Sunday, September 21, 2008

Feeling like a failure

I had been using Myspace for a few months, because earlier this year, when my boyfriend an I broke up, I found myself going online much more frequently, and my friend, Kristyn, who I met at a group home we lived in a few years ago, convinced me to join Myspace. I found it somewhat useful, in saying hello to people I know who also used it, and in finding groups to post messages about Schizophrenia, or about feminism, or other issues that interest me. But mostly, I found the demographic there to be comprised of people much younger than I am, who I have nothing in common with, really. And then, I destroyed - as I mentioned here before - a close friendship, and after that I just decided, no more Myspace for me. So, in case you found this page via myspace, I'm not there anymore.

I went to an amazing poetry reading Friday night with my sister-in-law. A former professor of mine is a published poet, and a very nice person, and he was one of the people reading there, along with other poets from throughout the state of Florida. While it was fun, I found the time before my sister-in-law arrived, and after she left (early, because she had to work the next day), to be difficult, as I was there by myself, and did not know most of the people, who were, mostly, highly educated, talented writers. It is really difficult for me to know how to act in some social situations, especially when I find everyone intimidating, because they have, ostensibly, accomplished more than I have, and I do not feel comfortable in my own skin, basically.

The other day, I emailed a former professor of mine in Maryland, who taught a class I took there and also directed the honors program at that college, which I was a member of, back in 1999. She was the person who suggested I apply to Smith College's Ada Comstock Scholars Program then, and who wrote me an excellent letter of recommendation, which helped me to get admitted there. I have always avoided her since then, because I never actually went to Smith. I ended up homeless that year, and was becoming psychotic, though I did not know that at the time. But since I recently came across a profile of her on Facebook, I emailed her. And she said, "Is it really you?? Write to me!", so I sent her a rather long email describing some events from the past nine years of my life, because she asked me to tell her what I had been up to. Unfortunately, what I was up to, during much of that time, involved losing my sanity, so it's rather difficult to write a positive description of my activities, without mentioning the fact of the mental illness that dictated my life for so many years before it was properly diagnosed and treated. I suppose, just like I had always feared, she was very disappointed to hear that I did not ever go to Smith, and perhaps she also did not want to hear such personal details about my mental health status. So she never responded to my message.

It's been four days now, so I think it's safe to assume she has chosen to not respond. That really hurts, I have to say, because this is a person who is extremely open-minded, conscientious, and compassionate, in other respects. Also, I trusted her immensely. And so, I thought it was safe to tell her, I had Schizophrenia. Apparently, I thought incorrectly, however. It's not as if this is the first time such an incident has occured. In fact, I never tell most people at all, because, if I do, this is often the type of reaction that occurs. Silence. "Silence speaks louder than words."-Adrienne Rich, I believe, wrote that.

So, yesterday (it's 2 AM now on Sunday), Saturday, for whatever resaon, I became completely overwhelmed by the school work on which I have fallen behind, and by life in general. I spent the entire day in bed, alternately sleeping and composing suicide plans. The suicide urge has returned recently, and I'm not really sure why that is. I don't know if it's partly hormonal, or if one of my medications has ceased working correctly, or if I'm just too overwhelmed by school and the attached emotion of shame about my personal failure to earn an Associate's, a Bachelor's, and a Master's Degree by now, or even one of the three. I know my therapist made a good point about the fact that I place an extreme level of importance on school, which denies the impact of Schizophrenia on my ability to perform well in school. This is true. I do this. I try not to, but in my mind, I do.

I feel that other people do it too, however, such as that professor and former mentor who did not even bother to write one sentence in response to an email in which I gave her many personal details about my life. People think, if you really wanted to, you could have gotten a degree by now. People think, if you really tried hard enough, you could have gone to a good college by now, and graduated. People think, you gave up. People think, you sabatoged yourself. People do not get the fact that your brain, however inexplicably, does not WORK correctly anymore, and you cannot fix it by willpower.

One of those people is me.

I do realize this is a problem.

Also, it is very painful to have lost my close friend, as I mentioned here before. He appears to have no desire to ever speak to me again, which is very understandable considering my personal behavior. I do not blame him, but it hurts, regardless. I have no one else I trust like I trusted him for the past eleven years. No one. And that leaves me feeling rather alone in the world.

I apologize if this post sounds a bit depressing and a tad pathetic. This too shall pass.

On a more positive note, I have become more involved with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I have been on NAMI's email lists, and attended support group meetings on occasion for years, but in the past year I've been more involved with their advocacy efforts. I took the peer-to-peer advocacy training class last spring, and I am now a member of the local Consumer Council, which does advocacy and awareness work. We have a fundraiser going on this weekend at Macy's in Pinellas County. For more information on NAMI, visit It is an excellent organization to support!

1 comment:

  1. Please take down that comment about suicide methods that haunt you at times-you are too wonderful a person. You are extremely talented, and gifted and resourceful. Publish a magazine! speak before a group! write a book!


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