I still remember the day I got the call that I was accepted into grad school. It was such a happy day. I had such high hopes for my future. I was so excited to finally interact with people who were understanding and shared the same interests as me.
And then six months later, I dropped out of grad school because someone (or multiple someones) reported my DID and my blog and all of a sudden, my abilities came into question.
I didn’t just lose my place in grad school that day, I lost my dream. My wish of becoming a counselor was ripped away from me, trampled on, shit on, and set on fire. All because I struggle with a mental illness.
From talking with others, I knew that going into the counseling field would be difficult for me. I could not be open about my DID, but that is impossible, considering my name is forever tied to DID through my professional writing. I didn’t feel like I should have to hide who I am, and unfortunately, many in the mental health field are not accepting of people with mental health issues themselves.
So instead of putting myself out there to be hurt again, I took a different route. I applied to different programs, still connected to psychology, but not focused on the counseling aspect. Quantitative psychology, neuropsychology, and experimental psychology – all programs that got my interest, and all programs that so many in the counseling field would never, ever consider because they find the science of psychology too difficult.
I have been stressing out for the last couple of months, worrying that I would not get into a program, and if I did, that I would not be able to start until next year. I found an experimental psychology program I really liked, contacted the head of the department and asked if he would still consider me for the fall semester (the deadline was already up months before). I scurried to get everything I needed in, rushed to take the GRE as soon as I could, wrote a different essay for each program I applied to, and waited the last few weeks with a tremendous amount of anxiety.
I got my acceptance letter just a few days ago, my first choice school and program. I’m starting in the Fall semester. I will even be working with my first choice mentor, conducting research in the area of affective neuroscience and environmental impact on emotional development. Basically, I will be focusing on the biological and environmental bases of emotion, and what causes emotions to “go wrong”.
Hopefully, no one will feel the need to use my diagnosis against me this time around.