April 4th, 2009 (03:57 pm)
current mood: depressed
current song: the house band
In recent news: I have completely broken down emotionally. But it will get better, I hope.
I've decided to make a concerted effort to blog again. I feel it may be an important exercise that has been missing from my life and has lead to the atrophy of my sanity, self-confidence, social life, and schoolwork. So from now on I must make an entry with real self-generated content at least once a day.
As a consequence of recent events, I have decided to pursue medical leave. It was very difficult to convince my family of the necessity of this, and so I am left with quite a bit of shame to work through. Even my mother, who was relatively supportive, pointed out many times how I have a pattern and that there has to be a change. I do have a pattern, but I was not being treated for atypical bipolar disorder before, so I do not think it is fair to insist that because I have had breakdowns nearly every semester that this will always be the case. Or at least this is what I try to tell myself.
I find that there is a constant tension between my own value system and my desire to live up to the value systems of others - this was perhaps as much of a contributer to my eating disorder as my clinical depression or anything else. *I* believe that the most important thing regarding education is to actually learn and engage with others in the world of ideas. This is why I am able to be assertive, passionate, confident in class - although I am normally painfully shy and devoid of self confidence. Ideas empower me. Thought empowers me. I get so swept up in the intellectual discourse that I forget to judge myself. Often I will leave class and feel that I said something stupid or that I was loud-mouther and obnoxious; I will conclude that I was wrong to speak up at all. But this is only after the fact. I believe speaking one's mind is important. If we only think our own thoughts we are just treading in stagnant water. Think, learn, keep an open mind, actively dispel your natural ignorance, love, have compassion, sympathize, listen, speak out, grow, transform, be yourself - these are my personal commandments.
But I am an overly sensitive person. I am keenly aware of what the values of my society are and despite their incompatibility with my own I try to match their standards of achievement. I feel the need to be pretty and thin; I feel the need to get A's; I feel the need for prestige. I see the dangerous currents of our society but I feel helpless to change them. I have no sympathy for myself. I judge myself as I would not judge my friends - with societal standards, not my own.
But I cannot get everything done - I can't "just do" an assignment. No, I want to do something I can be proud of; I want to be thorough; I want to fully consider things. No one else seems to do that here - because there simply isn't the time. But my definition of excelling is doing things to the best of your ability, not just so that it is adequate for a good grade and in by the due date. Yet when I fail to do the latter, I still judge myself harshly because I know others are and I feel I have let people down. These dual standards - which cannot really be achieved simultaneously -combined with my atypical bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and anorexia nervosa- lead to periodic breakdowns that I cannot seem to recover from. I often think I am not brave enough or capable enough for this world - but I suppose what I really need is to learn to strike a balance between my own value system and the value system of the world. I wish I could ignore the latter, but I have not been able to - because I want to be liked and respected - and my survival instinct tells me I ought not to completely ignore it.
I must find a balance. But first I need this time off to find the right medication for my new diagnosis and rebuild from the shattered remains my sense of self.