In my previous post I wrote about my teenage years. When I was sad, my mother took me to her GP but I refused to accept any diagnosis and rebelled. I decided to be happy from that day on. Once high school days came to an end, I decided to study psychology at uni. How did that go? Before we move on, I must tell you that the topic of suicidal ideation is touched upon.
Young adult life and college years.
As I learned more about the topic of therapy, it became clear to me that psychoanalysis was most suitable for me. It was an intellectual challenge to read Freud and Lacan. I really liked it. So the theoretical part went very well. It was my cup of tea. I went to classes and the only thing I needed to do was to show up, focus, take notes and process the knowledge that was given to me. In the field of psychoanalysis I became drawn to psychosis and schizophrenia. I stayed away from the topic of child abuse. It was almost the only course I failed (except the for ‘ Statistics’, which was notorious for being difficult) and for the re-examination I just learned the whole syllabus by heart.
The last year of college was dedicated to writing my thesis and an internship. The thesis went relatively well although it wasn’t easy. It was intellectually very challenging. The internship was something else. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing there. I was afraid of failing. I felt tremendous pressure. I held down a job, my mother fell ill and was in hospital. My boyfriend broke up with me. I lived 60 km from home, my friends and my small social network. I was so insecure that I began to speak less and less. I lived in my head. The fears started to grow but I tried to appear normal. Working in a psychiatric hospital didn’t help that much, especially because my internship was located within the field of addiction. Addiction to illegal substances to be more precise. It wasn’t a loving environment, I didn’t had anyone else to talk to and the financial pressure grew. I was 24 and I wanted to die.
I tried my luck in traffic, started to walking slowly while I was crossing the streets. Fantasizing about a car of bus that would take me. My friends from college went back home that year as we didn’t have classes anymore. I became more and more isolated. Looking back, I recognize some ‘symptoms’. I didn’t cook, instead I ate French fries with ketchup e-v-e-r-y day. I didn’t shower when I didn’t need to go out.
After the internship was finished, which I did pass due to ‘we don’t know exactly what you are thinking but we wish you good luck’; the only thing left to do was to round up the thesis. I had appointments with my promotor every once in a while, the other days I hibernated. I didn’t clean under the pretext that I was studying. At one point during my internship I had a heartfelt conversation with an assistant at uni. I will never forget that day. The assistant asked what was going on and I just started crying and I spoke. It were the first words spoken besides a ‘thank you’ at the gas station where I bought my French fries. So I told him how I felt and I found it difficult to speak through the tears and all these strange emotions that were welling up. He referred me to a therapist.
It was therapy in the tradition of psychoanalysis. I went to the therapist every week and it did help. It helped just to be heard, to be able to speak. To do something that connected ‘me’ with me again. I went to her for two years I believe. When I first told my mother about the therapy, she warned me not to talk about her. I heard that. Towards the end of the second year of counseling I had said everything that there was to say about my absent father and we arrived on the topic of my mother, I bailed. Unconsciously but still. I was loyal to her words.
After I graduated I went back to living at home. I was exhausted from the internship, my emotions, the loneliness and the struggle that daily life has become. I still worked as a waitress. I lived during the nighttime. Only went out to work and spend my days sleeping or in my room. I lived in a very confined space. The space around me was small but the space in my head was even smaller. I just wanted to rest and let life pass me by. I didn’t had the courage to do anything. I heard a quote on a tv-show ”Death is like a black camel, that kneels in front of everybody’s door” and it stuck with me. I decided to wait for the camel.
I ‘rested’ (what seemed from the outside as a ‘festive’ or ‘lazy’ year) for 6 months. Living at home became impossible after 5 years in a student home. I moved out on my own. I took more shifts at the café but money was tight. The choice between rent or food became real. I landed a job in a psychiatric hospital. I was still so tired but I was more proud of myself than ever, I was so motivated. My life was finally to begin.
So, dear reader, we arrived at the end of the second part of my encounters with the subject of mental health and therapy. If you like to read part 1, you can click here. I thank you so much for reading this and there will be a part 3 next Thursday. Adult life hits with all its blessings and challenges. I wish you a wonderful day and hope to see you soon.
I didn’t realize that there was a term for suicidal thoughts that are more passive in nature. I leared about it on Mental Health @ Home and on Beckie’s Mental Mess. Thanks ladies for sharing the knowledge and to address a more difficult topic.
More about Lacan
In the previous parts I described my teenage years and young adult life. At 16 a GP told me hesitant that she thought in the direction of a possible depression. I refused that diagnosis and any medications that possibly would come with that. In college I struggled in silence, almost mute, through an internship and … Continue reading The winding road of therapy. Part 3.