Song to accompany this post
Originally written in early-mid November:
My depression and anxiety have become significantly worse over the past few months (essentially since the fall semester started), and, in early October, my request for a non-academic withdrawal from UTD for the semester was approved.
At first, I thought the symptoms I was experiencing were simply a result of beginning a new semester. I've never been good with change and thought I was just having trouble adjusting to my new 'class' (really an internship for which I received school credit) for the semester. Unfortunately, those symptoms remained and only got worse.
I saw my psychiatrist and he finally told me I needed to take the non-academic/medical withdrawal, twice. He could see how much I did not want to take that action, but he made it very clear that this was not up for discussion and that he would do everything in his power to make it a reality (not in a threatening manner - just looking out for my best interests). After that session with my psychiatrist, I pretty quickly accepted the need for a withdrawal and was overwhelmed with relief. I began the process of getting all the documentation together to request a non-academic withdrawal and sent all of the 'evidence' proving the necessity for such a withdrawal within a couple of days.
Although I experienced relief, I also experienced significant disappointment. It feels like I have taken countless medical/non-academic withdrawals from the various schools I have attended (at least one for every school), and I was hoping my career at UTD would be different, untainted by such a withdrawal.
The need for this withdrawal was also more difficult because as of the end of the Summer 2018 semester, I was, and am, finally a college senior. This probably seems like a very small accomplishment as I was supposed to be a college senior by the Fall 2013 semester, but for me, it is huge. I have experienced such a significant setback and various challenges with my college career since my mental health diagnoses because I have only been able to take 1-2 classes/semester because my anxiety, and, thus, perfectionism has become overwhelming.
Once I received the news that I was officially a college senior at UTD, I quickly planned out a possible future schedule for each semester and determined that it was (possibly) feasible to graduate in Spring 2020. I was excited and hopeful. I felt that I could see a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and the withdrawal from this Fall semester only sets me back from that plan and of finally accomplishing the fulfillment of all requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.
I can make up for the withdrawal from this semester by taking a class or two over the summer, but I also do not want to feel such an obligation. I would like to actually have a summer or two off to actually take a vacation if I feel up to doing so (that's a whole 'nother post).
I know this post is extremely pessimistic, but I do have hope as I recently began a new treatment. I do not want to elaborate on that at this point but plan to do so in the near future once I'm farther along with the treatment and am in a relatively stable place.
Although this semester has not gone as planned, I do still have hope. It is difficult for me to accept this unexpected setback and the loss of the amazing project I was working on with my internship, but if my mental illness diagnoses have taught me anything it is that those diagnoses will come out to get me at the most unexpected and unwelcome times. The silver lining, though, is that I am able to seek out this new treatment, especially since the holidays are nearing, and I have hope that I will be able to actually participate in all the various holiday celebrations and enjoy them. Thank you all for your support and love in all of its various forms. I'm still fighting and do see at least the potential for hope and light in my future.
Update: Thanskgiving went well with my family and I was able to participate (fully) in nearly all activities 😀