Taking medical leave and feeling like a failure

A few weeks toward the end of Fall quarter (I was a sophomore) I fell into a deep depression and ended up in the hospital for depression anxiety and suicidal ideation. My mother actually flew across the country to pick me up because I had stopped showering and changing clothes and getting out of bed for anything but food. I’m taking a medical leave of absence now and doing intensive therapy, three times a week instead of one, and I’m starting on medications.

I ended the quarter with two fine grades and two incompletes cuz I was taken home before some of the exams and my mother wanted me to have incompletes and MLOA instead of just quitting which is what I would’ve done without her help. Now my school is starting spring quarter and my sister and boyfriend will be resuming at their schools in a week and my sister is getting into grad schools and having interviews and I just don’t want to be alive.

I feel like I’m supposed to be in school and working and volunteering in a lab that was training me and preparing for grad school resume and instead I’m home doing therapy and reading and coloring like a child. And I hate hearing about how well my sister and others are doing. It just makes me feel worse. And aside from her I have my mom and my boyfriend and one friend, and my friend and bf don’t live in my state so I guess my support system is pretty small so that’s why I’m here. I don’t want to go back to school or work, but I know I will have to at some point if I stay alive long enough cuz I can’t just be mooching off my mother for years. It’s been many years that I didn’t want to be alive and I just thought it was normal cuz everyone says life sucks. I don’t feel like it’s going to get better. My mom is just wasting all her money and time on me. I feel like a failure.

PLEASE DO NOT FEEL LIKE A FAILURE. Your path has a detour. That’s all.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ILLNESSES ARE AS REAL AS PHYSICAL ILLNESSES. Everyone understands that when you are sick, there are things you cannot do until you get well again. My daughter had to miss a crucial period of her sophomore year of high school due to mono. JUST LIKE IN YOUR CASE, she had absolutely no choice. She missed her sophomore PSAT, a dance competition with her team, auditions for the musical, all her regular classes (even though her general point of view was “You can’t miss a day of chemistry or when you come back you will be hopelessly confused!”), and rehearsals for the play she was in. Her fever went as high as 107 and she looked and felt horrible. But you know what? She bounced back. (She even pulled off an A- in Chemistry!) YOU WILL BOUNCE BACK TOO!

I am a college professor and I have seen MULTIPLE students have to take leaves of absence for mental health reasons including suicidal ideation over the years. Many of them have come back and had GREAT SUCCESS. One of these students is a student who is directing a play that I am in and doing great in an array of interesting classes. She is in a 100% different place now mentally than she was 6 months ago and I am so grateful she did not give up on herself. YOU ARE A SUCCESS STORY. You may not be in a chapter of that story where you can see that success right now, but if you could peek ahead, you would be excited by the chapters still to come!

PLEASE CONTINUE TO GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. That you are in therapy is a great thing.

PLEASE make sure that that professional help understands how badly you are feeling right now.

PLEASE do not compare your path to other people’s paths and to what you think you are “supposed to be doing.” There is no one size fits all to college paths or paths through life in general. Really, truly, some of the most successful people in life have not marched through school in eight consecutive semesters of everything going right in every respect. Detours ARE permitted. They really are. So right now, your project is getting yourself healthy. Everything else can wait.

YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE. Do not give up. Worry about getting through the next hour. Then worry about the one after that. There’s plenty of time to do all of the things you aren’t doing this semester after you get better. I promise you that school WILL STILL BE THERE!

Please, don’t put yourself down for taking a medical leave of absence. In the grand scheme of things, as the poster above me put it, “your path has a detour.” In fact, you are far from a failure, you’re a very brave person for telling us how you felt about everything that’s been going on with you.

Don’t let your mental illness bring you down, the fact that your mom flew across the country to help you shows that you have a strong support system. It shows that no matter where you are, you will always have someone to talk to, whether it’s a family member, significant other, or professional. If you want to talk to someone else other than someone you know in person, consider texting the number 741741 with the message “Go”.

Make sure that other people you trust know how you are feeling, it’s good to get them out. Also, continue to go to your therapy sessions, it’s a great thing to have and take advantage of. Make sure that the therapist knows everything you want him/her to know, maybe even things that you wouldn’t tell your mom.

It might not be so great right now, but in the words of one of my favorite high school teachers, “The sun is still shining. The grass is still green. The sky is still blue. You have your health and your youth, and your family still loves you.” In other words, no matter what happens or how bad things may seem, you’re going to make it through.

Don’t give up yet, there’s so much for you to conquer. For now, think of this as pressing the pause button on a movie. This is your “pause” on your college career, it won’t hurt you at all. You have so much time to do the things that you want to get done, both inside and outside of college. You are going to do amazing things :slight_smile:

You are getting wonderful advice here. Life is not a race. You DO have a job right now - taking care of yourself and getting healthy with whatever help professionals advise you to take. You might want to contact your state chapter of NAMI - they have support groups and other resources for you. Google the name of your state and NAMI and links will come up.

One correction to @JMS357’s advice - you text the word HOME to 741741 to get the Crisis Text Line. The volunteers are really helpful.

Good luck to you. Keep us posted! :slight_smile:

Flaggin OP @soontobecolleger to make sure these replies are seen since I closed the duplicate thread.

@booklvr has said everything perfectly. I didn’t think a mere “agree” was enough. You should read that post again.

Thank you for the responses. I tell my therapist everything. It’s just hard to only have 3 or 4 people to talk to, especially when they all happen to be busy or sleeping and then I’m alone with my thoughts. I will keep doing the treatment. I just don’t see things getting better. It’s been so long like this.

@soontobecolleger, that’s part of the illness, not recognizing that things WILL get better. Your brain is still developing. A lot of people get better once they’re a little older.

Medicine takes a while to kick in, and it can take a while to find the correct mixture of medicine for you. But you WILL find it. Thank you for reaching out.

I’m sorry you are hurting. That sucks. I’ve been there and I know how time slows down to a crawl and days can feel interminable. But I can always tell you that you can and will feel better. Given how much you accomplished while you were feeling bad, your future is amazingly bright. Medication and therapy can be remarkably effective. Once the cloud lifts, you will feel better and you will be able to jump back into your life. Give yourself permission to read and color and watch TV or whatever it is that helps you pass the time while you are work on gaining back your health. You wouldn’t feel bad about yourself if you were struggling with managing diabetes. This is no different. Best of luck to you. I know you have a great future in store!

Keep writing here, if it helps. And know that THERE ARE MANY PARENTS ON THIS FORUM WHOSE KIDS WENT THROUGH A SIMILAR CRISIS. So, many of us have been your parents. And our children have been you. And you know what? We parents emerged with a newfound respect for our children’s strength. And our children emerged OK. Changed and different, but OK: they went on to finish school and/or get jobs.

Don’t focus on the future. Focus on today. One day at a time. A step at a time. Soon you’ll discovered you’ve gone a long way toward health.

Hugs to you.

PS If you’re worried about your GPA, talk to your parents and school about a retroactive medical withdrawal. There is such a thing if you can prove you entered college with an undiagnosed illness (depression.) A retroactive withdrawal will mean your first semester won’t count at all – but you will have a clean academic record once you decide to go back to school.

@soontobecolleger I was just recently wondering why we haven’t heard from you for a while. So there are people that you don’t even know that care about you.

Be patient and take care of yourself. You have plenty of time to do the college thing.

@LeastComplicated thank you

@soontobecolleger I just wanted to chime in and say that you are strong, and there is a place for you in this world. Always remember that you can’t have the rainbow without the rain.

Getting your health (mental health is health) under control is your number one priority. If you read CC you will read many similar stories.

Do talk to the Dean of Students and see how much time you have to make up the incomplete.

Failure is not listening to your mom to take the Incompletes.
Failure is not going to the doctors.
Failure is not taking this seriously.
Failure is denying you have an issue.
Failure is not complying with the doctor’s orders.

You are NOT failing.