Last post I said something about not doubting my major. I'm withdrawing that statement. I've become annoyed and bored with anthropology, tired of studying it and not being able to see why a lot of the subjects we cover matter or what the point of it all is. I miss   English papers. I have no doubt that having such an anthropological background will better inform my work as an English major. This decision has made doing work in my current classes even more difficult and I feel as though I'm constantly struggling.

This struggle is hindered by a deterioration of my general mental well being. Every other day I feel like I'm a small mistake away from a total meltdown. It's exhausting. It's detrimental to my productivity and I am really just sick of feeling badly all the time and hating social interaction. Trying some vitamin supplements that supposedly help with mood swings and trying to take care of myself, but it's difficult when a lot of days I don't want to do anything but sleep, and the thought of doing something makes me cry. On top of this, I have less money available for the rest of the term than I feel comfortable with. Finding energy for school work and freelance jobs is really difficult.

It's not all bad. I've been roleplaying via email with a girl who likes to chat and has been really supportive and helpful in our daily interactions. My parents and two friends are coming to visit next weekend. Today I'm in Cambridge (I paid for a day trip ages back and totally did not want to come. However, here I am. I've holed up in a couple of different cafes and worked on school work, so the day isn't a waste. I've definitely been more productive than I would have been if I stayed home.). I can't wait until the Christmas holidays.

From: [identity profile]

*sends you hugs*

I don't have a huggy icon any more, alas. Just pretend that I have one and there's hugging involved, okay?

I'll tell you as a writer-studying person that anthropology is invaluable in the long-term for changing the way you think and analyse, but it's a long-term process and let's face it - it's damn frustrating studying and putting the work into something if you'd rather be doing something you're enjoying. (If you enjoy it, you'll get more from it, which is better than the long-term thought-changing.) I'm not going to pretend to understand the system because I don't, but - you're undergrad, right? Now's the time to figure it out and change majors so you haven't wasted four years doing the wrong degree like I did. You know what you'd rather be doing, you've learnt that much about yourself, and that's awesome.

*waves pom poms at you*

Okay, I'm going to make long-winded suggestions just in case you haven't thought of these things. You probably have, but I'd like to take the time to make sure you know.

The thing I've found most beneficial for getting my arse through this year - and going back to school has involved so much social interaction, so many terrifying things - has been keeping up with regular therapy. It means I'm always two weeks away from melting down in Hania's office, and knowing I have that space helps me keep it together. It means I have someone to talk to and help me figure stuff out and work on my triggers. Not stopping has been great. I know not every university offers long-term free therapy like mine does (mine's not supposed to either, actually) but if they offer anything and you haven't already taken it up, maybe think about it? Do they offer a student-run-teacher-supervised discounted clinic like some do? The fact is that I need a bit more support to do well than any other random student, and I'm not well enough to not need the help - and chronic issues need long-term, chronic treatment.

(But you and me, we're worth that help, and we deserve it. We're entitled to be able to study with as few problems as possible, and it's not our fault that our brain chemistry makes that really, really hard. We don't struggle to do things because we're lazy or not hard-working. That's why we deserve the help.)

The other thing I'd suggest, although you might not feel comfortable with it - you have a documented medical condition, depression, anxiety. Have you thought about registering with disability support? You could get a support worker (I don't know what they call them over there, but mine's a disability liaison officer) who can be a liaison between you and your teachers if that's hard. If you're really struggling with doing things, they can help you figure out plans of attack - that's part of their job, I swear. You can talk to them whenever you need to talk. You might not even need them much - I haven't - but just the knowledge of having someone there I can turn to if needed/things fall apart really helps. Having the support structures in place first makes it that little bit easier to not need them, somehow.

Also, at the equivalent of the student engagement centre, there should be people you can talk to about money - even just to offer advice. (I talk to my psychologists about money, LOL.)

Good on you for making a day out of it and getting stuff done. That takes organisation and courage.

And remember - right now you're making study a priority, so yes, other people work and study and get it all done, but they're probably not doing anywhere near as well as you are, and that's going to make a huge difference down the road.

I hope you're going to be okay. I'm glad to hear about all the good things! I really hope you have a fantastic next weekend with everyone and get to relax a bit - which I know is easier said than done when you're studying. But you can get through it, okay? I know you can. You're strong and organised and devoted and talented, and you'll get through it all.

(And as my psychologists keep telling me: if I can do all this, as I am right now, I can probably do anything. Same goes for you.)

*glomps you*

From: [identity profile]

Re: *sends you hugs*

Just so you know, were you here I would smother you with hugs and curl up with you and babble incoherently about how helpful you're being. (Except that the touching might make you uncomfortable, so I would only do what you felt okay with and then I would curl up on a sofa with a duvet and tea and have feelings.)

The changing my major thing is becoming less and less of a big deal the more I think about it. I like what anth has doe for expanding my worldview, but it's not something I want to pursue in the long run. And that's okay. It's been really helpful that when I discussed this with my parents they were generally like, "Well, okay. We're not really surprised. Just do something you like, all right?" That was very helpful. And I can do it and still graduate within four years (which is all my parents are paying for education wise).

I would love, absolutely love to have regular therapy. It's been such a damn mess. I was doing okay in the spring, when I could see my therapist in DC, but over the summer I didn't have health care and now I have healthcare, but not here and I don't think the school really offers anything. Even if I started seeing someone this week, in three weeks I'm back in the states, moving around constantly for about a month before I settle down in DC again. So it's just a mess in terms of seeing someone, let alone seeing them regularly. The only services I've seen advertised anywhere is an online support organization, that does chats through skype between 6pm and 8am. I guess I could start talking to them regularly? But I believe it's volunteer run, so not actually done by qualified therapists.

Disability support is a thing about which I have conflicted feelings. When I was filling out my forms for study abroad, there was a section that asked about mental disability. I hesitated, because it's good to have stuff like that written down for reference later. Being the unsure person that I am, I asked my dad what he thought and he just said flat out "You do not have a mental disability" so I ignored it. I'm wondering if I would have gotten the same reaction out of my mom, or if that even matters. This is something that affects my life on a daily basis. It affects how I function, how I process things. I think I'm definitely going to look into it once I get back to my home university. Ask my advisers if nothing else.

I just-- I dunno. I feel so tired of "When I get back it'll be better." This spring I though it would be better in the summer, and in the summer I thought it would be better in the fall, and now... I'm tired of this cycle, you know? And I'm tired of acting like there's nothing wrong and I should just be able to accomplish things like everyone else is and why am I making such a big deal about it and just. *hugs* Yeah. You're right about a lot of things, but it's so easy to forget and to just fall back into "But nobody else is having such a hard time with this, why am I?"

So thanks for your support and your advice and your hugs. It's more than a little helpful. <3



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