Archive for the ‘disability’ Tag

My early adult years   Leave a comment

When I first went to college, I was so excited about meeting new people.  I went to a college with special services for people with disabilities.  I thought if regular students would not accept me, peers with similar disabilities would welcome me with open arms.  Alas, that was not what happened when I first went to college.

I did not have good social skills.  I was often ignored during  social situations.  I thought people who let situations defeat them were weak.  I allowed myself to get angry at unfair treatment and unfair situations, and I fought back at those times.  I did not pay much attention to my feelings because I thought if I did well with school, everything would be okay.  I was very reserved, and I generally ignored my feelings as long as I wasn’t angry at someone or something.  I had a boyfriend for the first time in my life during the first semester in college (Fall semester), and the man I was dating was a recovering alcoholic who would disappear for three to four days without telling me he was going away.   When he was gone, I was very agitated.  I would go to his dorm room and knock on his door several times a day when he was gone.   After he came back from those trips (he would go away with a friend of his), I would ask him about it.   He would tell me he went away on those trips when he felt stressed out.  I would accept his answer and not discuss it anymore.  We broke up around Thanksgiving.  When we broke up, he told me not to tell anyone about it.  I was angry at him for breaking up with me one week before finals, and I repressed my anger.  I used my anger to keep busy and to try to focus on finishing my classes.  I asked him why our relationship did not work.  He did not tell me why he broke up with me.  I also did not discuss it with my friends because he told me to keep it a secret.  At the end of the semester, I met a male relative and stayed with him at his friend’s house.  I told him I was sad about breaking up with my boyfriend.  He was older than me, and he said not to cry about it.  After that point, I did not talk with that relative about my love life anymore.

At that time, I did not realize depression was repressed anger.  I did not think I repressed any anger.  Later I found out I repressed a lot of anger because things would bother me and I would push them inside instead of dealing with those things.

One summer during my first few years of college, I became very depressed.  In my group counseling, one man, who I thought was a friend, told me I was a terrible person.  I was sad about that, and it triggered my depression episode.  I kept going by doing activities such as reading, going to my counselor, and taking a summer school class.  At other times, I was emotionally numb.  I ate lots of sweets while I read books or studied for school.  I stayed in my apartment during the week.  On the weekends, I would go to church.  That episode of major depression went away on its own.  I was looking forward to going back to school.  I enjoyed going to school, and I took both fun and serious classes.  I knew I was a good student.  In fact, I had good self-esteem when I did well in school.

During the first couple years of college, I tried different classes, and I looked for a major in the medical field.  However, I was clumsy in the science laboratory(lab).  I was better at book learning than working with my hands.  I was mad at myself for not doing well in science labs.  I kept pushing myself to do well in them, and my efforts did not work.  Therefore, I felt like a failure.

I went from college to college.  I finally found something in the medical field with book learning and no science labs.  I decided to major in medical records.  I figured I would do that work for a while and figure out later which major to pursue for my bachelor’s degree.

Advertisements

The chicken or the egg   Leave a comment

I have a difficult time figuring out whether my depression is from heredity or from my environment.  It seems to work both ways in my situation.  I found out my mom and my maternal grandmother were treated for depression.  Before 1950, people were very ashamed about going to a psychiatrist or a psychiatric hospital.  Even now, mental illness is an uncomfortable topic for many people.  Last week, my co-workers were joking about people who used to stay in a psychiatric hospital.  A few of them agreed they did not want to meet anyone who used to be a patient there.  I figured they were joking because the topic was uncomfortable for them.  They don’t know I struggle with depression, and have struggled with depression for many years.

I grew up with a disability, and as a result, I had trouble making friends growing up.  My non-disabled peers often did not want to talk with me.  My parents enjoyed reading and educational activities.  I focused on doing well academically because I had trouble making friends.  My parents expected me to have a normal social life and wanted me to function like a normal person.  I thought I was worthy only if I managed my life well and had good grades.  I was often lonely, though.  I did not think I had a problem with depression.  I did well with school and kept busy.  I followed my Dad’s philosophy about handling problems.  He said “If something is bothering you, just keep busy.”  It worked well for me until I went to college.

Posted March 5, 2011 by Nancy Mathis in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,