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A year later and a part of me is still struggling with withdrawing from grad school due to my mental health. I felt like I had my whole life figured out and now I’m just working a job I don’t care about and chasing the next road trip or concert I can get to. I know I made the right decision but I can’t help but think about the possibility there are multiple people who consider me a failure as well because I wasn’t good enough to make it through the program.


@dbevino It’s like a t shirt you wear every day that says “DROP OUT” on the back of it. Like a brandish of shame you walk around with. It’s this nagging that someone behind you is snickering and looking down at you - look at him, he is such a failure, he couldn’t handle it, and look - he’s thrown his life away!

The idea of meeting people in your past who you told you were going to grad school makes you sick…thinking about having to explain and re-explain why you made the decision that you did feels exhausting. Feels like you’d rather hide. Move. Go somewhere no one knows you and never have to face those people again.

But part of you is proud of yourself - for listening to your own heart and choosing a path that isn’t just the “right” one, but the right one for YOU. And wrestling with this feels WHOLESOME and GOOD, but you’re fighting all of these shameful thoughts and fears. It’s hard to feel like you can hang your hat with confidence on that truth. You may get it there in one moment, but in the next you’re looking over your shoulder again.

Plus, when you look at the life you’ve chosen, it still doesn’t feel perfect. You don’t love the job, you feel like you’re chasing memories and adventures, but it doesn’t feel like the whole picture of what you want your life to be about. It is good, and enjoyable, but not fulfilling in the way you imagined a satisfying, purposeful career path would have been.

You know that it was the right choice because grad school was the wrong path for you, but the new path hasn’t totally opened itself up to you. So you feel like you’re in this limbo state.

And there, it’s actually hard to be proud of yourself. You feel naked. Your career feels like a fig leaf that keeps you from being exposed. People ask - so what do you do? And you don’t have an answer you feel proud of. Like you have to kind of say it quickly so they don’t linger on it too long. You notice the disappointment when they say, “Oh…cool.”

You notice so much. But feel like you don’t have answers to the shame you feel. You see it, you know it’s not right, you even actively press against it, but the long term relief from these broken pieces feels elusive.

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@heartsupport I could not have explained the way I’ve been feeling more precisely than you just did.

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@dbevino I’m in exactly the same place…dropped out of my dream PhD program leading to my dream job (college professor) because of mental health struggles and not sure I’ll ever get my life back on track. I’m just doing everything I can to avoid the pain…trying to trust in God…it still hurts and I still feel like a failure…but gotta hold out hope that it will get better

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