06 July 2007

One of the most confusing things I've ever done with my life was forget to take the GRE.

I've been thinking a lot about the past year and a half, and now that I'm getting better, I've snuck a peek at my old journal entries. Today I went through all of my flickr archives. The memories came back like a belly flop from the high dive. What surprised me most, actually, is how completely surprised I am by some of the things that I did to try to wrestle with this thing on my own. Sad things. Embarrassing things...and drastic things, just to make myself feel better -- or sometimes just to feel anything.

To me, the most interesting way that I tried to deal with my depression was to make big plans when I was feeling well, because I thought it would motivate me to pull myself out of the "slump." Sometimes it worked for a little while, but mostly it served to remind me of all the little failures in my life, because by the time those decisions affected me, I wasn't feeling well anymore, and I would deliberately put those things off and push them as far away as possible. Grad school would be a good example.

I was going to move to Chicago, come hell or high water, and go to grad school there. I became obsessed with Chicago; with shedding my Boston skin and starting over as a new person -- a happy person. As ridiculous as it sounds, I couldn't see how unhealthy it was to put so much emphasis on how this singular act would make me happy. How if I thought I would be happy then, it only served to highlight how unhappy I was now. I had no idea how to get from point A to point B, but, goddamnit, point B was where happiness was.

During one of my slightly more manic (and DRUNK) moments, I signed up to take the GRE. $130 is a lot of money, especially because I was unemployed, but this decision was going to CHANGE MY LIFE.

I chose a date that was a month and a half away so that I would have time to study.

I think I opened a book once. It was a Princeton Review study guide my mom had gotten me for Christmas the year before, and I'm pretty sure I didn't do much more than skim the first chapter.

The date for the test came and went, and I didn't even realize it at the time. It wasn't until a week later that I even bothered to check my email to see when I'd registered to take the exam, and instead of being upset, I was kind of relieved. Maybe. Mostly, I was too tired to care, anymore.

This is not one of my prouder moments, and I don't think I've ever admitted it to anyone.

I'm nowhere near completely healed from all of this, but I'm working on it. And the longer I work, the more results I see and the easier it gets. I'm excited about life again, and the little changes are enough for now. I'm nowhere closer to a decision about school or my career, or even where I'll be living a year from now, but it's indescribably different, in a warm happy way.

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