Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Changes

I've felt myself slipping into something different and yet familiar for the past year. School interested me less and less, stress was aggravating my PTSD more frequently and for longer periods of time, and I slowly stopped doing my hobbies one by one without realizing it. Then one day I woke up and realized I was miserable, walking through my life in a fog. I felt lost and angry almost daily. There were days when it was all I could do to keep myself from doing something foolish - I was consumed by suicidal ideations. I felt like life was not worth living if it was going to be this pointless grind for another 45+ years. I had a lot of self-loathing and hate for myself. This was just not the life I wanted to be living.

I knew I had to make some drastic changes if I had any hope of picking myself up out of this round of depression. Especially since it was really affecting my relationship with Quiet Confidence. After 4 months of agonizing over my decision I went back on anti-depressants and applied for a year-long medical leave of absence from my Doctoral program. I'm burnt out and frustrated with my program and the set backs I've had in the past year trying to get my comprehensive exams done.

I was going to out and out quit my Ph.D program if they wouldn't have granted me the leave of absence. I didn't want to burn any bridges, however, and wanted to leave myself the option of going back if I changed my mind in a year and fell in love with my program again. As of right now I have no intention of going back. I'm disappointed with the administration, with the level of support from my University and with the whole thing in general. But who knows where I'll be in a year?

I started applying for jobs just before Christmas. I'm trying to find something that interests me and will also pay me in relation to the level of education I've recieved. I might be expecting too much at this point, but right now I feel I can be a little bit choosier. The job market is still tough and I might be a little more willing to compromise and just find something that pays the bills if I haven't found anything by Spring. Right now though, I don't want to jump from the frying pan and into the fire - that being another job and situation I'm not happy in. I have a small nest egg to keep me going until Spring, plus the generosity of my parents for letting me stay with them rent free. I've also got the support of Quiet Confidence who is letting me stay with him when I need a break from my parents house. Despite the bad, I'm actually really, really lucky. I've got a great support network, people who love me, believe in me and are giving me the space to explore new opportunities.

I'm slowly taking control of my life again, instead of letting myself drift. I'm trying to engage with life again and take up hobbies and passions gradually. I've also been happier since I left my University and got the acceptance for my leave of absence. That alone tells me that I made the right decision for me. I still have bad days, but I'm slowly working towards having more good days than bad days. Baby steps.