June 23, 2014

I love my family so much, they're one of the main reasons I'm still here fighting each day. But in the past, whenever I've managed to gather to nerve to discuss how I feel, they were never receptive. They just didn't seem to understand why I would struggle to motivate myself to apply for that job, to get some exercise, to go out with friends or to engage in some sort of extra-curricular activity to improve my CV. Things are getting a little better between us now, but they can still get frustrated with my apparent laziness and apathy. I have explained to them that I'm doing my best but I often can't summon the energy when things just seem so pointless and futile.

I still feel pressured to compete with my cousins

I can't completely blame them though, as strange as that sounds. They're very hardworking people, and my dad's family are pretty competitive. My cousins have all gone to prestigious universities, while I'm studying at a far more mediocre institution. They all excel academically, socially, and in sport, and my aunts, uncles and grandparents never let me forget it. Despite the fact they all went to private school and my brother and I went to a state school, I still feel pressured to compete with them. It's probably partially why I tend to feel so demotivated, but I always compare myself to those around me; I always have. It's a habit. So I think my parents, my extended family, and I all have this rather unhealthy mindset of competition and achievement which is why I don't entirely blame my parents for acting the way they do.

I told my parents about going for therapy

It's been a bit easier since I moved to university though. I can distance myself when I feel them pressuring me, and I can be my own person. In October I went to a university counsellor, whom after several sessions of talking to me, sent me to the doctor who prescribed me some anti-depressants and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Being away from home, I managed to keep it all to myself until the therapy sessions interfered with our family holiday over easter. It forced me to overcome my trepidation over how they'd react, but still I thought it best to break it to my mum rather than my dad, she's a lot more sensitive (as most mothers are I guess). She seemed to accept it, especially when I explained that I hadn't just rushed to the doctor hoping for a miracle cure, but had instead sought a second opinion when I was feeling low. Then she told my dad, who in turn, expressed his concern, especially that I'd started to take anti-depressants given the possible side-effects etc, which is a fair concern. He soon made his peace with the way I'd handled it though.

For the first time in my life things seem to be on the way up

Now several weeks have passed and our relationship is no different to before, except the feeling of being liberated, and no longer having to hide how I feel from my family. I'm still struggling, but for the first time in my life I feel like I can handle it, and things seem to be on the way up. Soon I might even be...wait for it...happy!

I still feel a bit worried that my potential future employers may discover that I have these problems and reject me as a result, despite modern society and laws against discrimination etc, but we have to make a stand. I work just as hard as anyone else and don't let this stuff get in the way, so it shouldn't be an issue.

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