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Re: grad school and depression

Posted by Carol on April 9, 1999, at 13:43:14

In reply to Re: grad school and depression, posted by Elizabeth on April 9, 1999, at 6:39:46

> I just screwed up the courage to talk to my professors about taking an incomplete (and why I want to do so - I'm terrified to let anyone know about my "weakness" but felt like I had no choice). This whole thing has been weighing on me a lot. I still feel a lot of pressure; I'm worried that this will never go away, that I'll be stuck for the rest of my life taking longer to finish things than everybody else. This seems to preclude even the pretty modest goals I had thought were reasonable.
> I guess this is what they call "demoralization."

The deep-down feelings probably won't change much. I still find that I'm incredibly hyper and supersensitive at job review time, and I still am surprised when my boss evaluates me as average--even though I KNOW that's all I did this year.

I've learned to manage the symptoms better. I don't think I could ever go back to school, but I do miss the flexibility of not having to be a "morning person" that is required to get along in corporate America.

Most graduate programs are devoid of support in terms of emotional support. Finding friends and a group of kindly souls is left up to the individual. If you know you're having problems, and need a better suport system, look for a school where you can get this on campus or near campus. I would try to SEPARATE this from your classmates and major field of study where possible. There is still a lot of prejudice towards those of us who admit to having problems. I told my first boss (first job after grad school) BIG mistake. My assignments were 2nd tier, and I could never overcome his impression that things were too hard for me. Since then, I've been able to keep things quiet, and I have not had to discuss this with my boss.

Grad school is meant to be hard, so that it does distinguish between people. Unfortunately, many programs define this as providing minimal support systems, and just don't care, since they always have plenty of applicants.

Your choice to take incompletes is done. Accept it and move on. Don't allow yourself to obsess over this setback (that feels like a failure)--it is done, and you can't go back. Once you finish the stuff you need to do, the I's come off the record and are replaced with real grades. At that point, you will be the only one who will remember them, so they aren't that big a deal.

The cognitive skills can help with day to day functioning. They don't dig deeply in the "causes" for thoughts, but deal with the things you need to do each day. That approach works for me most of the time, and I've found the skills useful in dealing with other people as well.

E-mail me if you'd like to. You can find a "working solution", it just takes a little time.

Good luck




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