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Agon
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(Originally posted on: 09-19-10 10:41:10 AM)
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I wasn't sure if I was going to post about this or not, but I've been thinking about everything the past few days and figured, why not? I'm pretty comfortable with talking about it these days and I have a storied history of posting intimate e/n threads here. This is probably gonna be long so caveat emptor.

The past year of my life has been, without a doubt, the hardest, shittiest, and most profound.

Around the same time I started college, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis was terminal, although they figured he had a few years left. For the first couple of years I was in school, my dad was fine. You wouldn't have known anything was wrong with him. His health eventually started deteriorating, though, and by the spring of my junior year, he was getting weaker and spending more and more time staying in bed. Through all of this time, I managed to isolate myself emotionally from everything that was happening through a constant intake of drugs and alcohol. I eventually got hooked on speed.

During the fall of my senior year, I started applying to PhD programs in Philosophy. I was also working on an honors thesis under the supervision of my favorite professor. I managed to get my speed use under control to some degree, and was no longer staying up for days at a time and blowing all of my money on it. I had been dating a girl that I loved more than anyone for two years, but my drug use put a serious strain on our relationship. I was under a lot of stress, working harder than I ever had in college -- I took my GREs and did well, got all of my recommendations lined up, and basically got ready to pull the trigger on my apps.

In December, everything finally collapsed. I didn't have my writing sample ready, because I intended my thesis to be my sample, but it wouldn't be done until the spring. I tried to come up with something else but couldn't, and my professor told me that it would be better to wait until the following year and give my top choices my best effort. I was out a few hundred bucks on getting my scores sent out and had nothing to show for it, but them's the breaks.

I had been making a serious effort to talk to my dad more over the course of the fall. He was starting to be in really bad shape. I went home for Christmas and he seemed to be miserable but it didn't really strike me. I had just turned 21 a week before, my birthday was on a Saturday, and it was gonna be epic. But it got snowed out when we had that giant storm on the east coast. I spent Christmas night at a bar.

I went back to school to start winter RA training but about a week after I got back, I got a call from my mom that my dad was in the hospital. This had happened before but he always pulled through. My mom usually told me that I didn't have to come home, but this time she said that I should. She was hopeful that he was gonna be ok but something felt different about this time. I told my boss, who knew that my dad was sick but had never really asked about it beyond that.

I left and got home on January 7th. My girlfriend came with me. My sister got home from Alaska a day later. My dad died on January 9th, while my mom, my sister, and I were at home sleeping. It was the first time my mom had left my dad's side since he got admitted. His last words to me were the day before. The next several weeks are kind of blurry. It didn't really sink it for a while. The day that it happened, my girlfriend and I sat in my living room floor playing scrabble and watching Star Trek II. I didn't cry at the funeral. My girlfriend and I broke up the day before I went back to school, mutually. I will never forget that how she was there for me over those two weeks but we both knew that it was over.

Over the next several months, I started drinking heavily and having dangerously unsafe sex. I quit doing speed. I was under the most stress of my life, between trying to finish my last semester, my thesis, and work. I had somehow managed to be selected to chair the annual Reslife banquet planning committee and accepted the position. I did the most and best work of my life, both in school and my position as an RA, without speed for the first time in 2 years, while getting blackout drunk every night and crying myself to sleep. I was hitting the gym every day for the first time in my life and fucking someone new every week. I went to New Orleans for spring break and nearly lost one of my best friends because I fucked her and led her on about it, and spent $300 in bars over 3 days.

I nearly failed a gym class in April because I missed a month without realizing it. I thought the class had ended but it didn't. It was a graduation requirement. The instructor set up a meeting with me just to tell me that she was failing me. I left work early that day, went back to my apartment, and had a breakdown. All of the stress and emotion that I was bottling up overflowed and I laid in bed bawling for an hour or two. I called my ex and she came over and comforted me.

The next day I realized that I had to start going to therapy. I had yet to talk to anyone about what I was going through, although most of my friends knew what happened. To anyone looking in, it would have seemed like I was coping remarkably well. Too well, really.

Therapy helped a lot. I became more comfortable talking about my feeling and realized that I had nothing to be ashamed of. My gym instructor allowed me to make up my classes after I told her what I had been going through. This was a big breakthrough for me. This month was probably the hardest. I had the most stress because on top of everything, I had to deal with fucked up graduation stuff. I found out that I was missing one credit and had to write a letter of appeal so that I could walk. The banquet planning was coming to a head, my thesis was due in a couple weeks and only about halfway written, and I was actually dealing with my emotions for the first time. It's kind of hard to express how I felt at this time but essentially I thought I was going to explode with all of the stress and grief.

The banquet went off without a hitch and everyone thought that it was the best in years. My thesis got written (first time using speed in months), and several drafts later, 35 pages of obtuse technical philosophy. I walked at graduation and made up my credit with an online class in the following month, graduating officially in August. I now live in an awesome apartment and have a steady job as a locksmith, and will be looking at grad school again in the next month, applying for the Fall 2011. I still drink too much but less than before -- only weekends, really. I haven't used any drugs in a long time.
Agon
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Reply 1 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-19-10 10:41:39 AM)
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Looking back: It was really hard for me to use my friends as a support network, because I had to re-learn how to do it, plus I had never really needed a support network before. I had given up the one person who I could actually talk to about my feelings and it was really hard for me to open up to my friends about it. Therapy helped with that because I learned that I could actually put myself out there with people. It was hard because no one really understood what I was going through.

Losing a parent was the most profound sadness I have ever felt. I didnít know how much I loved my dad until he was gone. It was like my entire world got turned upside down. Imagine if you walked outside one day and up was somehow down. A fact of your life that youíve known since you were born just turned entirely around one day. Iíve grown a lot closer to my mom than I have ever been and call her just to talk a few times a week. Iím softer around the edges than I used to be, and more empathetic. Iíve grown up a lot since January. I know what Iím capable of now, which is a lot.

This year has been so hard but I feel like a piece of coal that got put under a million pounds of pressure and turned into a diamond. Things are actually looking up. I only started dealing with the feelings from the fallout of my relationship in the summer, when things died down. Iím still a little lonely for love but Iím doing pretty well these days. I am definitely my fatherís son. I donít think I can really put into words all of the emotional stuff that would actually make my story interesting but I wanted to commission one of my friends to paint an image of someone with rainbows shooting out of their mouth in every direction. Thatís how I felt. Not really sure why I posted this but here it is. Let me know if I can clarify anything, itís kinda hard to put everything down linearly.
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Reply 2 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-19-10 11:06:41 AM)
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Let me get this straight; you spent 4 years of time and a ton of money to get a undergraduate degree in philosophy to then turn around and get a job as a locksmith? This is the type of fraud I was talking about in SD when it comes to the modern education system.
A witty saying proves nothing - Voltaire

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Agon
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when i finish my cut in a few months i'll show you my shiny new abs.

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Reply 3 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-19-10 11:14:47 AM)
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lol
Wandering Idiot
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Surely something dumber has come up since my apparent forgetfulness for STDs and doctor visits.

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Reply 4 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-20-10 09:20:07 PM)
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Speed isn't really a philosophical drug. Don't get me wrong, it's great for keeping the apartment clean and going a week without sleeping, but someone should have turned you onto weed a long, long time ago. Just an observation.

But seriously, it sucks that you had to go through all of that. We all have rough patches though, just a matter of when and how you come to terms with them.
Too lazy to reply properly.
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Reply 5 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-21-10 06:59:18 AM)
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I know what you went through. My dad died of cancer when I was a freshman in college. If you need to talk to someone who went through something similar you can pm me or whatever. I know I'm just some dude on the internet but the fact that I'm not close to you could help as well (who knows?).

If not don't worry about it. Glad to hear you sort of got your shit together.
Ztolk
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Rawr.

definitely threw the blue lego

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Reply 6 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-21-10 06:45:27 PM)
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What was your thesis about?
"you look bigger on facebook"
-Amphy
Nickolati
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Reply 7 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-22-10 10:02:45 AM)
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Often times we have to completely lose ourselves in a fit of irresponsibility to really find ourselves. Some people do it with substances, and other people turn to different vices.

Now that you know who you are, you have nothing stopping you.
Agon
Vodka and Lip Gloss
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when i finish my cut in a few months i'll show you my shiny new abs.

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Reply 8 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-22-10 03:40:13 PM)
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Hey, thanks for the support guys.

FYI, I did smoke weed daily for about 2 years. I only started doing tons of speed after I quit, and I only quit because I started to get really neurotic and sketched out all the time.

My thesis was titled, A Survey of Contemporary Views in Philosophy Regarding Mental Causation, OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Non-reductive Physicalism. Basically, it was about the contemporary problem of mental causation, which is the issue of how to explain the causal interaction of mental events (beliefs, desires, etc) with the neurochemical events that take place in your brain.
jimmy
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Reply 9 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-22-10 04:36:24 PM)
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I wish people would stop using the Dr. Strangelove angle in their subtitles. Seriously, it's played out.

edit:

examples - http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=%22how+i+learned+to+stop+worrying%22&btnG=Search&as_sdt=4000&as_ylo=&as_vis=0
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Reply 10 of 10 (Originally posted on: 09-23-10 01:45:37 AM)
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Condolences on the loss of your father. Losing someone that close while going through the insanity of college life must've been retarded stressful. Yet you pulled through and succeeded. Not everybody could've made it, so congrats.

How did you get into speed in the first place? Was it somebody at school who was all "Hey, this'll help with homework!"
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