First-person account / Insight / Loughner / Psychosis / Schizophrenia / Uncategorized

30 thoughts on “maeror meror (in mourning)

  1. I am so sorry that all of that happened to you. Much of it resonated with me relative to the experiences you had with the rejection of you by your doctoral cohort (mine literally got up and left me sitting alone on the day of our cert. comps). No one would agree to advise me, and the person who I approached because her work was relevant to my question lied outright to other professors and my peers. I withdrew shortly after.

    But I am also ostracized for whistleblowing in my now former field.

    Ostracism is lethal – a living death. Add that burden to perceptual distress such as you experienced, and I can only imagine the untenable and unendurable distress.

    Best to you-

  2. Just wanted to say, thanks for sharing. And also that I admire how you approach the writing of it, both its expression and as a path through.

    • Thanks. There’s a definite trade-off between personal memoir and more empirically-driven social science writing, but certainly sometimes the former just seems the most appropriate….

  3. I’m sorry, this just resonated so much with my own life that I couldn’t hold back my tears. What an incredible post. I wish for all the best in your life in the future!

  4. I think this displays starkly the weakness of a society that is itself so in fear of weakness and failure. We should open our arms to the vulnerable; what worth is an academia that cares only for the remote subject?

  5. I am truly saddened by the situation in Colorado and your experiences as well. People so often judge and condemn without knowledge or experience. I can’t imagine that someone would make such a devastating choice without suffering personal devastation of their own. Society needs to embrace its imperfections and find a way to manage the gap that exists between varying segments of society.

  6. As a professor, I am always dismayed when I see my profession abandoning those who need the most help. It happens far too often in many different ways, and I am never sure what can be done about it. This story is perhaps one of the most poignant examples that I have seen. So much of this also resonates with my own experience: the constant monitoring of behavior, the pressure to participate (maybe I didn’t want to attend those department lectures? Maybe I am an adult who can make choices about my life?). I’m sorry that my colleagues were so callous in their treatment of your situation, particularly because upper-level degrees are so closely intertwined with so many aspects of one’s life.
    There is a new move for professors to be ‘pro-active’ in reporting students who are ‘experiencing’ difficulties to the administration. Certainly, I understand from the institution’s standpoint why such practices are encouraged: no one wants to see a crisis situation arise and, if they do, they want to be able to say that there were safeguards in place, both for image and for the lawsuits that might otherwise incur (sad, but true). But I feel that too often, encouraging untrained people to diagnose students could lead to a situation such as the one that you described above, especially at the graduate level, when decisions about one’s life and career effectively hang in the balance of a very few people whose decisions are very rarely questioned or examined. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Your courage gives hope and strength to those who in the middle of their crises also have to fight the stigma.

  8. Thank you so much for your brave post, very similar thing happened to by brother. I couldn’t stop crying, but I can tell just this : don’t give up, my brother managed to overcome everything, so can you. I wish you all the best!!!

  9. Hi, N. Thank you so much for having the courage to put yourself out there with your experience(s). I have also had a similar experience with my (previously undiagnosed) bipolar disorder while in my art history PhD program in New York. I was wondering if you get this if you could sympathize – or even give me feedback. I never hurt anyone, nor did I want to – only myself – but sharing fantasies of how I would “ideally” kill myself with the school’s counseling services proved to be the end of my career as a PhD candidate. I was taken by police escort from the counseling office and rushed by ambulance directly to Bellevue Hospital’s psych ward, where I remained for over half a month. I was essentially taken completely “off the grid” in the course of my first meeting with Student Counseling. Afterward, I took a full two-year leave of absence and then tried to return, but having never really recovered from the whole experience I pretty much drifted into irrelevance in my program. I am still haunted and troubled by my time in Bellevue, and that was five years ago now. I’d love some feedback about the parallels between our situations and how you’ve managed to, well, manage it. Thank you again for sharing your story.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your story. My mother is bipolar and while she never tried to go to school, I always wondered what would happen if things were diffrent. And on the subject of James Holmes, I do think that something like this happened. While I do think he should be punished, and I feel horribly for the victims and their families, I also feel for him. What happened to cause such a horrific downfall? I will probably never know, but I do hope he gets the help he so desperately needs. Once again thank you for sharing your story, and I hope things are better for you. My thoughts are with you and victims of this tragedy.

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  13. It is a tragedy that those with mental illness are so often undervalued. Assuming a mental illness will forever immobilize one’s progression through life is damning their very humanity. How can one promote greatness with such an underhanded expectation of failure? How would anyone else feel if no one had faith in them? Even family can be patronizing in their familiar contempt for your “usual shit.” Add that to the searing insecurity of one’s own tortured mind and how do you expect them to thrive? And we wonder why they have trouble functioning in society…

    It’s as simple as a little empathy here people. The same empathy you would extend to any other individual struggling with a chronic illness. Yes it’s hard to understand sometimes. Yes it might not always by easy, but doesn’t everyone deserve a shot at happiness? It might not meet your definition but it’s just as meaningful.

    I hope you have found a space in life which accepts you as you are and promotes the growth of your brilliant mind. You deserve this, I deserve this…

    We *all* deserve this.

  14. Just wanted to thank everyone for stopping by to read this post, and leaving comments. I really appreciate it. And to everyone who expressed concern and good wishes, I am indeed now a very happy doctoral student in psychology and (except in the immediate aftermath of particularly charged events such as the Aurora shootings) spend as little time as possible thinking about the experiences described here.

    Again, thanks to everyone who commented.

  15. I’m a little late to this post and please pardon my anonymity (I’m sure you understand though) but I too could really ID with Holmes even though I didn’t make it to grad level due to financial reasons. I also was a science undergrad like himself and quiet and highly intelligent and even the stress pushed on by professors to be perfect is so immense and bizarre that the stress can just break you if you’re prone to any mental illness. I struggled in my last year with severe clinical depression and while my struggle was never made known to professors they could smell it miles away. I ended up being ostracized by them. One was a straggler which helped me with an internship just after graduation but even he left me out of the loop soon after.

    I cannot help but to wonder every day if something similar to our stories happened to Holmes and I know the ending of one’s college career can intensify the stress of mental illness so swiftly and so painfully that one feels the need to lash out. Plus the loss of any support such as access to cheap/free counseling on campus and a fairly stable lifestyle of academia can feel like one’s world has been totally ripped away. I almost think these seemingly minor issues should be discussed. Even the transition of a “mentally healthy” person from college to abrupt adult world is fraught with fear and stress.

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