My childhood if you can even call it that was by no means easy. as the oldest of many children I was in charge from early on…. Our father was/is difficult to describe… not only does he seem incapable of holding a job, but he constantly fluctuates between abusive/controlling, extremely depressed, and crazy credit card happy showering us with gifts that his parents eventually have pay for. Our mother is just very meek. It took her over 10 yrs to divorce him and that same year she randomly went blind due to retina detachments. After many surgeries she has some vision back in each eye.
With four younger siblings to take care of, life before college was no walk in the park. But, I still managed to graduate with honors and participate in nearly every academic club. I moved away for college and was doing ok until about a year ago. I was set to graduate with both a BS in psych & a BA in philosophy. I also tutored underprivileged kids, presented my research at several conferences, and played in the orchestra. Plans for grad school were looking great. It was like nothing could stop me. But then something changed. I started have trouble paying attention in my favorite classes. I would read an assignment 5 times and not know what I read. My thoughts seemed to run together. At night instead of studying I would realize that I had just been sitting, day dreaming I guess for hours. I went from hardly ever sleeping to never sleeping.
By the end of the semester I was sleeping a lot, drinking a lot, and quickly found many new friends of the wrong sort. One night after a party at my place was over I went straight to bed. I later awoke to find that I failed to lock the door and one of my new found “friends” had decided to take full advantage of the opportunity. I later learned that he had planned the whole night to go that way. This “friend” just happened to be a very popular student on our campus and known as a great Christian. I knew no one would believe my story. I hadn’t talked to my real friends in a long time and I was scared of their reactions. I just got up and went to school and pretended it never happened. Most of my friends still have no clue. I knew my family would be sad and angry so they don’t know either.
I threw myself back into my work. Still having attention issues, I saw a doctor and neuropsychologist. I came out of testing with a great IQ score, diagnosis of ADD, a math disability, & a reading disability. A few months ago, I wasn’t feeling well and was just having trouble keeping up with my schedule. I was tired all the time and napped during every lunch break, and went to bed as soon as I got home. A friend turned me into the university counselor for possibly being suicidal. Honestly, I probably was. I was given Celexa and Adderall. I didn’t sleep for a few days after that and returned to the doctor with tonsils swollen too much for me to eat. Diagnosis – tonsillitis. Three antibiotics later I was still sick. Finally, blood tests revealed strep in my bloodstream and Epstein-Barr. After a total of 8 new medications in less than two months I still wasn’t feeling well. By this point I was far behind in all my classes, research, and grad school applications. When my GRE score came back lower than expected I was crushed. Trying to catch up with my 19 hrs of classes and still sleep occasionally just wasn’t working. I decided I would much rather die than have a horrible gpa and not get into a PhD program. But, (obviously) I miscalculated and just woke in the ER. To my surprise they actually released me to my mother that same day. The university let me walk in graduation without actually finishing. Most friends think I was hospitalized for mono. I think my professors are a little more aware.
I went home for awhile, but now I am back to face the music. I’m just trying to finish things so I can get out of here. I started seeing a therapist now, and a nurse practitioner prescribed me Wellbutrin XL about a week ago. I don’t think I have slept well since. I’m awake, but not a productive kind of awake. I feel like I’m just here …just existing. Like I said, I’m a psych major. I know the DSM back and forth. I guess I worry that is somehow clouding my judgment. I don’t want to be seen as someone listing symptoms for a diagnosis or something. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I just want to get my life back as soon as possible. Do you have any advice?
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