I left home at 18 years old to move to a city and go to medical school. I loved it then fucked it all up.
I did the first two years fine, even got distinctions in both the first and second year end of year exams, but then had a psychotic depression that completely derailed me. Dropped out of third year part way through and repeated and completed it. Completed fourth year though had some classes to make up. Started final year three times and couldn’t complete it and dropped out.
It was so long ago (I am in my forties now) but goddamn, it’s still so painful to think about. I never tell new people I meet about it and never bring the subject up with people who already know. Is it really fucking relevant to anything?! I suppose if it’s still so painful then it’s relevant to something.
I have a new friend who has a somewhat similar experience, except he actually made it and graduated and worked as a doctor for a while before his mental illness made him quit, and he keeps talking about it. Oh my fucking god, it kills me. He was talking about what happened to him and he casually said he had to leave medicine because he didn’t get enough support. It wasn’t some pained justification just said matter of factly like it was self-evident. He then implied that that was what had happened to me. I was absolutely astounded.
It had literally never occured to me that there was any other possible reason for me dropping out other than I just wasn’t good enough. Obviously I was pathetic and useless. I was given all these chances and I fucked them all up. Self-evident. That may well actually all be true (I bet it is) but there is a small part of my brain saying maybe there is more to it than that and I hear that and I am astounded again. This conversation happened a few days ago and I am still a bit dazed.
I always thought everyone agreed with me that it was self-evident that my failure was because I wasn’t good enough. Why would they question that? And my new friend just waltzes in and goes nope nope nope and my brain just stops. I realized later that night that my other friends don’t act like they agree with me (they are probably hiding their real beliefs in order to be kind to me though) which actually explains a few weird things I’ve noticed over the years. That small part of my brain then says what if they really, genuinely don’t agree with me and don’t think that and now I can’t stop crying. Hope is heady stuff but heads are seldom involved, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett. What if new people I meet don’t all assume that? God, what if my unquestioned assumption has been wrong for fifteen years. I actually don’t think I can withstand this line of thinking.
It doesn’t matter anyway as maybe I am not a terrible person for this but I am a terrible person for other reasons and I know for a fucking fact that I am right there. Absolutely right. I am irredeemably ruined and there is no hope for me. Heady hope meets hard, cold reality.