The things I learned in Undergrad

My undergraduate experience hasn’t been very conventional. And I’ve hated myself for that since I returned to school in Fall 2015.

But I just finished a 10-minute guided meditation on self-forgiveness (because apparently I’m a person who meditates now), and as cringey and fluffy as it sounds, I realized something important. Namely, that I have learned so much more since I started university in 2012 than I ever could have if things had gone differently.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had graduated in 2016 with my friends from high school. If I hadn’t switched programs. If I didn’t take time off for eating disorder treatment. Maybe things would have been easier, but they wouldn’t have been better. Because I went to university to learn, and that’s what I did.

2012-2013

I began first-year as an anxious but generally happy super-Christian. I went to church twice a week, I volunteered with a youth group, and I planned to declare Religious Studies as my major in second year. I hardly know that 17-year-old version of me now. I feel compassion for her, because I remember that Christianity gave her a purpose and a community, before it gave her crippling self-hatred for being a sinner and stifled her dreams. I feel compassion for her, but I barely know her. These days, she rarely crosses my mind. Anyways, at some point, this girl decided God was telling her to become a nurse. When I didn’t get into the Nursing program for the following year, I decided to major in Psychology for my second year then transfer into Accelerated Nursing.

2013-2014

At the end of Summer 2013, after university education and life experience left me doubting Christianity for months, I made the decision that I was no longer a Christian. When I went back to school in September, all my friends thought I was going to hell, I had no hobbies or interests outside the church, and I had no direction or purpose for my life. I tried turning to science to give me some sense of meaning. I thought if I learned HOW our species and our planet ended up where they are now, I would also know WHY. I wanted to switch into Biology. Then Biochem. Then general Life Sciences. Then physics. Eventually, I decided to stay in psychology after all and do something to help those with mental illness. I developed Bulimia in the Fall, and barely attended any classes in the Winter. I went to the Psych ER three times with suicidal thoughts. At some point, I thought a change of scenery might help, so I applied to double major in Math and Writing at a different university in January 2015. Over the Summer, I experienced a trauma and my eating disorder became restrictive and took over everything. (When I talk about this, I like to clarify that my eating disorder COINCIDENTALLY became worse and more restrictive at the same time, but restrictive eating disorders are not generally more or less severe than other eating disorders)

2014-2015

Just typing in those years brings me immense sadness. This year must have been the most miserable in my life to date. In the Fall, I couldn’t work, and I was waiting until January to return to school. I watched documentaries under a blanket in my room all day, and had energy/motivation for little else. All I cared about was food and calories and weight. And to be honest, I probably needed it at that time, because everything else had gone to shit. I accepted a referral to a Day Hospital program, because I thought I would be magically better in 8 weeks and go back to school like nothing happened. I started attending classes in February, and relapsed immediately. I still only cared about food and calories and weight. I dropped all my classes in late March or early April because I didn’t have the mental capacity to learn anything. I returned to the Day Hospital program in April. While there, I decided to return to my original university, as it was closer to my home so my parents would be nearby and the trigger of commuting would be gone. This school doesn’t have a writing program, so I intended to double-major in Math and English.

2015-2016

I managed to mostly maintain my recovery through the Summer. I met Jenn in the Fall. She made me happy and was a great motivation for recovery. I’m still getting over our breakup, so I’ll just say the recovery stuck and Jenn did not. I also decided to only major in Math, as that meant graduating with a BSc instead of a BA, and the English courses at this school are not remotely writing-related.

2016-2017

Jenn broke up with me a few days before classes started in September, so I started the term suicidal. I was in the hospital a few times for overdosing, and was very nearly admitted as a psychiatric inpatient. I managed to get my shit together just in time, and got through the term. In the Winter, my roommate was admitted inpatient, and everything was about her for months. I sound unsupportive and I honestly am, but I had zero support and she was incredibly selfish during this time. I don’t want to get into the details, but our friendship became very toxic, and it was all very difficult for me. I made no changes to my program this year, believe it or not.

After 6 years of undergrad, I will (if all goes to plan) finally receive my degree in 2018. That degree will tell the world that I came to university and I learned about math. And I used to take comfort in knowing it wouldn’t say anything else. Like the fact that it took me 6 years to achieve, or the fact that I changed my mind on my program 20394 times, or the fact that I entered school wanting to be a missionary, or the fact that I lost a year of school to complete eating disorder treatment. But today, I kind of wish my degree wouldn’t just say I learned math. I wish it would say that I learned where I stand on religion, how to survive when I don’t want to, how to cope in unhealthy ways, how to cope in healthy ways, how to break and then put myself back together, how to love, the fact that I love women, what heartbreak feels like, how to put my life back together a second time, what I really want to do with my life, and how to work towards the life I really want. Because I learned all those things, and looking back, I wouldn’t change my path one bit, because those struggles and setbacks and detours made me grow into the person I am today. And I learned things about myself and the world that I will use for the rest of my life. So my undergrad hasn’t been conventional, but thank god it hasn’t been.

Sarah

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Today’s Crisis

I am low-key (high-key) freaking the fuck out, as I have been for around 3 weeks now. I’m sorry for unleashing all this negativity on the internet, but you don’t have to read it, so I think it isn’t my fault. Probably.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but my roommate/ best friend has been in the hospital for 2 weeks now. She started being super depressed 3 weeks ago, so that’s when the whole ordeal really started. I found out today she might be in the hospital for 4 weeks. I cannot fucking do this anymore.

I am having such a hard time, every single day, and I have no support. I didn’t realize until now that she was my support. And now I have no one. So I suck it the fuck up and rally every single day and remain the strong one because I don’t have a fucking choice. And she has a boyfriend and a million friends and her family and everybody in the whole damn world to support her, and it’s like she isn’t even trying.

I know that’s a horrible thing to say that somebody with a mental illness isn’t trying. And I don’t know if it’s just too terrible to think she’s really suffering this much, so I make myself believe it isn’t true, but it really fucking feels like she’s doing a lot of this for attention. Again, I know I am a piece of shit. But I can’t stop feeling this way. And I suffer from severe mental illness myself, so it’s not like I don’t understand depression. But I don’t see why she needs to self-harm in obvious places. I don’t see why she needs to tell everybody and their cat that she’s in the hospital. I don’t fucking know.

Now is where I become an even bigger piece of shit. She says she’s doing trauma therapy for a trauma she has never talked about before, and I don’t believe that it happened.

I realize how terrible I sound. I’m reading these words too. But for years, she has insisted that her only trauma was her step-mom dying of cancer. She was asked by doctors for years if anything like this new trauma had happened. And I know it makes sense to not want to talk about a traumatic experience, but we had multiple conversations about this. And why would she bring it up only to lie about it, if it really did happen? How could she seem so casual about it? I feel so strongly that she made this up recently for attention.

I am now re-evaluating everything that has happened since we became friends. And when I think about it, she does seem like an attention-seeker. She talks about having Bulimia with anybody who will listen 24/7. She tells everybody in existence when she’s having a hard time. She will casually talk about killing herself for a week. I’m not 100% convinced that this new analysis is correct; but it feels possible. Again, I know I’m a piece of garbage. But I know what it’s like to experience severe mental illness, and I still feel this way.

If this is the case, we can’t be friends anymore. I can no longer be friends with my roommate, my only support, and my friend of 3 and a half years. I have truly and honestly been fighting everyday to get better. And she seems very content to stay sick and reap all the attention that goes along with that. And that will hinder my efforts to improve my own health. But if I have to do that, then I really have nobody, and then my brain starts going to really dark places.

I don’t know whether these thoughts are true, some defense mechanism, or just me being a worthless excuse for a human, but they’re my thoughts. They’re thoughts I’m too ashamed to mention even to my therapist. I hate her and I hate myself simultaneously. Everybody is selfish. Everybody is a bad person. Everybody hurts people around them. I don’t know. Life has just been so hard lately.

The Ativan I took a while ago is really starting to hit me now, so I don’t know if any of this makes sense, and I definitely need to stop writing. I just needed to get that out there.

Sarah

Trigger Warning: Self-Harm, Overdose, Depression, etc.

First off, I am so terribly sorry if I upset or trigger anybody. That is the last thing I want. I just need somewhere to express these feelings.

It isn’t a secret that it’s been a bad day for me. I’ve gotten through many a bad day in the past few weeks, so that was manageable. But then, I got into a weird impulsive head space and decided to ask my roommate to tell my ex (they were mutual friends) that she should get back together with me. Because reality is a thing that exists, my ex told her that it isn’t going to happen. And there goes my cleverly designed house of cards. So anyways, I am very much not okay.

I am on a lot of Lorazepam again (a safe but very sedating amount), and there was a bit of a self-harm situation.. a pretty bad situation. I am fighting the urge to make terrible jokes, because this is actually a very serious thing. No one needs to be concerned for my safety, as I have a lot of anxiety about death and am not down for that at this time. I also know the resources available to me and DBT strategies blah blah blah. I’m so sorry that you are seeing me in full crazy right now. This head space is where I live right now; I can’t make it stop.

My point is, I am having a horrible night, Ativan can be blaimed for my shit writing, and nobody needs to worry about something bad happening because resources, fear, and DBT. I’ll arise another day to feel deep shame and regret, don’t you even worry.

 

Sarah

I Need Her Back

I am in a very strange, impulsive mood right now. But I have decided that I need my ex girlfriend to be my girlfriend again. That is just what has to happen. I need to stop feeling this way and this is the only way to accomplish that.

I have no idea what I’ll do when she inevitably doesn’t want me back because SHE broke up with ME out of nowhere and I’m a pathetic piece of shit and she never loved me, but right now I’ll just hope that she does want me back. I could never forgive her or trust her again, but I would make it work to stop feeling this awful.

I realize how completely batshit crazy I sound, but I am in a place where I just need to have her back, despite all the fucked up shit she’s done. It is the only way I can ever be okay again. That is the only option. I don’t know.

Sarah