Withdraw

At 6 o’clock this morning, I submitted my official withdrawal from university.

I knew it was the right thing to do, but I still cried. And I cried again when I got the e-mail at 8 AM that my withdrawal was accepted.

It has been over a month and I still haven’t received an answer, and I just can’t wait around for a committee of people who don’t even know me to judge me based on a diagnosis and a few sentences out of my blog.

You know what? I’m hurt. I’m angry. I feel betrayed. I feel judged.

This wasn’t done out of concern for me. With the exception of one person (who I know did not write any anonymous reports), no one approached me about any concerns. Shit, no one even asked me if I was okay. A person who is genuinely concerned about someone will ASK that person, or at least make some attempt to talk to her. Genuinely concerned people don’t create fake e-mail addresses and send anonymous reports to the school, with links to my blog posts. That is not genuine concern. That, in simplest terms, is being an asshole.

You write extensively about your diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Your blog documents serious struggles with mental health issues that have raised significant concerns…

Yes. I have DID. And? I don’t have it written on my forehead. You wouldn’t know I had it from looking at me. I have chosen to be open about it because of the shame and stigma attached to the diagnosis, shame and stigma that I have been trying to fight against. And yes, I  struggle with mental health issues. Any person who has been through similar experiences has them, too. But I manage them as best I can. I work just to pay for therapy.

In the blog you write that you are “consistently suicidal”, and that you are “in school for something that I’m not even sure I can handle.”

Gosh, a person with DID who struggles with suicidal thoughts. Considering that more than 70% of people with DID have attempted suicide, this should not be a huge surprise. As I have explained in this post, there is a difference between feeling suicidal and being suicidal. No matter how I was feeling, I continued to go to work, I went to class, and I did what needed to be done because I knew they were just feelings.

And what student hasn’t had doubts? My whole life, I’ve excelled academically. I’ve never really failed at anything. But I would be lying if I said I never doubted my abilities. I am sure some level of self-doubt is completely normal. I would be more concerned about someone who had absolutely no self-doubt.

Due to the severity of this situation and the perceived threat to yourself and others, I am making a referral…to evaluate whether or not your circumstances impair your ability to safely continue in the program…

Perceived threat to yourself and others.  Wow. Okay. I am not a threat to myself. If I wanted to kill myself, I would have either stayed in home prison or I would have jumped in front of a train by now. I wouldn’t have gotten a job, enrolled in graduate school, started an organization, and I wouldn’t be going to therapy a few times a week to make myself better.

A threat to others? In what way? Because I have DID? A diagnosis does not make me a violent lunatic. What have I ever done to show that I have ever been a threat to others? I don’t hurt other people. I didn’t even hurt my abusers. I avoided all conflict and confrontation and ran away. I let them get away with everything, when other people would have hurt them for what they did. If I didn’t hurt the very people who caused me so much pain, who the hell would I hurt? Who am I a threat to? No one. The answer is no one.

So, despite getting As, having a 4.0 GPA, scoring higher than average on the CPCE before I even started the program, giving an outstanding presentation on the psychological effects of continued child abuse, and handing in consistently professional, high-quality work, I have had to drop out of graduate school.

I’d like to think this wasn’t because of fear, viciousness, or misunderstanding, but my heart tells me that it was.

To whoever reported me, I hope you are never put in a situation where your life is scrutinized.

I haven’t done anything wrong. I will continue to write. I will continue to fight. I should not have to prove my worth any more than I already do.

16 thoughts on “Withdraw

    1. I’m not going to stop writing. I feel like that is silencing me again, just like my family did throughout most of my life. Writing is my voice.

      Thank you for the support.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I, too, have often thought that I’m driven to write because of how I was muted, silenced and disempowered by my family (for me, my father in particular). This force within us to express who we are seems to have to be reckoned with. Take good care. A.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I still have a lot of difficulty speaking out loud, so writing is a necessary outlet for me. My mother never said anything about not writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Your story has made me so sad. I can’t believe you’ve been forced to drop out of graduate school because you’ve spoken out and been candid about your experience with DID. There’s not a lot that can be said outside of the obvious: that people are always afraid of something they don’t understand. And that’s not okay. I am also sending positive thoughts and support your way. Don’t give up.

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  2. Hi A,

    This is the first time that I’ve read your blog so I have much to catch up on. I am terribly sorry that you were on the receiving end of a university’s attempt at protecting themselves from a liability claim. Clearly their business and imagined legal ramifications are much more important than the well-being of their students. What’s crazy is I considered what would happen if someone in my department discovered my blog but honestly, I never thought that something like your current situation was exactly possible. Without reading other posts, I’m assuming your cohort is small-ish based on the reader’s decision to conceal their identity. I wish someone had reached out to you with concern and the willingness to understand. As long as you continue to write, I will keep listening. You shouldn’t be around folks that don’t care about you anyways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a considerably large program – though I had only been there one semester and didn’t get to meet many other students other than the ones in my classes, which were maybe 15 or 20 at best. I’ll never know who did it, or even if it was someone in the school, but I didn’t like how it was approached by the school, either. If I didn’t withdraw, I’m not sure I would have been comfortable being in a program for the next 3 years, constantly on guard and afraid to be myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I swear I need to not read messages late at night bc I fall asleep thinking I responded. Sorry, for the delay. Thanks for the clarification. I believe you truly did the right thing. You had no choice but to remove yourself from a toxic environment. There is no way that you could be comfortable in a program after that experience. Have you thought about what to do next career-wise as I’m assuming you didn’t attend grad school solely for intellectual stimulation.

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      2. Wait–i really need to spend more time sifting through your blog this weekend. Wth? A counseling program with people that lack empathy? Just great.

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      3. Great, I’m not alone! I have been having trouble sleeping so occasionally I’ll check out wordpress in themiddle of the night. The problem is if I have messages I forget to send my reply or I don’t remember having read anything at all!

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  3. I am so outraged that someone would do this to you. It does not feel like appropriate behavior from someone who is supposedly interested in becoming a therapist him/herself! I’m also disappointed in the university for choosing an ultra-cautious bureaucratic response, rather than a personal one.

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