(warning: very very long)
Okay, I will freely admit it, I really dropped the ball here. See, heres what happened
Last semester was honestly, not kidding, not exaggerating, the single worst semester of my entire life. In fact, the single worst experience of my entire school career (including that time in middle school when the entire Drama Club thought I had stolen some girls retired cop dads badge she brought in, which I absolutely did not, and I started crying). I must have chosen the exact perfectly wrong combination of teachers, like every single teacher that gave the most homework in the school, because I. Never. Had. A. Single. Moment. Off! Seriously, again, not exaggerating here, I would get up, go to class, come back, have lunch, go to class again, come back, have dinner, do homework, go to bed, repeat, repeat, then on the weekends? Get up, have lunch, do homework, have dinner, do homework, go to bed, repeat, repeat, ad infinitum. Not one single moment off, ever. Oh, and does anyone remember how last year I said Art History was the worst class ever? I actually had a good teacher last semester. Oh, yay, so Art History isnt as hard, guess that means one class isnt as bad
oh, wait, now I have World Civilizations. Oh, World Civ, dont get me started. 30 pages to read every single week, tests on material we never covered, a ridiculously in-depth research paper we had to work on all semester, complete with bibliography, primary resources and citations, oh my gosh, new least favorite class, which if you know how much I despised Art History, is saying something. I was pulling legit all-nighters by the end of the semester (hooray for the college experience?) and then at Survey, the gallery where we all have to hang our work at the end of the semester, I was up all night reprinting all my old workwhich didnt wind up working anyway b/c the computer lab TURNS OFF ITS PRINTERS EARLY tell me, how does that make sense during finals week?and mounting it all, but then not finishing a bunch of it anyway despite staying up straight through the night, and having to rush to Survey last minute and just tack it all up on the wall as best I could, no time to make it look pretty, and then I got kicked out before I could even hang it all so half of that was left lying on the floor! So yeah, wound up getting Cs in 6 of my 8 classes, one of which I actually should have failed for not being able to print out and hang for Survey, but my professor was out sick that day (turns out he has Lime Disease. Still coming to class through the pain, though. Guys a tank) so I slipped by there. NOT A GOOD SEMESTER.
On top of all my schoolwork, there was another thing (not done yet? Oh, goodness no, Im just getting started). Possibly you may recall from my last update that I went off my antidepressants this summer. Reports that I am doing okay may have been
hasty. Its kind of a chicken or egg thing here, or more accurately, a vicious cycle. I would have a big workload, this would get to me and get me depressed, which in turn would make me unable to focus on my work, which would increase the stress of all the work and inrease the time it took to do it, which would make me depressed! It was like, I KNOW I had too much work, but I also KNOW it shouldnt have been QUITE that bad but for the depression. I couldnt DO anything, all my time was spent living in my head, even when I was trying to do my art, I wasnt focused on it. It built to such a point that one night I just had to get out of my room. I just had to go DO something. So I ran down the stairsall 11 flightsand I ran across campus to get some Ice Cream
and I just kept running. I just kept running and running around the campus, just to be able to get my heart working, to get myself out of my funk (I had heard exercise is good for depression). Yeah, sort of had a little breakdown there. My friends called it my Forrest Gump Moment.
If this werent enough, then my faith got thrown into the mix. As has been mentioned in the past, I am a devout Christian. Now, Im a very intellectual and curious person, so Ive always had questions about my religion, things I didnt understand, and Ive certainly had my doubts in the past. But add that to depression and it gets amped up to 11. Suddenly I cant accept anything anymore. I have to scrutinize and scrutinize every aspect of my life, trying to make it perfect, just in case Im sinning. Then I have to spend every minute of every day philosophizing about just what sin is, so I can know right from wrong and better live this perfect life. Naturally, this contributed much to my crippling indecision, and the vicious cycle went on. Then, of course, I find God harder to connect with. I begin to find the very idea of Gods existence almost unfathomable, and all the reassuring philosophies, all the beautiful songs that spoke to me in the past, all the wonder and contentment that there was a Being out there, wholly perfect in absolutely every way, and He just loved meslowly I just couldnt feel anymore. Thats depression for you, after all. Apparently not uncommon amongst even famous religious figures, either, its called the dark night of the soul (wikipedia it). In fact, while Im at it, even Jesus had his moments of religious despairthe Agony in the Garden (wikipedia it) and at his death My God, My God, why hast Thou abandoned me? (that ones also from Psalm 22). But I digress. I would try, with what tiny scraps of spare time I could scrape together, to research, to talk with my Priest, to read this book I bought (My Struggle With Faith by Joseph F. Girzone. Its phenomenal, hes very scientific and scrutinizing, like me, and knows all about struggling with faith, as the title implies. Naturally, it wasnt long before I couldnt read this book, either, however, as I was unable to focus on anything! Books and TV and movies especially I couldnt do.), to go home and sit in on the Youth Group, to meet with the Newman Club here at Pratt, and these things helped, but their reprieves were usually brief. Any small inconsistencies in the Bible or in Christian philosophywhat some consider Divinely dictated, inerrant truthswould send me spiraling into despair. Most Christians try to work through these trying times with prayer. I naturally tried that. Sadly, I screwed that up, too, big time. See, I figured I should apologize to God for all the things I did wrong and thank him for all the things that went well. Since I was in this place where everything I did I thought I was doing wrong, I was apologizing a lot, and increasingly. It got to be habitual, I would pray constantly and about any little thingor nothing. I prayed so often that I found it becoming completely compulsory, I had said the same things so many times in the past that I was just reciting a script, going through the motions and not actually feeling really like I was actually praying to my God. Naturally, I was thanking God less and lessnot out of any malice towards Him, of course, but just because I couldnt get myself happy enough to be truly thankful, I was too busy apologizing for my perceived wrongdoings. I say to you, with some hesitance, that for the first time in my life I really understand why some people find religion not just unrealistic, which I can respect but disagree with, but also upsetting. To my thinking, God loves you infinitely more than you can even imagine, and he just wants you to be happy, and all he asks of you is towhat, not lie, steal, hate, or murder, and take a single hour a week to learn about Him and celebrate Him? Consciously, I still believe this to be true, I just understand now why some people cant accept it. (Okay, also I get that people dont like the Christian views on sex, but come on, people, keeping it in your pants until youre married is not that difficult) So yeah, obviously Im realizing how horribly wrong I was handling Christianity last semester by now, hence my telling you about it like this. I realize there is no way in Hell that was the way God intended me or my faith to be, I was helping no one, not me, not Him, not anyone else, really. So Im working through that, but its still a struggle. My Priest reassures me that faith should be a struggle, that struggles are how we grow. To an extent I agree, and I certainly hope so.
(But any Christians in the readership who want to drop me a line and offer their advice would be more than welcome)
So, went home for Christmas break, had the worst Christmas of my life, got some movies which I absolutely couldnt focus on watching, got some comics which I absolutely couldnt focus on reading, spent half the break in my room with the door shut (praying, compulsively, usually for an hour or so at a time) hung out with friends and could barely focus on that (sorry, friends) and had another little breakdown or two (One night while driving home from Christmas shopping I started singing at the top of my lungs to myself in the car, just to stop myself from thinking so much).
You know, you hear about people who go through years of depression and you think that sucks but you dont really understand until youve been through hours of depression. Hours after hours. You just want it to stop, but it doesnt. You just want to end the anxiousness, the unease, to go back to some small measure of peace but you just cant. You think you can deal with years if you have to, but you absolutely cannot deal with hours.
Eventually, thankfully, I decided to go back on the meds. Lifes not perfect now, but Im getting better, slowly.
So sorry for not updating my DeviantArt account at all for 7 months, and barely updating Facebook, and barely doing anything else, at all. I hope you understand from my 3 whole pages of type that my situation was entirely out of my control, and I will do my best to begin being alive again. Not necessarily a lot, and not necessarily immediately. Like I said Im only getting better now, and I do still have a not unimpressive amount of schoolwork (but better than last semester). But I will do my best.
Much love, and congrats if you read this far, you get +20 cool points!