Of Guilt and Last Chances

“Do understand that this would be your last chance. I’m giving you a year; if you don’t finish it by then, you’re on your own.”

Instead of a sweet good night; tonight, these were the words my father dropped on me. Such a nice way to end my day.

I couldn’t help but cry. With my parents watching their eldest daughter break down before their eyes. It was the last thing I wanted for them to see, but I can’t help myself. My inability to stay collected while having a serious discussion with my parents, and this time gravity (I really tried hard to blink back my tears, but it was in vain), worked against me.

I cried not because of what my father said. He has all the right to say such words. After all, it was he who provides for all my (and my family’s) needs and wants. He single-handedly kept five human beings alive. I, being one of them.

We are by no means rich. But still, he was able to send me to a good school. He sent me to a university without complaining about the cost. He had just one condition: to study hard and make use of our education, and be an independent individual. “Because,” he always says, “we (my parents) won’t be here forever to support you. You have to learn to stand on your own. Education is the only thing I can give you.” As (almost) always, he was right. However I think he’s wrong about that last part. He may deny it, but he has given us so much more than just education. I don’t like his humility sometimes. But, I digress.

Let it be known that I am not an only child. I have three other siblings, all of whom still depend on him. One is about to start college, one’s still in high school, and the eldest is currently taking up medicine.

And then there’s me: who’s still an undergrad college student; who, despite being in a four-year major, is still unfinished with her studies and is currently in her sixth year; who is currently on her third try of being an intern; who, instead of helping her father in the finance department (or in any aspect, really), is still being a burden to her family.

Yep, that female young adult is me.

Needless to say, my father is getting impatient with me. He’s getting fed up by my inability to just wing my studies like my other college friends did.

I don’t blame him. I am solely putting all the blame on myself. And well, on my demons depression and anxiety.

It comes down to it, now that I think about it. I struggled on my first try with internship because of my (social) anxiety. Having depression as well certainly didn’t help. My parents still don’t know about this; but there were times, on school nights, where I’d wish that I don’t wake up the next day. On some school mornings, I’d get up and stare into nothingness, wishing I was dead rather than having to go to school/rotation site. I’d pump my veins with various chemicals to get by; to forget reality even just for a while.

I can only shrug whenever my parents (especially my father) ask me why I couldn’t “just do it.”

Tonight, my father dropped the bomb. It didn’t surprise me, as I already knew his stand on my issue. He’s right; I can’t depend on him forever, and I’m certainly not the only one he’s sending to school. With the way the economy is going, it won’t take long before he’ll lose his job, and we would have to find other ways to get by. We may not be living luxuriously, but simple living still is expensive. We were lucky we could still eat three or four or five meals a day, and we could still afford some of our wants. Where education is a right to other countries, in a third-world country like the one I live in, it has (disappointingly) become a privilege only a few could afford. I consider myself lucky.

My luck however, as luck would have it, won’t stay with me forever. My father is getting old, and I do understand his concerns. He wants me to be independent as soon as possible. That sentiment I share with him. Only I couldn’t do it as fast as he would have liked. Curse depression and anxiety.

But I’m trying, I really am. I guess it just doesn’t show because tonight my father gave me an ultimatum: I’ll have a year to complete my requirements and to finally get out of college. Easier said than done. Any longer than that and I’ll be on my own, at least in this aspect of my life. After a year, he will no longer fund my education, should I need/want to continue my studies/internship.

In retrospect, I had seen it coming, him imposing sort of a deadline. It didn’t surprise me at all.

What took me by surprise, however, was the guilt that suddenly overwhelmed me as my father was explaining his decision.

I suddenly realized that I was being selfish for not graduating sooner, whether or not it was my fault. I’m past the blame game with depression and anxiety; but I couldn’t help but think that it was because I’m letting depression and anxiety ruin my life that now, even my family is suffering and it was because of me.

The wave of immense guilt made its way out of my eyes; and without a warning, tears flowed freely, wetting my cheeks.

I wasn’t able to hide the tears and hiccups from my father. Even if he did notice it, he did not say anything about it.

I’m guilty for dragging my family into my personal mess; and I guess it’s only right that my father dubbed this academic year my “last chance”. I was lucky I was even given one. He asked me what I would do differently to make sure that I’ll complete my studies, to make sure my last chance wouldn’t go to waste, but I could only shrug in response. My mind was still reeling with thoughts of guilt and ways to somehow hurt myself because I felt like I deserved it. My eyes were still blurry, and I wouldn’t be able to answer verbally anyway because of my lungs refusing to breathe air in and my throat closing in. Stupid noisy hiccups. (In a stupid attempt to somehow stifle the anxiety boiling over and to somehow calm myself down enough to stop my hands from shaking, I hastily popped 250mg of anti-depressant and 100mg of anti-psychotic pills. It’s only now, as I’m writing this, that I’m starting to feel the effects from od’ing on said medication. Eheh.)

I’m guilty of depression and anxiety; I’m guilty of being a good-for-nothing student; and now, I’m guilty of being a burden to my family.

I don’t know what this last chance would bring me, and what I would have to bring to the table myself. I don’t want to waste it, though. So I guess, that’s a good thought to start with. Kind of.

Jul20’15

-K

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4 thoughts on “Of Guilt and Last Chances

  1. I don’t know what I can tell you and if I can comfort you in any way. Please just remember: You didn’t ask for this and you didn’t chose your illness. Neither the depression, nor the anxiety.

    I can tell you this: No one who hasn’t gone through this knows what it’s like. I do hope that you can find strength in the knowledge that your parents love you. How is the therapy going?

    I wish you strength and all the best. I am sure that you will make it. Eat, sleep and drink enough water. Maybe studying can help you a bit. Maybe you can do it with the medication.

    Many, many hugs and lots of love.

    • Thank you, as always, Julia. I’m fine. I’m making progress with my studies, I think. Haha. Therapy’s on hold. I can’t contact my therapist as of the moment. But I’ll wait. 🙂

      How are you? 😀

      • I am so glad that you are able to study! I will keep my thumbs pressed for you and I hope that you can continue it soon and that it will do you good and help you to get out of this. You do sound a bit better, can that be?

        Today, I am really stressed for some reason – I still have no funding fore my dissertation and money is LOW (but I’ve got enough to live on so I shouldn’t complain really), so I handed in another application the day before yesterday. The weather has been weird in my part of the world and I don’t react too well to that, so I am taking it really slow today and do what does my soul good and I’ll be fine soon. 🙂

        Hugs to you!

      • I guess you could say that. 🙂
        I really do hope you get that funding! Research is so important, no matter what the study is about. It’s for posterity! 😀
        And well, I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself. I hope you get better soon! 🙂

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