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bipolar student (me) / lack of family support


lizardclan

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Dear friends,

 

I was wondering if anyone else is in a similar boat.

 

I've applied to a PhD program without telling my family, and don't expect family support if I'm accepted.

 

I already have a BS and MS, and the highest education my immediate family has completed is high school.

 

My mother will complain that I'll "have another breakdown."  My father would be supportive if it wasn't school.  My entire family thinks I'm over-educated already.  My dad would like to see me get off the disability roster since his tax dollars pay my disability every month.

 

Supposedly, there's no family history of mental illness, but a lot of my family is under the care of psychiatrists, too, or they self-medicate with alcohol, or both.

 

I have a nice apartment which I can afford since I qualify for Affordable Housing administered by the IRS.  My family will complain:  "how can you leave your nice apartment?!"

 

And I have a collection of crappy furniture that I can't leave behind either.  My on-campus apartment will be fully-furnished.

 

I've tried to work out the details.  I don't have a car, but I do have a driver's license.  In the worst case, I can rent a 9-foot U-Haul cargo van for a one-way trip of about 60 miles for less than $200.

 

Everything should pack up in less than 20 boxes, and a few bags of clothes and stuff, and small pieces of furniture (I'm leaving the big pieces of furniture behind).

 

Sleepless in Pasadena,

-lizardclan

 

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I have a crazy family, too. Good for you for continuing your education and doing what's best for you. In my experience, unsupportive people will be unsupportive no matter what you do, so you might as well take care of yourself.

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Your dad is mad you're on disability because his tax dollars go to it? Yikes.

Agreed with above posters. Unsupportive people will never be happy for others. Do what is best for you. You're obviously very capable, I'm sure you'll find a way to get through this like your other education. :)

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A friend has volunteered her car for me to make my move from Pasadena, CA to Riverside, CA.

Cheer!

She made her move from San Francisco, CA to Pasadena, CA in the same hatchback, including two cats.

My goal now is to make my move in one trip.

So I'll be leaving small and big furniture behind. My on-campus apartment will be fully-furnished.

I'm grandpa-sitting my 98-year-old grandpa this weekend, but when I return home I have more Spring cleaning to do.

Thanks all for the replies,

-lizardclan

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Hey lizardclan, I really appreciate your bravery in posting about this, you are totally doing the right thing by following your gut here! I'm in a similar but different situation. I've been diagnosed variously with depression/anxiety/bipolar II, with some (genetically passed down) addiction issues thrown in to make things fun, but I come from a highly highly educated and professionalized family who are verbally supportive but basically just look at my artistic aspirations with a sad, tiny smile. I've been working in visual and performing art for almost ten years now, and I have a MFA, but I want very much to focus more on my writing about culture, so I'm going for a PhD, with two (somewhat) tentative applications out now. My parents could not be more relieved, as they basically feel that I have a better chance of surviving within an institution than on my own out here in LA. However, being on the grad cafe forums has convinced me my chances are nonexistent. my educational background feels impressive to me, but it's just not looking "academic" enough. It would take a "fit" miracle for me to get in either place - and even though I personally want to pursue doctoral study very much, I am now even more terrified of disappointing my folks..... not to mention the fact that the schools are back east where they live, so I've already kind of agreed to move back in with them if I don't get in this round haha :( wah-wah....

 

I know it's a different field, but I had friends who LOVED studying art at UCR! you'll do great there! just take lots of trips to palm springs or the salton sea when you need a break :)

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Kadel, I so hope you get into one of your programs! Please post here, whether you succeed or fail. I will, too.

I'm bipolar 1, so I'm on heavy duty medication. Just wanted to state that for the record.

I have trouble with mania. On a positive note, I can get an enormous amount of work done in a very short period of time.

Best,

-lizardclan

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I am fortunate to have a supportive family, but we are similar in that I have bipolar 1 and am a first-generation college graduate who is seeking further education. I'm in the middle of finding the right medication now; I was just diagnosed (properly) in August last year. I'm so sorry that you don't have a strong support network and I think you're certainly doing the right thing in following your dreams. Just remember to practice self care. I'm sure your goals are within your reach and that wherever you end up going to school will have a disabilities services department and counselors who can assist you in building the support network that is lacking. Best of luck!  :)

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I feel your pain. The highest level of education either of my parents have obtained is high school (one dropped out in grade 11), and when it comes to furthering my education, they have never been supportive. I'm currently in my first year of a masters degree and intend to go for a PhD when I'm done. Don't let anyone hold you back when it comes to your dreams and what you want to do.

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