September 25, 2007

Just as I succumb to defeat...

This past weekend I came to the conclusion that I was okay with having to repeat 3rd year. I figured that I am so supremely stressed out, and it all comes from the impending feeling of doom and/or failure--a failure I have tasted before, and understand intimately. Repeating a year, for me, is not theoretical or an abstract threat, it's a visceral and terrible feeling, and I've spent an entire year of my life living in that feeling. And another year before that dreading it, and another year after that feeling like I was running (slowly, like in a bad dream) away from it. I came to school this semester refreshed, and excited, ready to take on 3rd year and kick its ass. Only 3 exams into the semester and I have been beaten over the head with the fact that I apparantly am unable of kicking exams-at-Tufts' asses. So, I succumbed to defeat. But before you protest, it was the good sort of succumbing. It was done in the spirit of pacifists. "I will not fight, and it might take me longer to win this battle, but I'm doing it on my terms". I decided that I have to do what is in my heart. And as contradicting as it feels because of all the stress vet school causes me, my heart tells me what I'm doing (going to vet school) is right. I enjoy learning about spider medicine. I think it's fricking cool that you can put oragel on a goldfish after you've excised a tumor. Thinking about spending my days driving in the country and talking to farmers or going to foreign lands to help save endangered species really really turns me on. Sigh. And so I am not giving up. What I AM giving up on, though, is studying for exams, because that has not done me any good and it makes me miserable. Instead, I am studying for my own learning, slowly at my own pace, and I am going to try my very very best not to care about the exam results. But just for fun, I created an excel worksheet the figure out how well I could do this semester (based on GPA) and also how poorly I could do. It turns out that the chances of my actually either failing or getting below a 2.0, while possible, is pretty darn low--lower than I thought. And that's encouraging! It means that I am validated in my conviction to study as well as I can in my own way. I'll get through it one way or another, and I don't even have to worry about repeating. Hopefully.

In the meantime, I'm being treated for severe depression and anxiety. It surprises me that I would be considered to have "severe" versions of both since I spend part of most of my days smiling and laughing and enjoying the day....but then again, I've been chronically depressed up here since August 2004, had to repeat a year, have a long distance relationship, had a house burn down and my cats die, and am still doing poorly academically. Okay, yeah, that's grounds for severe depression & anxiety, I guess.

1 comment:

Phillip Sauerbeck said...

My therapist gave me a packet of photocopied materials containing excerpts from the books “Get Out of Your Mind and into Your Life” (which I already had and think is great), “Mind Over Mood: Changing How You Feel By Changing The Way You Think”, and “The Interpersonal Solution to Depression”. The latter of the three contained this passage:

“Many psychological factors have been linked to the development of depression. In particular, stressful life events — and more importantly, your interpretations of those events — may be causal factors for depression. Stressful events (such as the loss of a job, the ending of a romantic relationship, or failure at school), when combined with a tendency to view them as outside of your control, to repeatedly turn them over in your mind, and to develop a hopeless outlook toward life, greatly increases the likelihood of depression. Moreover, as depressive symptoms develop, people often tend to form negative views about themselves, their environment, and their future, increasing the likelihood that they will feel depressed…”

It was strange and hard to come to the conclusion that I am depressed, and when I was reading that passage, I thought, shit that’s me. I remember the first time a couple months ago when I said to Ben, “man, I think I’m depressed” and he replied, “yea, for sure,” that I suddenly felt cracked open, like I had touched on something true. My life is not just a series of thoughts that can be reasoned with, but a complex reality that shouldn’t be avoided or retrofitted.

I think what you wrote in this post is right on, and I really appreciate your writing it. You are correct, it’s about being true to yourself, how you work, and to the person you want to be.