I took a semester off from school. I detailed why in another article, but long-story-short, I was suicidal, self-destructive, and I had so much going on emotionally that I needed to take a step back from school. Everyone knows that college is a lot of work and a lot of stress, so taking that off of my plate was necessary. I truly believe that if I had remained in school and on that path, I would have killed myself.
So, I decided to withdraw and begin an intensive outpatient program so that I could learn the tools that I need to be successful, not only when I get back to school, but also throughout other aspects of my life. I have been able to spend the past several months working on changing the way that I think and working on new ways to manage my stress without tearing apart my own skin.
I know that I have the tools and I know that returning to school is my next step. Right now, I lay around in my bed and only leave the house to run to the store, accompany my mom to doctor’s visits, and to head to my own appointments. I know that I need more stimulation, and that I can take on this challenge. However, there is a part of me that is scared. There is a part of me that worries that things could go back to the way they were and I will find myself closed off, covered in self-inflicted wounds, and desperately planning my own death.
I have to keep reminding myself that I have a plan this time which includes counseling services, residence life, my friends, and various other resources. I have a safety plan, which I will update before going back. I know what works for me and I have been able to vocalize those needs and set up some safety nets for when I get back in a month.
Logically, I know that I can, but I can’t predict the future and that is what scares me the most: I just don’t know how things will go. I don’t know how much work each of my courses will dole out. I don’t know who my RA will be. I don’t know where all of my friends are living. And I can’t predict or mandate how people will respond to my return. I can however decide how I manage things as they come.
I am afraid, but I know I can do it because I have a plan and I have the tools. I have spent five months away from any real responsibility and in that time, I have focused exclusively on myself. I will head back to college in a month and while uncertainty scares the heck out of me, I know that the only thing I can predict and the only certainty for the coming months is uncertainty. I know I am ready, and I know that I am scared, but I am not going to let my fear prevent me from doing what I really want. I am not going to let my fear decide my life for me.I am okay, and I promise that I mean it this time. I think that some level of fear is normal in this situation. There is no guide book on how to do this; I just have to do it and find out for myself. I know that I can do this and maybe I’ll write my own guide. Who knows what will happen? I can just take it one step at a time.