Around this time last year, I started a thread called Psychosis and... Me?. In it, I confessed a lot of mental anxiety I'd been experiencing and asked you all for some advice about confirming or denying my suspicions. My last post in the thread was simply to say I had made an appointment with my university counselor. A lot of things have happened in the year since then, and I feel obligated to give an update considering how helpful and patient you all were with me.
Well, when the day came round to go to the appointment I had steeled myself for the experience - I was ready. I was gonna get better. I ended up being 20 minutes late, and the self check-in machine wouldn't recognise me. Mortified, I practically fled the place and beat myself up for days afterwards for ruining my only chance.
Then, about a month later after all exams were over, things sort of erupted at home. It came out over dinner one day that I had failed all the classes I took that year (bar one repeat exam that I managed to pass). I confessed I wanted to drop out. My parents were furious, and my mam started piling enormous pressure on me. She researched courses I could take to become a secretary (she planned for me to work as a secretary for a few years while I did a night-time degree in Business ). It was insane. Anyway, one morning she was lecturing me as usual about how I needed to lose weight and I just snapped. Cracked really. I broke down in tears and she finally saw what all the pressure was doing to me. She gave me room to breathe and time to think.
She begged me to go to see a counselor, and I admitted that I'd tried almost 6 weeks ago, but chickened out and didn't think I'd be given another chance since the university's resources are so tight. She decided to ring the place up and see what the story was - they gave me a new appointment. She insisted on taking the day off work to drive me in and wait outside for me. It was embarrassing, but nice all the same.
Anyway, my appointment with the counselor was fairly crap. He kept trying to pigeon-hole me into one of 4 categories and pretty much ignored me when I said I was afraid I might be depressed (he just confirmed I wasn't self-harming or suicidal). While he said he'd be happy to talk to me again, I never went back to him. My extended family suddenly became overly-helpful - I was getting offers to come stay with various aunts and uncles for a few days. I was annoyed with my mam for discussing my private affairs with other people at first, but then I realised she needed to talk about it too. So I let it go.
I did, however, drop out of my course. It was the thing to do - I felt like I had hit a brick wall with it, and had no wish to continue. I went to see a career counselor twice, and together we worked through an enormous list of over 500 careers, whittling it down to ten, and then three that I could see myself doing. We researched those final ones intensively, and eventually (August by this stage) I decided to go back to college full time to study Computer Science.
While I didn't get a place in the exact college I wanted (which, in hindsight, would have been a bad choice anyway), I did get a place in a small, private college about 20 minutes from my home. And, through a stroke of luck, the 4-year course is subsidised by the government as an incentive to get more Irish people into the IT industry. I only have to pay what I normally would to attend a public university instead (for the first two years anyway).
I love my course. It's great. The small college atmosphere suits me so much better than the enormous anonymity of the large university I attended before. I've made a few new friends and in general, life is pretty good. I've been getting excellent results in most of my assessments/assignments to date, and have only had very minor lapses of procrastination and laziness. While I still do have some issues to overcome (such as poor self-image and my weight), I feel pretty good most of the time.
I have not gone back to any counselor or mental health practitioner since my one-and-only ill-fated encounter with the unhelpful man I mentioned earlier. I've considered it a handful of times in the last few months, but haven't really had any urge to go. The change of scenery has really lifted the majority of my anxiety though, so it doesn't seem particularly necessary. Perhaps I'll make a one-off arrangement over the summer to get an evaluation. I think it would be a useful thing to have.
Anyway, that's pretty much my story. I feel indebted to the wonderful posters here at TypoC for helping me to recognise what I was experiencing wasn't normal. Without you I would probably never have made that first appointment, never considered depression to be a problem, never have admitted to myself that I was in the wrong degree course. I can't offer anything in return but an update on my life, so here it is. Thank you for reading