Returning To School After A Nervous Breakdown
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If you are like me, I thought my future was over. I could see myself in a mental institution my whole life, and the thing was, was that it could have been that way if I had chosen to follow my negative self talk (which was easier than fighting it). Here I was, seeing my friends graduate from college, and I was some pathetic person either in a hospital or at home feeling unlike myself, depressed, or suffering from anxiety or I couldn't even go into public or I would have a panic attack. I didn't think I would ever be in the state of mind to go back to school.
We all have experienced a time where we haven't been able to see any hope in getting better or we unknowingly define our reality when we think about our failures in life. This is key. The way we feel defines what goes through our brain. Even if you are not medicated, our brain forces us to think something, and we can either drive ourselves crazy or accept it. Think about going back to school in this way.
School was traumatizing for me. It was not what many college students experience during their school years. I didn't graduate on time, I was a person that I didn't like, but had to live with since I was living in my body. I thought being away from college meant I wouldn't know how to get back into school and whether I would be able to live without my parents.
What have I discovered?
I am not thirty or a forty year old woman that has taken 10 years off like my Mom did going back to school. It has only been 2 years from when I had my psychotic break. Some people may think going back into college is too soon for me, but from my doctors point of view, the sooner I enter society, the better an understanding I'll have that life can be lived well even with my illness.
I have discovered that there are more majors out there that have to do with me than I even imagined. I think probably because Regis was so small we didn't get such a huge list of majors, but really, CSU California' schools are amazing and huge. A smaller school like Regis did save me from myself. I met friends that really grounded me in a way so that I did not act on my suicidal tendencies as much as I would have liked to at the time. A small school was able to hone into my real self when I really needed to be in school.
Even after two years of time off, going back to a college campus seems foreign to me, and to not have the people I saw in Colorado around me on a daily basis is weird, but being in a new environment is an inspiration for me. I realize that I can participate in class better, I understand concepts better, and I do not complain about assignments as much as I did when I was younger. To be even a few years older compared to when you started college is a blessing in disguise. Taking care of yourself is crucial, and hopefully when you enter college later in life you see the importance of what an education can give you. You realize that fitting in isn't important and that you will make friends doing the most unexpected things.
Appreciate Your Life
Enjoy being young. Recognize your diagnosis, and concentrate on the fact that you have a second chance at life. No one has taken true life away from you. We always blame our illness for what we think we have lost when really it just may be that we are intentionally blocking out what we assume is the reality. Therefore, it's important to recognize that reality is constructed in our own minds.
At the end of the day we are most likely the ones who are able to give ourselves our second chance at life. We are the ones who have fallen down a million times and are now able to stand up and face the world with determination. If you are not at this point in your recovery, do not worry about it. I may be writing all of this as though my recovery has been a piece of cake, but believe me it has been challenging, and I am grateful for that. Nothing is easy in life and I know college is never going to be easy, but I do know that getting help early on was the best decision that I made. People still do not understand me, some friends do not talk to me, but being young means that I have a life ahead of me and it is a blank book ready for me to write. Perhaps it will be a combination of drama, tragedy, comedy, and love. We shall see.
- Susan page