So, I was recently working on a 10 week thesis course. While they say it’s just another 3 credit course, the pressure associated with it is so much more than that. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for years, I physically and mentally could not handle completing my project in 10 weeks. After 3 weeks of panic attacks every single day, I decided to talk to my doctor and get medication. I never wanted to be one of those ‘crazies’ taking medication for things I felt like I should be able to handle, but they help. They really help. In week 10, working on my thesis was enjoyable, I was excited about what I was creating and really felt like I deserved my spot in the Graphic Design labs, all feelings I had never felt before. Unfortunately, it was just too little too late. I couldn’t complete my project, but forced myself to work to my absolute limits and to present in front of a panel of 8 professors anyway. It was horrible. It was painfully obvious that there decision to fail me had been formed way before my presentation began and they were not kind. Afterword, I suffered one of my most intense mental breakdowns. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think because if I did my thoughts would spiral out of control. I spent an entire day in bed and missed the rest of my finals. Two days later, I got word that I would be receiving and F for thesis. My world was once again crushed. Everything I was looking forward to about next term; the fun classes I took, the idea of just finally being DONE, was all flushed down the toilet. I didn’t know if I would be able to bounce back. I didn’t know if I could survive the intense depression behind my eyes whenever they were open.
Fortunately for me, I have an amazing support system. My mom was there for me every step of the way. For days, I called her in tears while she tried to lead me in mindfulness meditation over the phone to calm me down. She gave me rides to the doctor and always told me to keep my head held high, because I am an accomplished and amazing individual. She forced me to see that I am a good student who’s been silently struggling, not the incapable worthless nothing I had myself convinced that I was.
In addition to my mom, I have an amazing boyfriend and best friend. They would do anything for me, and proved it in my months of need. I have NEVER had friends do that for me. I’ve never felt a friend put my needs before their’s, ever. So, Lea and Ben, if you ever read this, you are amazing.
Lea, you helped me relieve the stress of going to the labs by driving me there and listening to me run through my daily schedule 6 times in the car. You gave me pep talks and hugs and also knew when it was time to just forget about thesis and watch It’s Always Sunny.
Ben, you dealt with the most. You held me while I cried and tried not to add anything on top of all of the anxiety I was already going through. You kissed away my tears and told me everyday how amazing I am and how much I mean to you. I know that no person should need such a constant reminder, but I’m trying to retrain a brain that has thought nothing but negative things for a very long time. Thank you for making me happier and more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been. I’m so unbelievably lucky to have you.
All in all, proceeding from here, I’m not sure what’s next. I failed my senior thesis and was diagnosed with severe depressive disorder. It’s been a year of learning about myself and my limits and I’m finally getting myself on the right path. Next term, I’ll be switching to a Westphal Studies major and working on multiple projects that I’m actually interested in. Today, I was able to communicate with my advisor and effectively tell her how wrong the graphic design program is for me personally. She agreed with me and is working with me to graduate in June with a project that I can truly be proud of, whether it be something in sculpture or printmaking. I’m hopeful today for the first time since my presentation last tuesday and it feels good.
Thank you if you read this far. I love you.