A “Security Blanket” Letter

Tomorrow I’m going to the university administration for starting the transfer to the other degree programme – today I overslept, and their opening hours are restricted to a 90 minute window in the morning during summer break. I want to minimize the risk of running out of time, and waiting too long only makes me lose courage or the anxiety creep back in…
When I contacted the hospital concerning therapy last November, they wanted to know how I would like to handle this, and I asked them to proceed as quickly as possible, thus preventing second thoughts. And after all the examinations were done, they presented me with the choice between starting therapy immediately and waiting for the new year, and again I picked the quick start and had my first session a week before Christmas.
The bigger part of that motivation came from actual suffering – I just wanted to get better as quickly as possible – but there was a very real chance of me getting so scared or self-conscious that I’d convince myself they did not really want me and cancel the whole enterprise.
Besides, I told my therapist I could do it before our next session and intend to keep my word.

Back in February, my therapist wrote me a letter to show the university administration, so that I could be granted a sabbatical. I’m going to take this letter with me tomorrow again, as my “secret weapon”; if anyone’s going to give me a hard time, I’ll just show it to them:

Ms Layara is receiving our specific ambulatory psychotherapeutic treatment for chronic depression since 11/2010.

With chronic depression, there is no homogeneous field of symptoms. This term subsumes a group of affective disorders which are indicated in Ms L. by fear of punishment coupled with high demands on herself as well as depressive symptoms. The disorder begins – as with Ms L. – very often in adolescence (75% of all cases). Frequently the disorder influences the lives of those concerned significantly (reduced life expectancy, loss of a normal healthy life and occupational as well as social activity). Because of the documented course of Ms L.’s illness, her ability to study has been severely reduced in 2010 and it is not possible for Ms L. to attend classes or exams in spring 2011. From an iatric-medical point of view, the resumption of her university education is of outstanding importance for long-term stabilization – that is for maintenance of a meaningful perspective and for participation in society – from autumn 2011 on, when a stable partial remission has been achieved. From a physician-directed perspective, the treatment concept intends for a continual ambulatory psychotherapeutic care with the same practitioners at the [insert name] hospital throughout the studies.

Should you require further details, we are happy to be at your disposal at [insert phone number].

Back then, there was no talk of me going back to university – I only needed the sabbatical to save money (because I did not have to pay the full fee, but could keep my student-ID) and to buy me some time for attempting recovery. But several months later, it almost appears as if my therapist foresaw a scenario where I would actually do that.
In any case, this letter makes me feel a lot better. It invalidates a lot of criticism – criticism I might never face in reality and that only exists in my head, but it gives me the courage to actually show up in the office and ask for a new start…


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