I’ve put off writing a reflection of the last year and writing of any goals that I might have or want to see accomplished for no particular reason. Instead, there are many reasons as to why I haven’t been able to sit down and hammer this out – away in Hong Kong, busy with presentation, away in Brazil, having school start, etc. But I suppose the reason that resonates most clearly is that I wasn’t sure about the scope of what I would be reflecting upon.
At first, I thought about discussing the past year in terms of recovery for my elongated depressive episode. When thinking about it, though, I realized that this recovery process that I was wanting touch upon, not only rooted itself in the initial signs of the major episode years ago (April 2009, to be most correct), but also in the poor management of my medication prescriptions that had incurred during sophomore year. And it was in realizing this added complication that, at this point, in particular, it was the repercussions that I was still working through – the general inefficacy of and mishandling of me as a patient and person. It goes to say that there was this topped-off layer to my bundle of issues that should never have been added in the first place. In layman’s terms: for someone who’s not too keen on desserts, an added layer of frosting can most certainly deter one from finishing the cake.
Granted, there were the “bad days” in the past year, but they were not the core of my problems. I didn’t see myself struggle out of bed or stare mundanely at the wall; instead, I saw myself questioning what had happened to me, and justifying why I didn’t deserve the circumstances that were imposed upon me. I recanted the stories from the vivid memories that would not leave me so as to re-assess and make sure that I wasn’t living in a world of my own creation. And I re-integrated myself into the university community that I had never truly known so as to find a baseline to all of this. “This” is vague, and I can’t find a particular noun to affix it to, and I suppose it is best left that way.
And as I say all of this, it begs the question about my academics. The story of my major episode began at the tail-end of freshman year and continued on through the summer with me struggling to leave my apartment. But somehow, I was still averaging an 3.7 GPA. And the decent grades continued on throughout my continued therapy sessions in New York, with A’s and A-‘s for the most part. I say this with no mal-intent, but it was the ease in grading that had allowed me to skirt by in the second semester of sophomore year. As much as I would like to give myself credit for being a genius of sorts, I really can’t. Taking medication that I never adjusted to, I slept most of the day – nine to ten hours of sleep was topped off with naps and droopy eyelids in class and at my desk at both work and home. There was no real opportune time for me to churn out essays except for the few hours that I could be awake enough to read material and type. There was no working ahead because there is no concept of “future” when you’re in this haze of being medicated. In which case, it was easy to catch errors and flawed arguments in my summer courses when I had less time to “recuperate” between assignments.
When asked about Paris (which was where my average took a big hit), I often tell those that ask that I was enduring the rigour of a whole major in two semesters, when students would take at least three years. In which case, I was confronted with a large learning curve, and hence my grades and their dramatic improvement. And for the most part, that was true. But there was always this aspect that i never touched upon, and that was I was distracted. I wasn’t distracted in the average sense of being on Facebook too much, or anything of that sort. Rather, I was pre-occupied with what what I mentioned above, asking the questions of what had happened in the year before and why. Nothing in that first semester back in Paris had my full attention. So it was as I wrote the stories, I began to possess more clarity, though there were tendencies in which I would fall back into a past of sorts – lost in memories of who I was and what had happened in past years.
With all that said, I’ve come to these three realizations about the past year that I sum up here:
- Grown-ups make mistakes too. Part of the reason as to why I clung on the mistreatment of my depression was that I had put my faith in what I believed to be an “authority.” It was the disappointment that the go-to figures can make mistakes and not realize it. And while I had attributed the calamity of it all to one central person, I realized that, in flipping through the pages of my records, it was a system, created to prevent all that had happened, that had failed me when no one had remarked upon the inaccurate remarks made about me. Nothing is perfect, even in the most minute of communities.
- Forgiveness doesn’t come easily – for either party. The common saying that we learn as children is “forgive and forget,” but as we grow older, we realize that life isn’t as easy as wiping away a day’s worth of scribbles off a chalk board. To want to propose forgiveness is easy; the actual process of forgiving someone that has done wrong unto you is one that has no defined beginning or end. That said, forgiveness is also not simply a matter of it being “earned” by a person; the parameters for it are so many, yet so few. For the most part, I’ve moved on, but I cannot forgive the poor administration of medication that took myself away from me – at least not yet. The words are ready to leap out of my mouth but I want to be able to give the words actual meaning and weight.
- I’ve put my life back together. I’ve spent the last decade watching myself fall apart countless times, only to find myself patching band-aids on the wounds and function again for some time before steering myself toward another meltdown. It was only in college that someone hit the stop button on this pattern and directed me towards a more constructive path. In between, there were ups and downs – some of my own doing and some not – but during all of it, I was never at my best. My accomplishments were still good on all accounts but they were not my representative of me at my best. I’ve caught glimpses in all of this time of what is the best of me, but it’s really only been in these past few months that I’ve been able to better recognize myself and see more than just a snapshot.
If we look at grades, this is the most consistent I’ve been. If we look at community, I’ve found myself happily working with different departments at the university. If we look at me, professionally, I may not have a financial-sector job lined up after graduation, but I have plans and don’t mind the detours on the road map. And if we look at me as a whole, this is the most I’ve ever enjoyed anything. I’ve taken back my life.
Everyday won’t be peachy. Not everyone will be kind. Not every remark will be positive. That said, my one overarching goal for 2012 is to remember is that it does and will get better.