped I’d be by now. Maybe I’m better off just getting my BA finished up, and then trying to get a part-time job as a peer counselor in the local mental health system. I’ve done that job before, several years ago in my hometown, and doing it part-time might not push me too hard. I have to push myself some — I have to swim at least a little or else I’ll sink — but I don’t want to reach the point where I break my brain even more. I could also spend time on my fiber/textile stuff as well, that way.
I’m under tremendous pressure from the Valkyrie and her mom to get my master’s and help support the three of us. (Valkyrie is physically disabled, and her mom’s in her 70’s.) I want that MSW degree, but I’m trying to be honest with myself about my limits. I always was on board with me as breadwinner. I thought I would be able to work full-time, eventually. But again, after 15 years I’m still not even capable of even a part-time job. It’s just setback after setback, one step forward and two steps back, over and over.
I don’t feel like I’m failing at life. I do the best I can, and as much as I can, given my illnesses. I could just sit on my ass and watch TV all day, but I don’t; I want to work outside the home if at all possible and I want to help make the world a teeny bit better if possible. I’m not content to be an apathetic couch potato. But I am limited. I hate it, but there it is.
My psychiatrist tells me I expect too much from myself and hold myself up to impossible standards. Maybe it’s time to be realistic about the future. What do you think?