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Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by alison, Jan 21, 2010.

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  1. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, I don't know if this is 'crisis' enough to warrant this forum, but I'm so confused and need advice.

    I'm currently in graduate school - in a one-year masters program. I finished my first semester last fall, and actually managed to do well. I liked my classes and got straight A's, magically :unsure:

    So I guess classes I can handle okay, I like the structure, and if I'm too nervous to actually go to classes I can always figure the material out by reading texts and such. But my thesis is in such miserable condition! My anxiety has been getting so bad lately. Classes start next week, but I was supposed to be working on my thesis through all of January, and I've gotten nothing done. I managed to get into lab once this entire month, but all the other tiems I couldn't make myself leave my house, or I would just drive aimlessly for a few hours and then come home.

    I just watch tv all day, basically, because every time I think about my thesis or looking for a job, I freak out and have a panic attack. It's scary, I feel like I can't breathe, like I'm going to throw up, and get really dizzy. Because I can't do anything productive, the depression is getting so bad. Everything makes me cry lately - from seriously sad things like the terrible earthquakes in Haiti, to ridiculous things (like when Carly and Sam got into a fight on iCarly *slaps self*).

    I'm living back home with my parents since grad school is near them, so I have a lot of high school friends in the area.. but I can't bring myself to hang out with them. I haven't seen anyone other than my family, my dog, and my therapist in weeks. I try and make plans to do work or see friends or even just go out, but everythings getting harder and harder. My therapist bumped me up to two sessions a week, and I love her - she's wonderful, but I just cry and cry throughout therapy, and I'm too scared to try any of the things she suggests. I'm constantly popping caffeine pills to get through the day, and then using mixtures of pills and alcohol to fall asleep. Everything I've been working on improving has been getting worse - I'm so antisocial, self-injury's been bad, lots of bingeing and throwing up food, and all the random drugs I take to get me through the day and night. I keep secretly hoping that I won't wake up the next morning, and it will look like an accidental overdose.

    I don't know what to do, I always feel like I'm so close to having a psychotic break or something. Can I take a semester off from school? Would my research advisor kill me? He already wants my head on a platter. I feel like even if I can somehow take a semester off for 'mental health reasons' (do they even let you do that?) it might just make things worse because I'll never leave the house and just become more suicidal. But on the other hand, I am almost positive I can't deal with the pressures of going to school and lab and presenting my research to my advisor.. there's no way.

    And how do I tell my parents?? They're so sweet and supportive and lovely. They know something about 'anxiety' and that I have ativan.. but I didn't elaborate, I just needed them to know why it would come up on their insurance (I'm on my dad's insurance and I couldn't pay for this stuff without insurnace anymore).

    I'm just so stressed, I'm 22 so I know I'm technically an "grownup", but I don't think I can take the adult world. I constantly feel like I'm not meant to be here - like I was meant to die somewhere in my teens. I just can't do it.

    but.. advice?? Anyone else taken time off of school, especially grad school?

  2. Robin

    Robin Guest

    Sounds like a crisis to me, however I have no words of wisdom to offer, at least not right now so I will leave you with a :hug: until someone smarter than myself has some great advice for you :)

    You might want to drop Dragon a pm though, as she is going through a somewhat similar thing, she posted about her predicament a couple of weeks ago and am still thinking over her post as I will now yours :)
  3. molotov

    molotov Well-Known Member

    hi alison,

    Ugh, unfortunately I can totally relate. I am in the third semester of my second useless, useless master's degree and I have a paper still sitting three-quarters finished on my computer which I was meant to turn in at the end of fucking September, and I actually like my subject way, way more than my attendance record and study habits and social skills and ability to think about that paper without crying would seem to suggest. So, cheers, let the commiseration begin.

    Some thoughts in no order:

    1) I am also on the coffee-and-Ritalin (prescribed, but still a stimulant) all day, beer at night plan, and it doesn't work for me either. I went to an ADD support group and they said that it really helps if you get up and go to bed and eat at the exact same times every day.

    -First because your body will get used to the rhythm so eventually you will be tired, awake, hungry, or full at times that have something to do with the schedule you want to keep;
    -second because the food breaks will give your day a bit of structure so you can think "hours" instead of "days," which is a little easier;
    -third because when you keep a routine like that your brain actually starts releasing happy-chemicals as a reward when you stick to it ("hoorayyy thank you for these carrot sticks");
    -fourth because sticking to a meal plan might help you curb the binges and then reduce the purging (yes I know people don't b/p because they are hungry but sometimes setting meal and snack times can help you control the urge to do it).

    I mean, I am not speaking from experience yet because I have not got there but I thought I would throw that out there cos I think it sounds like a good idea. Call me a hypocrite

    2) Does your grad school have any kind of school counseling services? You are neither the first nor the last person to freak out from university pressure or have a hard time with a master's thesis, no no no. A friend of mine quit her doctorate after a full year of literally driving to the library, staring out the window for 8 hours, and then driving home.. so I guess the first question to ask is: are you still interested in the program? If not, it is never too late to switch gears. If so, I would talk to the school guidance people, whoever they are, student advocates, counseling services, mental health center, whatever, and see what they suggest as far as finding yourself a little breathing room. Three semesters for a master's is TOTALLY ONE MILLION PERCENT OKAY. (I just decided a month ago to take five semesters instead of four, because I was just sitting at home crying all the time, and the minute I came to terms with that, it was like choirs of angels came down from the heavens and sang for me. It is not an easy decision to make if you are used to setting high standards and achieving them, but if that keeps you out of prison or the morgue than that is the important thing.) My guess is that it will be easier to talk to your parents about it after you've made your decision what will help you the most - then you're talking solutions, not problems, which is very grownup and proactive and all of that good stuff..

    3) What kinds of things does your therapist suggest? Why are they scary?

    Hang in there (hug) sorry to ramble
  4. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    Robin, thank you for the hug and everything. I'll look for Dragon and maybe write with her :smile:

    Molotov- I'm sorry you can relate. School sucks, right!! haha.

    1.) Yea, I think you're right on that one. I used to be on a schedule like that, and even though I slept way less than I do now, I had so much more energy. Never been to good with food schedules... but I know I should get one. The closest thing I've had to a 'schedule' in a long while, was that I would eat every other day. My weight was actually pretty reasonable then, but it was a bad way to manage food.

    2.) Yeah, they do have counseling services. I actually started using them right when I got to grad school in September because my therapist from my undergrad psych services helped me contact them. They helped me find a therapist in the area and I see their psychiatrist once a month and he prescribes me meds.

    I don't know.. like I really would like to take extra time, but my research advisor says he wants me to finish in a year. As it is, I think he thinks I'm graduating in the spring, but I'm officially set to graduate in August. Also, there's the whole money thing. Since I'm not a ph.d. student, there's no funding, so I'm taking major loans from the government and the bank of mom & dad.

    And my dad always says the worst possible thing I could have on my resume is spaces of time where I did nothing, but I feel like time is what I need to figure this all out, you know? I've been running so fast for so long with all this school & career stuff.. I just want a break.

    3.) I did DBT as an undergrad, so she's been trying to get me to use some of the strategies I learned from that. So I'll be telling her my plan about sneaking into lab at midnight to do my experiments so I know I won't bump into my advisor or other grad students, and she tries to talk me about why I don't want to go into lab during the day. I tell her I'm afraid, and then we have to discuss the reasons I'm afraid and what it 'fear' feels like physically, and if the fear is rational, and how to look at the emotion non-judgmentally and detach from it. But see - I'd rather just drink myself to sleep during the day so I don't have to face the fear. :tongue: I know she's right, it's just scary.

    And then I'll tell her my extensive plans to avoid my advisor, and the crazy ways I sneak through the building and such, and she'll suggest something preposterous like setting up a meeting with my advisor!!!:unsure: Again, I know she's right... but gah! So scary!

    Thank you.. for your suggestions, and for relating to me, and for numbering things - I love using numbered lists in emails and such! :tongue:
  5. Dragon

    Dragon Staff Alumni

    Hi =) As Robin says you can feel free to send me a message if you like. I'm a bit too tired now to say anything that would make sense but I can tell you that what you said could have been written by me.

    In the meantime, have a :hug: =)
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