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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/a-very-very-very-long-confession-14846201.aspx

Subject:  A VERY VERY VERY Long Confession Date:  4/25/2001  10:17 PM
Author:  ArtRimbaud Number:  26101 of 44391

This is very long. But then again, what else is new.

I have some things I would like to say. This is more for me than it is for anyone else. I have been debating whether or not I should say these things for some time now. I was unsure as to how it would be received. I didn't want folks thinking I was whining or searching for attention or anything. Then I could just never find the right time. And to be honest, as I'm typing this, I'm still not sure if I should be doing this.

Those of you on this board last year will remember my (other very very long) post “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish” Here's the link.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13245347&sort=postdate

It had been an eight year dream for me to study here at the London School of Economics. The most prestigious Social Science institution in the world. And I couldn't believe I had made it. I am in a 1 year program, called a Diploma in Economics. There are 15 of us here, from all over the world. 3 Americans including myself, Israel, Latvia, Thailand, Germany, Russia, etc. To give you an idea of the level of the education here, 35% is a passing grade. If we get 60% on all four classes, we are accepted into the 1 year Master's program. If you get 70%, you are awarded an Honor of Distinction. Presidents have studied here. World leaders, Nobel Laureates, even President Bartlett from The West Wing. <g> And now me.

What was even more unbelievable was that I felt like I could do well. The first half went by in a flash, and I was really proud of myself for what I accomplished. When I left London for Christmas with the folks, I was sad. I wanted to get back to school ASAP.

I returned to London in the beginning of January, a few days before the term was set to begin. The first day of classes went ok, a bit tough getting back in the swing of getting up early, but nothing major. The next day, and for the next two weeks pretty much, I couldn't get myself out my door. Some days, I could barely get the energy to get out of bed. I didn't eat. I didn't wash. I didn't dress. I felt like I had run into a brick wall of sorts. And I was petrified to leave my apartment. Even to go buy food, or drop off laundry. I would only venture out when it became imperative for me to eat.

After missing classes and some major assignments, I started to get back on track. I met with all my professors as well as the director of the program, and they were all supportive. I slowly began to catch up on the work, but it was going to be tough. I had a few setbacks here and there, but I thought I could do it. To help, I started seeing a counselor at the Student Health Center. This helped a great deal, because it seemed that a lot of students were going through the same thing.

But it turned out I wasn't doing better. I was only fooling myself. And eventually, I couldn't fool myself anymore. I had a minor breakdown in mid-February, and I hit my low on Sunday Feb 18th. When I had a knife in front of me, ready to do myself in. I was going to slice my wrists open. It was a very scary moment. I started crying, more out of fear than anything else. I knew I had to get on the phone with someone, but who? I picked up the knife and threw it out of my sight, and I called some friends back in the States, but nobody was home. I eventually got a good friend of mine, RMC1720, on the phone, and he and I talked for about 2 hours. I cried some more, told him what was going on, and eventually we were talking about movies and baseball. The next day, I went to see a doctor and two days later I was diagnosed with clinical depression and was put on medication.

I continued with the counselor, but I was never able to go to another class. For all intents and purposes, my career at LSE was finished on Feb 18th. I couldn't believe it, and I felt as horrible about myself as I possible could. I was ashamed for what had happened. I felt like if I went to class, everyone would know what I was going through, that I wasn't cutting it, like I was wearing some Scarlet Letter. Worse, I didn't know how I was going to explain all this to my family and friends back home who were all counting on me and so excited for me that I was here.

Well, I certainly found out who my real friends were. And I also found out the true value in family. I can't tell you how supportive they have been, especially my father, with whom I've never really gotten along. The few people I told were all so great to me, I can't even tell you. And I will be forever grateful to them.

If you look back, you will see a gap in my posting. I stopped in mid-Feb for a time, then returned slowly. This was the reasoning behind my name change, among other, deeper meanings, behind the choice of the name. Eventually, the boards became a sort of therapy for me. A way to connect to the outside world when I was too afraid to do it in person. And some may say I take the boards too seriously, that I see them as life or death. But in a way, they are for me. I live here by myself, with my friends and family thousands of miles away in another country. I might as well be a Cast Away. The boards were my volley ball. (Still haven't seen that movie.) They kept me going. I would get out of bed to see what was up on the boards, and I would stay in front of the computer until I went to bed. Without the boards, I would have felt 100 times worse.

I'm doing ok now, I think. The counseling continues. I'll probably be on medication for a while. The suicide thoughts are there, but not like before. But truth be told, they've been there every day for about 10 years, I just hid it well. While the rest of LSE is now preparing for finals, I'm preparing to go back home. I'll be moving back in with my parents, and I'll find a therapist there. I won't be able to work, not at first at least. I still have trouble getting myself out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, it takes me an hour just to get the energy to make a cup of instant coffee. I forget to eat, I can't fall asleep at night, I have panic attacks sometimes, and I am still sometimes afraid to go outside. I may go a week without seeing or talking to another human being. And that's the worst part.

There is some good news though. The school wants me to return next year, without having to reapply. The director said I was one of the strongest students in the program, and wants me back as well. And it turns out that one of the people in the program this year went through this last year, and has now returned.