Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Alternative Therapy?

Vitia nostra regionum mutatione non fugimus.

- We do not flee our errors by a change of locations. (Anonymous)

I've kind of reached the end of my rope with how I'm feeling and doing. I've struggled for the past couple of years with no meaningful change or relief. I had always hoped that when I moved from my Master's to my Ph.D I could leave behind some of the old issues and start fresh in a new city and a new University. These problems have a way creeping back in eventually though. You may move locations and change jobs or projects, but you bring yourself with you.

I've been medicated off and on for almost 5 years now. The last two years have seen me on medication almost steadily. While it has helped me tremendously at times, I have found other alternative therapies to be as equally effective, if not more so, at times. The yoga study I did last year was really great and I regret not continuing on with yoga after it was over. Talk therapy was perfunctory and incredibly counter productive when I gave it a try 5 years ago. Arguably the doctor I have now engages in a type of talk therapy in addition to dispensing medication and charting my progress. She's a lot better than the first guy I tried, but it's still not making an appreciable difference in my life. There are some things I know I need to figure out on my own and spend time sorting through them in my head.

I'm not the type of person to enjoy talking to a therapist, or some one else necessarily, to help me sort out those things. Verbal diarrhea has never been a problem for me, nor do I feel better after "unburdening" myself on anyone. I keep it all closed up inside and the only time I discuss the mental issues is in my journal or here. I'm an independent learner, and a very closed person, so talk therapy is not helpful for me. I'd say it leaves me worse off then before I started because I'm easily frustrated by seeing the person struggle to help me if they're not properly qualified. I also find empty platitudes annoying and unnecessary. I don't need someone to pat my hand and tell me everything will be better tomorrow.

I ran across an article in Discovery about the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of mental disorders after reading Mind Hacks. While I don't condone recreational drug use, nor would I ever advocate using them, I think this is an intensely personal choice. I just want to feel like I used to. I just want to be the person I know I am, free from the Post Traumatic Stress and the depression. I want to feel again. I want to not only remember what love feels like, I want to feel love again. Everything I'm doing right now is not allowing me to overcome the problem or even find a break through and insight on how to proceed. This is not something I'm taking lightly or jumping into blindly. It is something I'm considering very seriously, not as a recreational "high" but as a controlled and deliberate choice.

There is only one person in the world I would trust to do this with- my brother, the World Traveller. While the article discusses the use of MDMA for post traumatic stress I would never consider using it. I'm leaning more towards psilocybin's (magic mushrooms) as a safer option. WT has experience with them and he knows I've never done shrooms before. He also is an incredibly safety oriented person and understands the purpose behind why I want to try them. We discussed it a bit last night, however I still have a few more things to discuss with him about it before I agree to the experience. It also needs to be in a highly controlled environment because a bad trip would probably leave me in a far worse mental state than I am in right now. I know this is not a cure, but merely a tool to help me reach the next step in over coming the PTSD. The depression will probably always be with me, but the PTSD is seriously affecting my daily life and ability to function in society. I know how to cope with the depression, I do not now how to cope with depression and PTSD.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

At a Standstill

Stasis n.- a state in which there is neither motion nor development, often resulting from opposing forces balancing each other.

I am in almost complete stasis right now. I am unable to move forward, unable to complete projects, and unable to untangle my messy emotional state.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Series of Highs & Lows

  • Driving a Backhoe for the first time on the farm
  • Discovering Mr. Intellectual has visited this site for the first time
  • Spending hours talking to a certain some one, losing track of time and not minding
  • Feeling like a huge failure because that paper still isn't done
  • Going for a short run and not being out of breath, despite not having exercised in quite some time
  • Not knowing where you stand with someone
  • Getting a big bear hug from that crazy brother of yours, just when you needed it most
  • Realizing you have to go back to the University town in a couple of days and face the music

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Gift to Myself

Somewhere between this post and today I had a wee little mental breakdown. The weight of school, an incomplete relationship and the fear of failure sent me off the deep end, free-falling into an abyss of mental instability. Many tears later and lots of sleep I’m slowly waking up. I ran away to my parent’s house two weeks ago and I’m trying to find a healthy balance for my life yet again. Being in the middle of my family and seeing my little nieces and nephews really helps to ground me and show me what is important in life. It doesn’t hurt that it is also spring on the farm, which is an incredibly beautiful time of year.

This past weekend I celebrated my 27th birthday. I have heard from several people that being 27 was one of the hardest years of their life for various reasons. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that you’re almost thirty and coming to terms with the end of your supposedly ‘carefree’ 20s, or it’s the feeling that you should be closer to assembling something of an adult career and life path. The thought of having a more difficult year than the past three years combined has steeled me to make some changes in the hopes of preventing a terrible 27th year. I’m trying to make 27 the best year I possibly can under the circumstances.

As a gift to myself for my birthday I broke up with Candidate #2. I knew it was something I should have had the guts to do months ago, but hindsight isn’t always the most helpful. As a semi-professional historian I spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing the past and for once I’d like to think about the future. So, instead of agonizing over the hurt it has caused or replaying over in my head what I should have done differently I am just leaving it alone and not looking back. I’ve severed almost all contact with Candidate #2 and once I return back to the University town and drop off his key I won’t have any more to do with him. It’s not beneficial for either one of us and the last thing I need right now is to become a target for his anger and sadness over yet another failed relationship.

The next couple of weeks I’m going to try to sort out all of my incomplete assignments and put my education back in order. If I have any chance of salvaging this degree I need to make the sacrifices I know are necessary even if they are difficult.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Guessing Game

I’m breaking down. I can feel myself slowly fraying as each additional pressure is squeezed down inside me and I try to prioritize with little success. I wake up everyday questioning what I’m doing with my life. Should I really be in graduate school? Is a Ph.D really what I want from life? Am I only still here because I’ve become institutionalized and I can’t fathom a life outside the walls of academia? I wonder what else I would do as a career and come up empty handed and even more frustrated. This is the only way I can see of being independent.