I have been wishing, wanting and waiting to go back to college since I left in August of 2009 (I made it a week into the new semester). During my first treatment stay I really believed that I would be out by January and ready to go back to school. In reality it would be another five months before I would permentantly leave the world of Laureate.
I returned home and immediately enrolled in another university. I was ready to go. Ready to reclaim college and enjoy it. I made it three weeks this time before leaving for The Center for Change. That was the fall of 2010.
And the fall of 2011? I knew this time I couldn’t attend school. My anxiety was out of control, my PTSD symptoms were far from manageable and I knew my recovery was very precarious and could at any moment crumble away. It would never have worked to go back and for the first time I let go of my stubborn determination that I had to go back no matter what and reluctantly stayed at home.
So now it’s the fall of 2012. Ben is with me by my side and my anxiety is under control and my eating disorder while lurking in the corner of my mind is not active. And the PTSD…well that sucks quite honestly. But I’m functioning.
However, last Sunday I made the decision to withdraw from school. It wasn’t a quick or sudden decision. I followed my gut and my heart and knew school is not the place for me. Not because I was doing poorly. No far from that I was doing very well, I was getting good grades on tests and quizes. I was showing up for class. I had written an essay and was managing my time well. And I was balancing recovery. I was nowhere near a relapse.
So why did I quit? Well, for one thing school is a dream that I have been chasing for the last three years. I thought that once I returned to school everything would be normal. And that simply wasn’t true. I also thought I would love school and I didn’t. I hated it. I didn’t care for my classes or the environment I found myself in. I really liked my peers and in time I think I could have built some relationships but something just wasn’t right.
I finally realized that what wasn’t right was me.
I have changed. I’ve grown (mentally and physically…hahaha). And school just didn’t fit. I didn’t like the heady arguments or the analytical parts of my courses. I didn’t like how things weren’t concrete but fluid and changing. I was disappointed that I felt like an outsider looking in. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I felt too different and removed.
And I am different than when I began college. Then I liked heady classes and didn’t mind ambiguity. Today I have enough ambiguity in my head that to add that to my school life felt like I could never escape from my thoughts. And I need a break from always thinking. I am no longer an eighteen year old beginning a new life or even an adult student looking to find something new to add to their life. I’m none of those things.
I’m simply trying to discover how to live and how to survive without passivly killing myself.
And school doesn’t fit into that. I wish it did but it doesn’t. I hated it and one thing I have learned from the past three years of recovery/eating disorder is that I don’t have to do things that make me miserable. If there is a responsible way out then it’s okay to quit. It doesn’t mean I’m a quitter – it means that for once in my life I’m giving myself permission to do (or not do as the case may be) what makes me happy and content.