Ogre in the Playground
Join Date: Feb 2010
Re: Personal Woes and Advice 2
Mostly I'm writing this because I need to put it
in pixels, but advice rarely hurts. Spoilered because I know stories of depression can trigger others.
So, I have depression. Also fibromyalgia, and scar tissue in my trapezius muscles in my upper back from surgery. They had to cut through them to get to the spine, and I can't stay standing for very long and I certainly can't do anything that requires a lot of bending over. I had to give up my dream of becoming a doctor when I realized there was no way I could handle a 24-hour shift as a resident. Thankfully I found a new dream, but I think that's gone too.
I graduated with a BA in biology May 2011. A year late because I had to take time off to recover from surgery. I had intended to go to grad school and pursue a PhD and teach/do research. I got a grant to do my own research the summer before my last year, and it went well enough that my advisor wanted me to keep working on it and publish. But that fall (2010), my health collapsed. Major fibromyalgia which triggered horrible depression. Or maybe the other way around; it's hard to tell sometimes. I'd sleep through classes (not a huge problem) and meetings (huge problem).
Eventually, my advisor called me in for a talk. He couldn't write me the sterling recommendation he had planned because my health was interfering with my productivity too much. I nearly broke down in tears, but he was right. If I could show that I can handle >40-hour weeks, he said, he'd reverse his position.
Fast forward to January. I wasn't taking classes because I'd gotten enough credits, but I hadn't graduated because I took a couple incompletes. Specifically on my thesis, an extension of my summer research. I fell apart again. My depression was so bad that I started dissociating, basically riding around in my body, unable to control it. I didn't answer emails or phone calls from my advisor. I didn't leave the house (my parents', since I wasn't taking classes). The only thing keeping me from killing myself was the fact that it would devastate my family, and as much as I wanted to end my existence, I couldn't do that to my family.
I snapped out of it in March. I whipped out the thesis in a week of frenzied statistics and writing, and got it to my advisor in time for him to grade it. I got an A, and honors.
I walked in May, and my advisor and I planned to keep working on the thesis. I did for a while. I enrolled in a graduate-level class at a nearby state school that fall, and aced it. But then I fell apart again. I had to have a minor surgery, and the narcotics brought back the depression with a vengeance. I didn't tell my advisor. I couldn't. Even when I had a cgood day and could drag myself out of bed to work on my thesis, I was too afraid to contact my advisor. I had ahrdly anything to show for the months I hadn't talked to him.
And that went on for months. And it got worse. I looked for work, but to no avail. I started volunteering at a science museum, and that was fantastic. Until a week ago. They were having a reptile show, and, as usual, they were short on handlers. So I got a double shift. Shouldn't have been a problem; it was only six hours, and I had a lunch break.
I barely made it. I had to stop on the way home and take a nap. A cop knocked on my door to make sure I was okay. I told him I was, but I don't think he believed me, because he drove by a few more times before I finally felt up to driving the remaining thirty miles.
And it was on those thirty miles that it hit me. I don't know if I can ever hold a job. I mean, I have fibromyalgia. I know that maybe half of sufferers never have full-time employment, but I thought I would be one of the lucky ones. I'd made it through college, right? But I didn't spend a lot of time doing school work in college. I hate to say it, but I'm kinda brilliant, at least when it comes to academic stuff. I could bang out a ten-page essay in a couple hours. Revise it once in fifteen minutes, and get an A. I didn't have to study, because I remember almost anything I read or write down. College wasn't work.
So I'm living with my parents. My one goal in life, to get my higher degree and be a professor is probably unreachable. I don't know what kind of jobI could possibly do with my limitations. And my relationship with my advisor, the person who, aside from family, supported and believed in me most, is probably in tatters. I don't know for sure, because I haven't talked to him in a year.
And then there are the little things. Like that I'm overweight for the first time, when for the first 20 years of my life I had to force feed myself to maintain 118 lb. on a 6' 1" frame. That my weight makes me more depressed, but the depression makes it impossible to diet or excercise. That my cat needs to have two teeth pulled, because I thought her bad breath was inconsequential and so didn't realize I needed to bring her to the vet until I went to brush her teeth and her gums bled profusely. It'll be $500 to take those teeth out. My parents, thank the gods, are going to be able to help; I don't know what I'd do if they couldn't. But she still has to wait until my dad gets paid on the first of the next month. She's baring it so well, despite the horrible pain she must be in. She's so sweet. I feel like a horrible kitty-daddy, and the fact that she still loves me and cuddles with me every night makes me feel even worse.
I really don't know what to do. I'm on meds, and seeing a therapist. It helps, a little. Not enough I want to kill myself, but I won't. I can't, really; I can't hurt my family like that. But I feel like I'm living a mockery of a life, with no feasible goals and nothing I want to do.
Count Strahd von Zarovich by Matthias2207