And this is why I am still terrified every day: More on universities and suicide attempts

I found a post on the Student Doctor forum of a Clinical Psychology graduate student who faced disciplinary action due to a suicide attempt.

This is particularly scary to me because one way I try to help myself stress less about the idea of being outed and facing discrimination from my school is that I like to imagine that as a psychology graduate student I should now be in a position to better advocate for myself because I know more about the system. But the reality is I have zero guarantees that I would be able to protect myself against a bureaucratic system with an agenda. OP in the linked post brings up some good questions in his/her post regarding uncertainty of how this event impacts future applications to things like internship and post-doc.

I was “lucky”(if it’s possible to be lucky in how you are discriminated against) in that my school did not treat my leave as a disciplinary issue, but rather an involuntary medical withdrawal. My transcript has a missing semester. There is zero sign that i was withdrawn from classes that semester after the drop date. One of my graduate applications asked about gap in education and I agonized over what I was required to disclose. I settled on a honest minimalist matter of fact single sentence response that did not disclose my mental health history but did disclose that the gap was medical. I worried about whether someone would figure out what the gap meant and lower their opinion of me. It was scary to worry that one sentence I had to report over an act of discrimination from several years prior might impact my career.

The after effects of discriminatory actions schools take against student are tough to navigate. I have talked in this blog a lot about the emotional after effects my forced medical withdrawal had on me, but OP in the linked post also raises a lot of good questions about concrete issues to navigate about possibly being forced to disclose about the event on future applications.

Every time I see that this type of thing has happened to someone else I feel a terrible mush of anxiety and anger and sadness. I feel so powerless when I see it continue after this much time has passed. People like me have filed OCR complaints and won, but for every school that changes it’s policy in a positive way another 10 seems to change the policy in ways that punish treatment seeking.


Other posts on this topic from my blog can be found here:


I missed my appointment: A bad day

I missed therapy this week. I’ve never missed an appointment before without having canceled over 24 hours in advance. At my work I’m amazed to see how many people just skip or for whatever reason miss their therapy appointment and I’d never been one of those people before.

The appointment was a little later in the day than I had been usually traveling to Second-Closest-City. I was excited this meant I didn’t need to wake up at 5:30. Sleep is amazing. The extra two hours felt wonderful.

I was feeling great and well rested. I had a cute outfit on. I was wearing a scarf that’s been in my closet for ages, unworn, and I realized it would look nice with a certain sweater.

I was nervous because I only had a 20 minute window from when my train was scheduled to arrive in Second-Closest-City and when my appointment began. I figured if the train ran 10 minutes late I could take a cab and make it on time.

At the train station my train was listed as on time and I waited at the platform. And waited. And waited. 20 minutes past when my train was supposed to arrive and it wasn’t there. Then they announced a different train arriving on the track designated previously for my train.

I looked at my train schedule and saw that my train was so late that taking a later, but faster, more expensive train would get me there faster. This train was listed to arrive in a couple of minutes so I ran up to the ticket booth only to discover that train goes through the other local station, not the one I was at. I ran back down to the train platform. My original late train had just left without the station announcing its arrival.

There was no way I could made it in time so I left the station. Then I glanced at my schedule. If I could get to the other station in my city really quickly I could make it to the next super-fast train leaving that station. I hailed a taxi and asked if he could get me there in less than 10 minutes. Then in the cab I looked closer at the schedule.
This train is the most expensive option to get to Second-Closest-City. It costs $50. That’s more than 5x as much as the train I originally planned to take. And I realized that even this train would only get me to Second-Closest-City 5 minutes before the appointment. I was going to spend $50, plus the current cab fare, plus another cab fare and still be pretty late. This wasn’t working out.

So I gave up and asked the driver to take me instead to my apartment. I was crying the whole cab ride.

We arrive at my apartment and I say I’d like to pay with credit card. The driver says his machine isn’t working well, but that we can try. I try and it’s not working. He reboots the machine, still not working.
Some important information about credit cards and cabs in my city: They are not legally allowed to operate without a functioning credit card machine. This driver shouldn’t have been operating the cab if he knew it didn’t work.
I understand why cab drivers don’t like these machines. They take a percentage of the profit. I try to be understanding of this and pay in cash when possible, because it’s definitely not an ideal situation for them.
But this law is in place so that consumers can have standards of what to expect across all cabs in this city. I didn’t have cash with me, but the standard is that they take credit card. Had I known he couldn’t do this I’d have gone with another cab. I could have respected his flouting the law if he’d been upfront and definitely wouldn’t have reported him in that situation. I would have taken a different cab though.

I was looking around the cab for the medallion number but could not find it posted inside the cab. I told him I only had half of the fare in cash on me and that it is illegal for him to operate the cab without a credit card machine. I of course didn’t have a phone on me, because I’d forgotten it at home and couldn’t call anyone for help.
Then we drove to an ATM. I probably should have been more scared about being stuck in a car with a disagreement with a strange man, but I was so stressed out already that I was just really angry instead of scared.
I took some money out of the ATM while he waited in the cab. I tried to get out of the ATM’s little room. It was one of those rooms where you get in with your bank card and all that’s in there is the ATM. The door was stuck. I kept pushing and could not get out. I finally escaped by kicking the door really hard.

I snapped a photo of the cab’s medallion number posted outside the cab and threw the money on the front seat. I included a tip too. I have such a problem with people who don’t tip that I even included one for awful service.

I walked home from the ATM and called my Dad, crying my eyes out, as soon as I got inside. It took awhile for me to say anything he could understand. I told him what happened and asked him to call therapist #27 to explain. I was so upset. And I hardly know #27. I’m not comfortable leaving him a crying voicemail message.
My Dad told me he was really busy and had a conference call in a few minutes. He later expressed annoyance that I’d called his work phone instead of his personal phone, even though he’s told me it’s okay to use that one if I’m really upset and need to reach him. Because he was so busy he said he would delegate it to my Mom. “No,” I said. I didn’t want her talking to him. But he did it anyway and my Mom called #27.

I got myself composed just enough to report the cab driver to the police over the telephone.

I still hadn’t technically missed my appointment yet, but obviously I was going to, as I am unfortunately unable to teleport myself.

Eventually number #27 called me. I spaced my words out very slowly to avoid incomprehensible crying. I don’t know if he realized how upset I was. If he did he didn’t comment. I made an appointment for after the holidays. He commented on how it seems like I’m putting myself through an ordeal to get to Second-Closest-City. And that was it.

I sat grumpily in my apartment for awhile and eventually decided to go buy some food. I tried to get out of my apartment, but the latch on the door got stuck. I kept pushing really hard and it didn’t work. I couldn’t get out of my apartment. I called my Dad crying again. He said he’d call back later. I kept playing with the latch. I was trying to figure out if I should unscrew the whole thing from the door, but was unsure if that would make a bigger mess. Finally, I’m not sure how, the latch decided to open and I escaped to get food.

At this time it was only 12 noon. I was really thrown off by the morning and spent the rest of the day moping inside my apartment instead of doing any of the errands I needed to do.

The people I work with would have no idea that this is how I am. They’ve commented numerous times about how calm I seem. I don’t feel calm, but somehow I look it, to therapists.


Also Searches Answered Segment #2
Search term: “is sticking saftey pins in your arm self mulitation”
Answer: Sounds like a yes. It is self-injury. Unless maybe it’s some kind of artistic body-mod thing. But I think if you have to ask it’s a yes.