On The Road To Higher Education

When I was seventeen years old, I dropped out of high school and moved 600 miles away with a man I'd met on the internet. He was nine years older than me.

I did this for my own survival. My mother was poisoning me - not in the literal sense, but in a figurative and emotional one. Which, I suppose, could still be construed as literal, couldn't it? I ran. I ran away because I had to. I left my teenage life behind and flung myself headfirst into an adult world. I got my first job two months later and have worked ever since. 

I am 10+ years older now, and have never gotten my GED. My intelligence, my ability to learn new things, and my willingness to take on new tasks have gotten me this far. I make a decent wage, I suppose, and along with my husband's income (I kicked the internet boyfriend to the curb years ago), we make a decent living for ourselves.

I was content using my strong computer and administrative skills to keep me afloat until recently, when I realized that I was miserable. I desire more. I don't want to work at a desk for people who don't respect my intelligence and view me as "cheap help" anymore. I have more inside of me than that. I want to be seen as more than a fast typist. I want my skills to be valued. I have the potential to do great things, and I am tired of sitting and waiting. Of being afraid. Of letting people treat me as if this is all I'm good for.

So I begin my quest for higher education. The road ahead is really daunting. I have many years to go, and I'm not 100% sure what I want to do - what career I'd like to pursue. I want to write - that is my passion, that is what makes me happy. I have to start somewhere. I have to just take the first step. And then the second, and the third, and so on until I get somewhere. I should've been doing this shit ten years ago., but life took me in other directions. I feel I've finally landed in a place that I am not happy to stay. Something's got to give, and turning to education, so that one day I may find a career where I am happy and respected, seemed the only way.

 

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Dark Mark

I used to occasionally post on a message board called, "Do You Believe?" It was a discussion board where posters would throw out a topic and people would debate it and defend their particular points of view.

It was interesting, but it was filled with people who brought hateful and narrow-minded speak to the board. For that reason, more than any other, I remained a "lurker" who popped in enough that the regulars got to become familiar enough with me, but not enough to become a "boardie" myself. That was fine with me.

On one particular thread, the discussion somehow turned to the topic of sexual abuse. Of children, no less. 

One of the posters, who always posted with a religious quote or bible-oriented commentary, made the following remark, "Children who were sexually abused have a dark mark on their soul forever." As a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I was a little sensitive about the subject, so I asked her for some clarification of her statement. 

She went on to say that, although the child is innocent in the abuse, once they are subject to that act, they are "marked for life" because their souls are no longer pure. So then, they continue to suffer during their lives. It's not their fault, but evil has entered them. 

I was so appalled by her belief. Who can't see that sexual abuse is a crime like any other? The child is having sex forced upon them in some way. If the child was robbed, would the same rules apply? After all, the child was subjected to evil then, too. They were forced to suffer the consequences of a person who was breaking a commandment and stealing.

Sometimes those with limited knowledge on subjects should really consider how their opinions can make others feel. 

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Assumptions

The counselor helped to a point. I'm out of state-funding to keep going back, but more than that, I think I've gotten what I can from her. When I ask her questions about how to balance between two things that I need, like not being too tough on myself vs. having high expectations, she says "I don't know."

Enlightening.

So, for practicalities, it seems I have to muddle along and decide for myself whether I keep driving out of town to her office anyway.

And for deeper issues that I have...

This part is hard to write.

She and I have talked about self-esteem; she thinks it should be based on deciding that I'm a good person based on values like honesty and being nice. I agree that that's necessary but not that it's sufficient. Similarly, she talks about how some of her favorite research is examining happy people to find out why they're happy, so that the rest of us can imitate them and be happy too. Like happy is the ultimate value and goal. The obvious conclusion is that I should be happy; I disagree with the assumption.

I cannot convince myself that I deserve to be happy. I know that most people take this as self-evident, and go on to use it to prove that they should do something because it will make them happy. It isn't self-evident to me, and I can't find the proof for it. I used to have a non-rigorous proof, consisting of the fact that I was going to help people, and helping people was a good thing so that made me valuable. My plans to have a career based on helping people, though, keep falling through - so that proof no longer applies to me.

I can't even convince myself that I deserve to be alive, when I haven't been able to contribute anything to the universe, like I planned. I believe that "everyone has the right to live" in the sense that, as a general rule, it is wrong to end another human being's life. I can believe based on that, that no one would have the right to shoot me or run me down in traffic, but there's a gap between that and being able to convince myself that my existence is justified. This is another thing where I realize that other people take it for granted. How could I assume I should be happy if I can't even say with any certainty that I should be alive?

And I already know what you're all thinking, "this girl must be planning to jump off a bridge." I'm not. Because whether I can justify my existence or not, suicide is a selfish decision; it means deciding that the pain you're getting out of is more important than the pain you cause in the process. 

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Better Living Through Chemistry?

My doctor put me on a well-known depression/anxiety medication. This is something I have a great amount of anxiety over, especially since looking up the laundry list of possible side-effects. Damned Google, why do you provide so many answers? But seriously, I'm going to keep taking this stuff and get this Dialectical Behavior Therapy underway.

My shaman tells me that we must look for the medicines that help us, whether they come from plants or from a pharmacy. I agree, especially since this disease, if left unchecked, will ruin the lives of my loved-ones, as well as my own prospects for a better future. I suppose a bit of indigestion or diarrhea will be worth it. I just don't want the confusion, convulsions, heart palpitations or the most serious, serotonin syndrome, which could be fatal.

But I need to eat. I've lost nearly thirty pounds in the last few months ...I need to eat! But, since my circumstances have changed, I simply haven't had the energy to cook anything. I've been eating junk, mostly, which is better than nothing, but I'm still losing weight. Even choking down chocolate has become a bit of a chore for me, and it's one of the things I love! I suppose I've been subsisting on what little junk food I've managed to eat, water, coffee, nicotine and tea. Food just isn't appealing to me right now. Junk food, water, nicotine and caffeine are basic food groups, right? I'm not sure what to do about this part of what's happening right now. When I do eat, I get full quickly and sick shortly after.

Well, Bandmates, that's my update. I hope you are all well out there in the internet. Love ya!

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Depression Hangover

I don't know where to start. I have had dysthymia for as long as I can remember. My new therapist says it is like a living a half-life. I guess it is. This year, it slipped into something worse. This year has been one of the worst years of my life and I have had some pretty bad years. I had a relationship end, I started a bout of major depression that left me 70 pounds heavier, I had two surgeries, I am in a job that I hate, and on November 21st, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I can't stop thinking that I wished it had been me. I feel trapped by bad choices. I have nothing left to give anyone anymore. I feel dead inside, but I hide it well. No one really knows how many times I came close to killing myself this year. I grew up with an alcoholic, I grew up in a violent household where I never felt safe. I was molested several times by several men and one female relative.

I feel trapped in this fatsuit. I feel like the best years of my life are behind me. I feel damaged and broken. I am trying to get help. The mental health resources where I live are spread pretty thin. I get to see a therapist once a month, if I am lucky, and I see a doctor for meds for ten mins a month. He switched me some of my medications because of the weight gain. I have tried about ten different anti-depressants and all of them had some kind of unpleasant side effect. I keep hoping I will find one that actually works. I also take an anxiety medication. I take it to control the panic attacks I get when I am out in public. I take it to quiet the loop of negative thoughts I have going through my head everyday. 

This is my first post. I come here and I know that I am not alone. I thank the brave people who share their stories here.

I am trying to get better.  I am with The Band.

 

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