A confession, or, Why I haven’t blogged in two weeks and what I’ve been up to in the meantime

americanI don’t have a single reason or good answer other than to say taking the time away has been a mixed bag. On the plus side, I sometimes post out of a sense of obligation to keep generating content, get page views and shares and likes, and that’s a terrible reason to blog. Of course I want to feel that the things I post are meaningful enough to be read and enjoyed on some level, but I’m not sure the most productive way to accomplish that is to become a slave to statistics. On the negative side, the blog has been a good outlet for me to express how I’m feeling, to update people on my ongoing journey with the depression, etc. I want to strike the right balance between using the blog productively and avoid having it become a daily obligation.

So what have I been doing in the meantime? In my last post I hinted at a possible change on the horizon but didn’t want to reveal too much as it was far from a done deal, and while that pretty much remains true (the part of it being a done deal) what does it hurt anything to share that possible change?

I’m in the process of applying to a local university (Syracuse) to complete my college degree, which I left unfinished almost ten years ago at American University. It’s been one of the more significant contributing factors to my anxiety and my depression. There’s a sense of failure that weighs on me and makes me question my self worth, my abilities and my intellect. I spend a lot of time looking back on what went wrong where, what mistakes did I make, what would I do differently? There’s a limit on how productive this type of reflection can be, and I’ve exceeded it for a long time.

There are perceived inadequacies and I find myself looking at the accomplishments of close friends and family members, comparing them to my own and coming up short. Anytime I think of applying for a different job or pursuing a different career path I usually stop when I read that candidates must have a degree. I don’t take chances.  I tell myself I’m not good enough, not qualified enough and so I let opportunities pass me by.

It also creates a tremendous sense of anxiety that impacts how I relate to people and how willing I am to try and make changes. It impacts everyday interactions- because you attended a four-year school people assume you graduated. I don’t want to lie to people but I don’t want to admit a failure and so you end up doing a little dance around it:

What’s your degree in?

I majored in political science.

That seems to satisfy most people, and while it’s not untrue, it’s certainly not the most honest thing to do. And then any subsequent interaction with people you’ve had that conversation with always has that little cloud hanging over it. Of course there are a lot of people who know I didn’t complete the degree, but this may be the first time I’ve confronted it “publicly”.

So as I’ve been talking with my therapist and working on identifying those things that create or contribute to my anxiety and depression this is something I’ve identified as something I want to fix. There’s still quite a bit of uncertainty and work ahead of me, but I’ve taken the first steps and have met with an academic adviser to discuss my situation.

So that’s what’s been up. More to come.

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Managing my #depression and #anxiety. Sober for one year and counting. #Mentalhealth advocate. Black cat wrangler. Son. Brother. Uncle. Mad man with a blog.

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