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I'm really between a rock and a hard place right now, and I'm hoping some of the parents here can impart some wisdom that will help me break the news to my family.
I'm being forced to leave school for a semester because of poor grades. The poor grades are mostly caused by a series of major depressive episodes, the most recent of which resulted in my failing all my classes last semester. I'm doing my best to get better--I see a great therapist, and have had mixed success with medication. Right now I'm looking for a job, trying to find a better medication regimen, and working with my therapist to get well enough to return to school and graduate. I'm very upset about this recent development, but I'm dealing with it and have a good support system because of my wonderful girlfriend and other friends who make up my "chosen family."
The problem is my blood family have pretty much no idea anything is wrong. As far as they know, I'm on track to graduate this spring after five successful years of school--I told them the fifth year was because of a late major change, but it was really mostly because of academic problems from the depression. I feel awful about lying to them, but I feel worse about the prospect of admitting to my parents and extended family that I'm a total failure.
I'm not just guessing or imagining that they'd have a bad reaction if I were honest with them. When I was first diagnosed with depression a couple of years ago, I told my parents about it when I came home for summer break. They completely flipped out--screaming at me at the top of their lungs that I'd brought it on myself, yelling about how unfair it was that I hadn't told them earlier, even telling me depression was contagious and I'd infect them with it. My parents are smart, knowledgeable people, and my dad has been on medication for depression for a while so it's not a lack of understanding at work... I still don't know why they reacted that badly, but they did, and it caused a lot of problems at the time. I wish I could have been honest all along, but I'm fairly guarded with them because we've had a rocky relationship for a long time. We more or less get along now, but I'm gay and have been thrown out of the house for it in the past.
Anyway, now I have to explain somehow that they shouldn't be planning any graduation parties or worrying about paying tuition this semester. I'm worried that this will be the last straw that shatters any residual hope I had for a good relationship with them, and I'm feeling crappy enough that I don't think I can take any more rejection right now. People keep telling me I'm still smart and full of potential if I can just get through this mess, but it's hard not to feel worthless right now, and I can't figure out a way to tell my parents what's going on that doesn't make them think I'm worthless too.
Thanks for reading; sorry it's so long. Any ideas?