Existential Crisis

My therapist had a cancellation today, so she was able to schedule me in last-minute. I usually enjoy our appointments, as I typically leave them with a better understanding of my problems and their solutions. Today was different.

My entire one-hour appointment consisted of my therapist convincing me to do the intensive DBT program. I am usually a very compliant patient as I am terrified of authority, but in the last 4 days, I have told 4 different healthcare professionals that I will probably not be doing what they are asking of me. My brain is telling me that I must be wrong, because two psychiatrists, a GP, and a therapist must know better than I do. But I feel so strongly that not doing this treatment is the right decision.

I spent much of today’s appointment detailing the following reasons for so stubbornly refusing to put school on hold: I will already be graduating two years behind my peers; with an expected graduation date of April 2018, I am already sick of undergrad and more than ready to move on with my life; my roommate, who started university one year later than I did, will be graduating in 2018 and we have considered going to grad school in BC together. Most importantly, school is all I have right now. I worry that taking that away would only make me feel worse.

That last point sparked a chain of conversation that ended with me not knowing who I am or what reality is.

For the past month, I have been thinking on a very small scale. Get through this day. Go to this class. Don’t overdose this weekend. When my therapist began talking about my future, like my future future, it really threw me off. Further, she encouraged me to re-frame some of my firm beliefs about school and failure, which caused me to question every belief I have.

She asked what I planned on doing with my degree, and I told her about my current, tentative plans (grad school and a career in public policy analysis). She asked if this is what I see myself doing in the future. I said yes, and I meant it.

But then I started wondering, “Is public policy really what I want to do?”, “Will I be happy doing that?”, “Will I ever be happy?”, “What does it mean to be happy?”, “What is the purpose of life?”. I pretended to continue listening while I experienced this existential crisis. I didn’t have words for the places my mind was going. Even now, I am having a hard time explaining it.

I started thinking, “Do I even know anything about what I like?”, “Do I know anything about myself?”, “Do I know anything about anything?”. It was obviously incredibly disorienting. This thought-spiral was further fueled by my inability to trust my own judgement after disagreeing with so many professionals. In theory, I can be sure I know the answers to these questions, and still be wrong.

I am still questioning my firmly-held belief that I can recover from this episode without intensive treatment. I really, really, really believe it to be true. But the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. And I never think I’m going to overdose again until I do, so there’s a good chance I’m being overly optimistic. I don’t know.

This has all left me feeling incredibly disoriented and anxious, and I hope these feelings pass soon because I am not too keen on them. I also hope I end up being right about treatment, because I don’t think I could handle pushing school back right now. She mentioned the possibility of a weekly DBT group, but said she would only feel comfortable with me doing that if I was incredibly serious about it and the staff paid extra-close attention to me. I’ll go to my assessment for intensive DBT, but I would greatly prefer this weekly group, and I am willing to work hard to make sure it’s enough.

I don’t really know how to end this post because my mind is still in a pretty strange place, so I guess I’ll just go.

Sarah

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