Saturday, May 19, 2007
Paranoid? Well, that just confirms all my suspicions!
I've had mental health issues for years -- primarily depression, but grad school triggered new and worrisome anxiety issues. I'm still dealing with those issues. Last year I had a wee bit of a freak-out when I had to go off meds because of secondary health problems and ended up with symptoms of drug withdrawal plus the awesome bonus of stark anti-social depression. That pretty much sucked ass, but I found a new doctor, tried Prozac again (didn't work), tried a new med, started counselling, started a homeopathic regime and started to feel a bit better.
Two years ago, I would not have said that grad school had anything to do with my mental health. I had issues and medical problems before, and most of my issues during the MA were related to being tired and genuinely burnt out -- I'd never taken a real break and I really didn't have much to offer intellectually. And some of my issues are probably just that -- mine. But the PhD has certainly taken a toll on me. The SSHRC process was hell, and I still feel like a loser because the PhD SSHRC was never a real possibility for me (facetious thanks to the uni grad committe) and never will be. No one was ever honest with me -- that was their fault -- but my fault was taking that dishonesty, which was probably their attempts at protecting me from very harsh criticisms, and spinning it into disapproval. And spinning that into paranoia.
Today my counselor told me my health concerns (which are utterly unfounded, and I knew that BUT still needed to hear it from someone else) have turned into a paranoia, and if I'm not careful that paranoia will make me delusional. That's hard to hear, especially now -- when I was 16, 18 or 20 I felt unstable, but these days I feel pretty stable in most ways, and yet I constantly undercut myself with bizarre insecure notions. And in some ways my continuing student identity has contributed to such feelings, which sucks.
But at the end of the day, I know this much: if every day could start with therapy, or even a self-directed therapy exercise, the remaining work day would be so, so much better.
Oh, and eff SSHRC! The same stupid committee crushed my confidence this year and I won't let them do it to me again.
I also know exactly what you mean. Going into regular therapy, and switching medications until I found the "right" one (and then upping the dose...), and working on meditation have been immensely helpful. But I'm still left with the same undermining feelings, precisely when, as Tara says, I'm supposed to be doing what I love.
Hang in there, and good luck: It's going to be OK.