In response to my post yesterday about rapid cycling, Marja suggested that perhaps I should have started back a bit more slowly. And it was a good recommendation. But what I realized last night was that my relapse was situational. At lunch, my son (who's starting the University of California at Berkeley next week; having been accepted for the spring semester), asked me how I decided upon my major and made subsequent career decisions.
As I was trying to explain what happened, I felt overwhelmed by sorrow (although I tried not to show it). As some of you know, I experienced my first depressive episode four weeks after I started Cal (the same school he's attending). And because I was a mid-semester graduate from high school (they did that in those days--at least in California), I began college in April (two quarters after the June graduation class had started). In those days, there was no freshman orientation for mid-semester students. With two quarters under their belts, it seemed like everyone else had made friends, shared common bonds, and learned to cope with common difficulties before my small class arrived.
While I begged my son (when he was accepted for January rather than September) to consider whether this was what he truly wanted (three other universities had accepted him in the fall), Cal was his first choice. In anticipation of a delayed start, we have set up some safeguards, visited the campus a few times, and he's got some people to talk with should he need help. They also have a welcome week.
But, still I am a nervous wreck (although I'm trying hard to mask it). As I send him forth, the horror of my first undiagnosed depression (which occurred 40 years ago) looms in the background. Although I thought I had made peace with it, it's clearly there--hidden beneath the surface and causing enormous emotional turmoil (which I'm working overtime to overcome) so that I can share his excitement and provide motherly support.