I think one of the scariest parts of this - of everything that’s been going on for the last several months - isn’t that occasional desire to die, the hope to slip out of existence. It’s the total lack of joy. The indifference. It’s how far removed I feel from my life. It’s the fact that sometimes I simply don’t care about anything. It’s that numbness. It’s the knowledge that I don’t feel happy when I have cause for celebration. It’s the recognition that everything feels so fake; that the laugh is squeezed out of my diaphragm and forced up my throat for the sake of other people. It’s the slap across the face that I later feel when I hear that forced laugh on a recording. It’s the knowledge that nothing touches me: the cognition that something should be affecting me deeply but that there is no real emotion. Where has my sincerity gone? Where is my heart hiding? Where is the satisfaction I should be feeling? Where is the person, the spirit, the soul that should be inhabiting this body that I’m increasingly starting to hate?
I guess I would rather feel absolutely terrible. I would rather feel like a total disaster because then at least I’d be feeling something. Instead, everything feels blank and for no clear reason. I should be so pleased with this semester: my classes are going exceedingly well, and I’m excelling in ways I wouldn’t have imagined were possible for college. For the most part, my friendships are good. But there are days when I feel like I’m not there. My heart’s not in it. My mind’s not in it. I’m not in it. And that’s scary. Because I have so much to be ecstatic about, to be proud of, and I just don’t care.
There are definitely times that I feel like I’m on the outside, alone. But there are also times when I feel like I’m completely gone. Like I’m not even part of my body. I feel so far removed from everything, it’s as if I’m not even really here at all. But I’m not upset. I just want to know when feeling will be restored. When will my sincerity come back? When will genuine emotions return?
Sometimes there are good days—days where you wake up, and you know that it’s going to be ok, that you can trust the universe to be kind, that somehow, everything will work out.
And sometimes, perhaps too often, there are bad days—days where waking up seems like a disaster, because it means facing the world again, and it’s a day where everything is just too much, and you feel so incapable.
At the flick of an instant a good day might become a terrible one. Sometimes, even the night offers no comfort, because sleep doesn’t come and you lie in bed sobbing, hoping your roommate doesn’t hear.
I’ve had Bipolar I/depression (unclear) for all my three years at Harvard. I often feel that I am in a very small dinghy, lost at sea. I cling to the sides, hoping that the winds might blow straight and true, that the waves won’t be too wild. I try to keep balanced, I try not to tip over the edge. I hope for good weather. I cross my fingers and knock on wood that rather than being lost, I might eventually sail toward somewhere wonderful.
Reading these posts, I am reminded that we are all in our own ways, at different speeds, and on different vessels— trying to navigate uncertain waters. I feel so much empathy for anyone at Harvard who is feeling lonely, or sad, or who feels lost. This place can be wonderful, but it is also a place where a lot of our neuroses and fragilities come to the fore. Reading these poses, I am also reminded of the great need to be kind to one another, that what appears on the surface is not necessarily what is going on within. We need to care about each other.
There are good days, and bad days. But our days are short - and the time we have to be together is limited. Let’s look out for each other, let’s make the most of our short days.
I read these posts and I see my son in all of them. He was so excited to join the Harvard community and we were so proud to send him off his freshman year. He took a few knocks his freshman year and fought hard to keep his self esteem when he didn’t perform as a superstar. We were proud. Sophomore year hit harder and as the days grew shorter, the depression rolled in like a fog. We saw it in November and got right to work getting services in place. The anti depressants aren’t working, seeing a therapist once every three weeks isn’t enough and we are too far away to help. As a parent I feel helpless to get my son the help he needs and I feel hopeless that anyone at Harvard will advocate for him or care at all about him. This kid worked really hard to get to Harvard. Our family works really hard to support him and pay for it all. I cry to think of all the wasted human potential. I cry when I read these posts. We need our best and brightest to feel like they have something to give. How can they help others if they can’t save themselves? It is like being on an airplane that loses pressure. You tell them to secure their oxygen masks before helping others. There aren’t enough oxygen masks, there isn’t enough oxygen. These kids are passing out everywhere and all we need is more oxygen so that they can fly the plane to new heights and take care of all the people on board. Right now, I would move heaven and earth to get my kid an oxygen mask. If only I knew how.
It’s amazing how much better I feel when the sun comes out. Seeing people talking and laughing in the yard really brightens my day, even when I am feeling tired and stressed. Every once in a while, I am reminded about how lucky I am—I take a step back and I can see how many amazing people are in my life and how many opportunities are available to me if I can just reach out and take them. When I am feeling at my lowest points, I try to remember the feeling of walking through the yard on a sunny day, of soaking up the sunshine and drinking iced tea…I feel truly blessed.
Today I didn’t cry. I woke up, got dressed and went to work. —-Painlessly—-. There are so many mornings were I dream life is done, and I am no longer at the mercy of the human infrastructure. I dream that I am dead and free. That my energy can be transferred to a different kind of being that does not abide by human rules. Like a flower, dancing on whips of wind - but then I wake to find that my pretty life was make believe, and I am back to the world I carve. There’s nothing wrong with thislife but I hate it. I hate this game of life. It is so superficial. Human beings are so selfish and blind. So apathetic and cruel. I cant help but cry… Tears that no one will see. To everyone, I am the happiest being they know. Truth is I don’t want them to see. The ones I let in and fall with me into this dark abyss. No one deserves this, so I’ll hide it until my life’s end. Usually, I feel all this, but today… today I feel better. Today, I am a little less empty and I can play the game… painlessly
I hate myself for being quiet, introvert and insecure. I want to change myself. I hoped that college would be a fresh start for me - that never happened. If anything, I became even more insecure. Every now and then the same questions keep popping up into my mind: am I making the best use of the opportunities available to me? am I good enough to be successful in the future? My friends kept saying that after a few months at Harvard they had come to stop thinking that the admission officers made the wrong choice accepting them - I never do. I hate the way I am. I want to change myself, but at the same time, I know I can never change who I am.
I was happy. I want to blame it on Harvard, but who am I kidding? It was all me. I thought I was smart, and I thought I was pretty too. 30 pounds and a shitty GPA later, and I went from the happy, carefree girl who came to Harvard, to the mess of one I am today. All everyone keeps asking me is, “What happened?” I wish to God I knew the answer.
I’m a failure. I’m an embarrassment to my family. My parents should be ashamed. My parents shouldn’t keep blindly supporting me and encouraging me and saying how proud they are - because I am not someone to be proud of. I am someone to look at and wonder what went wrong. I am someone people should sigh and shake their heads at, if not turn away in disgust. I am no one. I am nothing. I have the time and the network and the tools I need all at my fingertips and I curl up instead and try to say my favorite “I hate myself” but even to me, at this point, it seems fake and whining and I’m trying too hard and I just need to get myself fucking up and do my fucking work. Instead, I think I’ll lay here and dream about the future. Because I cannot stand the present. I need to disappear.
Now that I’ve turned in my thesis I don’t know what to do with my time anymore. I’m afraid that I will become depressed again and I hate that I feel like I need to be constantly busy and overscheduled to keep from being depressed.