Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Greetings From Not-So-Sunny California!

 Hi everyone! I suddenly and without warning decided to go to California with my mom, to visit my brother and his girlfriend, who just had a new baby. My very first nephew. In this blog, I am going to call him Squeak. So if I mention "Squeak," I am talking about my brand new nephew, and not about a mouse.
Squeak lives with his parents in a cabin in a small northern California town. My brother has lived in this town for the past ten years or so. When he was 18 he left home and traveled the country with his friends, at the time sporting dreadlocks and following the Rainbow Trail or whatever they call it. One time he came to visit me while I was living in Colorado, as he was passing through, but he couldn't stay long because the van he was traveling in was broken, and if they put it in park it would die, so his friends had to just keep driving in circles around the Wal-Mart parking lot while I had a very short visit with my bro. Later that same year, when he was sharing a house with some friends about four hours from where I was living, I took the Greyhound bus to visit him over Thanksgiving, and I spent the weekend hanging out in the attic with him and his friends. Even later, after he moved to California, I took the Greyhound bus across the country two summers in a row, to spend a month with my brother. We hung around in hamocks, went to Reggae On The River and slept under the stars, swam in rivers, and hitchhiked around the town with his dog, (It was on one of those trips that I got my foot run over by an SUV, an experience I am very proud of to this day!)
Since then my brother has settled down a lot, but he still lives in the little California town where my foot got run over. He spins his way home every so often. Years have gone by without my seeing my brother. Then he'll show up for a short visit, over which he spends most of his time hanging out with his friends who still live in our city. Once when he had a serious girlfriend, he brought her home to meet us. He brought his dog, my very favorite pitbull. I liked the girl a lot. She was nice to me and she played the Ungame with me, winning my undying loyalty. But they didn't last, they broke up, and for another few years my brother had no reason to come back.
In this past year, I have seen more of my brother than I have seen in the previous ten years before. In December he and his girlfriend spent a week with my parents and I in Hawaii. In March he and his girlfriend spent a few days with us. And now my mom and I are spending a weekend here. The reason for this increase in visits is, of course, Squeak! When my brother found out he was going to be a dad, he wanted to see more of us and have us get to know the mother of his baby.
So now I've met little Squeak. But on Tuesday I have to go home, and leave him here, and who knows when I'll see him, or my brother, or Squeak's mom, again?
My dad was never extremely close to his family. Growing up, I knew I had a Grandpa in Florida and an aunt in Oregon, which I thought was called Organ, and a handful of cousins. I saw my Grandpa once a year when he visited us, and I loved him a lot, but he was a mysterious person, a special visitor, a much anticipated guest... unlike my maternal grandparents, who were basically helping to raise us and whose house felt more like home to me than my own childhood home ever did. I knew my aunt and cousins existed, but I never met them in person until I was about eight years old, and even then I only saw them a handful of times throughout my life.
I don't want to be that to Squeak! I don't want him to grow up thinking of his Aunt Angel as a photo in a book, or a voice on the phone.
And there are other things. There are things I'm worrying about that I can't say right now. And while I want to be in Squeak's life, I also wish my brother was in my life. I wish I could see him and spend time with him. I wish he would just come home and be my brother.
But he's happy in California, and this is where he wants to raise Squeak. And in two days I have to go home. And I am lonely, because my brother has his girlfriend and his Squeak and a whole bunch of friends, but I don't have friends, and I don't have Squeak, and I don't have my brother. And I am sad.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Sadness And Baby Birds

I keep feeling sad lately for no particular reason. Its a weird sadness that sneaks up behind me when I am least suspecting... not overwhelming sadness but just sort of emptiness, like a cold, damp, cave. I really don't know why. Work keeps me distracted, and the little boy I work with keeps me laughing... at least when he's not driving me crazy! Being outside in the sun makes me feel a little better too, so I try to spend a lot of time out there, but you run out of things to do in your backyard. When I come back inside, I feel like the darkness is closing in on me! 

Maybe just bored and lonely, I guess. And antsy. When I get depressed, sometimes all I want to do is sleep, but other times it is hard for me to sit still! The trouble standing still is probably kind of a sensory thing... I start feeling like I'm out of my skin, and I have to jump up and down a few times so I can feel the gravity pushing me back together. 

There are baby birds living in the birdhouse in my backyard. Usually when I peer into the door, I can see five little beaks wide open, squawking at me. But today when I looked in, the five little beaks were closed and still. I was afraid they were dead! I was telling them, "Wake up, little birds, wake up!" They didn't move. But after I walked away, I heard them tweeting, and I saw their mom come and feed them. So I guess they were just playing possum! 

I went out and took a picture of them earlier today, and they were squawking again. I hope I didn't blind them with the flash on my phone! (They didn't seem disturbed. I'm pretty sure their eyes are closed anyways.)

I am still sad, but baby birds make me feel just a little better! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Summer Bucket List

Hi everyone! I am excited to realize that I have only eleven more days of work. (Not including weekends.) Summer is in the future! My summer isn't completely wide open, since I'm going to be working in a summer school program for at least five weeks of it. But since this winter was long and dull, I want to make sure to have a great summer and live life to the fullest! At least I want to try. Sometimes I make such big plans, and then anxiety gets in the way. But here are the things I want to at least try to do...

1. Go to Six Flags a lot! I have a season pass. Anyone want to go with? Who likes roller coasters? I have the hardest time finding people to go with me, because everyone is either scared of roller coasters or claims to be too old. My 11-year-old little cousin puts you all to shame because she's been on almost every roller coaster with me! 

2. Keep working on my Zombie Run. Which I have been sorely neglecting, mostly because I almost always forget my shoes, my shorts, my headphones, or I forget to charge my phone, and if I go home to get those things and I see my dogs in the process I just don't want to go out again!

3. Go to the beach. 

4. Go camping. 

5. Visit the Museum of Science And Industry. Even though whenever I say I want to go, my mom says, "What are you, six years old?" 

6. Grow a garden.

7. Go to Wisconsin with my family. Which I am already going to do for sure, because it's on the calendar or anything, so this isn't something I have to really work at. I kind of just have to get in the car at the right time!

8. Make some tie-dyes. I used to do this every summer but I haven't done it in a while. 

9. Go to Pow-Wows. I went to two last year and I want to go to more this year. Shut up. They're fun. Also I really like fry bread. 

10. Go to California to visit my newborn nephew Freddy, who is being born sometime today or tomorrow. I'm not sure how I'll manage this one, due to time constrictions, but I'm going to try!

What else should I add to my summer list? I've been looking for ideas, but all I'm finding is ideas for little kids, and things like, "make lemonade," which I could technically do any time at all and not just in the summer. So, give me some ideas... what's on your Summer Bucket List?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Angel Needs....

This picture has nothing to do with this blog
entry, but I really like it!
 I haven't updated this blog in a while, and I wanted to, but I couldn't think of a whole lot to write about. Not enough to, like, require a blog post. I could offer a series of disconnected sentences and ideas, if you'd like. For instance, my brother's girlfriend is about to give birth to my very first nephew. The baby is expected to swim out at any time now. (They're having a water birth.) I am excited, but also sad, because there is about ninety states between me and that baby, and I am not going to get a chance to see him any time soon. But I try not to think about that...

Anyways, there is a meme I used to like to do on my other blogs from time to time, and I thought I would do it now, just for fun! You go to Google (or your very favorite search engine of your choice) and enter your name, plus "needs." So, I would type in, "Angel needs" and see what I come up with. Here is what appeared when I did it!

Angel needs a ride.

Angel needs wings.

Angel needs a home.

Angel needs freedom.

Angel needs to say prayers.

Angel needs a headstone.

Angel needs a tree.

Angel needs wisdom.

Angel needs medical care.

Angel needs serious counseling.

Angel needs some HC jingles.

Angel needs to read Chapter 1.

Angel needs a blog.

Angel needs votes.

Kinda fun, right? Some of them can actually seem deep and meaningful. Others are just weird. Try it with your own name and see what you come up with!

And now you know what I do on Friday nights! (Angel needs a life!)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dogs Are The Best Medicine!

I don't know if you've ever noticed this about me, but I really love dogs.

Something weird about me is, I didn't always love dogs. I was actually scared of dogs up until I was about 8 years old. I'm not really sure why, but this is as much as I can remember... When I was little I had very sensitive ears, and I hated any loud noises. I couldn't stand airplanes going overhead, firetrucks or ambulances going by, fireworks, loud music, etc. I would scream and cry and cover my ears because it hurt!

I didn't know many people who had dogs. The first dog I was ever exposed to was probably my Grandma's Boston Terrier, Terry. She barked a lot! The barking was loud! So I would scream and cry and cover my ears! That would just make the problem worse. Any time I was around a dog who barked a lot, this was what happened. A lot of times, people would say something like, "It's okay, he won't bite." So, not only were these furry creatures painful to my ears, but they could also potentially bite me? As I got older, this turned into a real fear of dogs, not just of their barking.

My fear of dogs was made worse by hearing stories of people getting bitten or chased by dogs. One day while I was at school, my mom was taking my little brother for a walk around the neighborhood. We lived in kind of a weird neighborhood and people didn't necessary have sweet, gentle pet dogs. A large black lab jumped over a fence and started to go after my mom and brother. My mom picked up my brother and ran to someone's front porch for safety. She used to tell this story all the time, so I started to live in fear that a large dog would chase me down the street and possibly bite me. I also saw a snippet of a movie where a dog with rabies took a very large chunk out of a girl's arm. I thought that was what every dog bite would be like.

The weird thing is, if I was around dogs who were quiet and not barking, I was fine. I remember when I was around six or seven, a neighbor's dog had puppies, and we went to see them. I was sitting on the driveway playing with the puppies, and one crawled into my lap and fell asleep. I sat there forever petting the sleeping puppy, long after the other kids lost interest and went off to play!

When I was about nine, we spontaneously got a dog. My dad, for some reason, had stopped at a local shelter on his way home from work, and he'd fallen in love with a sweet, shy black and white puppy. He came home and convinced my mom that we needed to go get that dog. She had been abused, and she was terribly shy. We had to sit on the floor and be really quiet in order for her to come near enough for us to pet her! For a while even after we adopted her, she was so shy, she had to be coaxed to come near us. Even after she grew to love us, she still had memories of being abused. She was afraid of strangers, and when visitors came to our house, our dog would hide under the couch and bark! She would especially growl and bark at men with glasses, leading us to think that this was what the person who had abused her looked like. Taking care of this helpless puppy who had been hurt by someone, helped me to get over my fear of dogs. Within a year, I completely loved dogs and wanted to be near them whenever possible! I even loved my neighbor's rottweilers!
Our first puppy, Zip, was best friends with our parakeet! 

I have been a dog lover ever since then, and my love for dogs has only grown! (I do love cats, too... all animals really, to be fair... but I have always had more dogs in my life than cats.) Besides having my own two dogs, I volunteer at an animal rescue organization. On Saturdays I walk around the pet store with a dog, trying to find people interested in adopting him or her. It is my favorite day of the week, because I can spend time with lots of dogs and with people who love dogs as much as I do. 

You know how I've mentioned before that I have trouble talking to new people and being in social situations? If you ever meet me for the first time, and you want to talk to me, the best way to make me feel comfortable is to talk about dogs. I can talk, and listen,  forever about dogs! I love to hear about the dogs people have, how they got them, stories about them, etc. When some people tell me that they don't really like dogs, I feel a little weird around them. 

This is Squeaker, aka "Gringo" (yeah, kind of embarrassing name) is an 8 month old puppy who was found as a stray. 

This is Squeaker's friend, Strawberry Shortcake. She was also found as a stray. We discovered that someone had her "debarked!" She can't bark any more... she just opens and closes her mouth, but nothing comes out! 

This is Napa, a sweet pitbull puppy who came through the animal rescue organization where I volunteer. (She was quickly adopted.) She had been taken out of an apartment in the city. Her former "owners" had beaten her, starved her, and burned her with cigarettes. You can see that little dent on her head is one of the bigger scars left over from cigarette burns. You can see under her pink sweater how bony she was at that time, from not being fed. All she wanted to do was cuddle and be loved! 

I don't exactly know what the point of this post is, except to tell you one of the biggest and most important things about me... I really love and care about dogs. A lot of people with Aspergers have an "obsession," something they think about and talk about a whole lot. I guess dogs are my obsession! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beware Of Humans

Whenever I stop being sad about essentially being fired from my job, I kinda have to laugh! One of the things   that was on my performance review was, well you know how they have a list of characteristics or job functions, and they can mark Average, Above Average, and Needs Improvement? One of the things was, "Forms positive human relationships." And I got "Needs Improvement" on that. You have to laugh at that, right? At least, I do! I guess they're sort of right. Humans freak me out. I'd much prefer dogs. With a dog, they either love you, or they're scared of you. I don't think dogs feel hate, although some dogs feel aggression. And you can always tell what they're feeling. Dogs, like me, wear their hearts on their sleeves! At least, they would, if they owned sleeves.

I'm still doing my Zombie Runs every other day. I stopped for about a week because my mom wanted to do it with me but she kept on having scheduling conflicts and so we only got around to it once. Yesterday I got back into it. I was supposed to go to a Meetup with a social group I joined... they were going to take a walk around the lake at a park. I decided to get there an hour early and do my Zombie thing. I am up to running for thirty seconds at a stretch now! Impressive, huh? So afterwards I met the group of people. I had never met them before. It was a little unnerving. They seemed a little Aspergersy. Which I shouldn't be bothered by, because I, too, am Aspergersy... but I am used to being the only Aspergersy one in the group so it is odd for me to be around a whole bunch of people who are as odd as me! I get a taste of my own medicine, I guess. This wasn't even a group for people with Aspergers, and I don't even know if all these people had it, but I'm just saying they reminded me of people who might have it. One guy kept quoting Family Guy and The Simpsons and talking about comic books. On the other hand, I may have drove another guy a little crazy by telling him facts about animals the whole time! (This particular guy was a lot younger than me, but he walked and talked with me the whole time, and actually seemed interested in what I was saying... and he also  gave me a new fact that certain animals in Alaska and the North Pole have so much vitamin A in their livers that, if you ate their livers, you would get poisoned. He also came up with an idea for inventing a squirt gun filled with poisoned honey to shoot at bees when they've invaded your house, because he was talking about someone whose summer house was infested with 6,000 bees. And now that I think of it, I'm not sure that would work, because I think bees make honey but I don't think they're actually attracted by it. But, at any rate, he was either just as odd as me, or he was faking interest to be nice!)

The moral of this story is, humans are hard people to get along with. They are tough nuts to crack. But on a more positive note, someone at my work randomly told me I look like I'm losing weight. So I guess my Zombie Runs must be working!

Uh... I have to go walk my dogs now before they bite me.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Got The Blues, Part Two

 Okay, in my last post I started to say that I thought I was going through some sort of low grade depression... but then I spent the whole post explaining one of my more severe episodes of depression from the past.
So anyway... like I said in that post, being on meds allows you to feel sadness, but helps you avoid the kind of depression that knocks you to the ground.
Right now I feel like, if I wasn't on meds, I would be going through severe depression. Even with the meds, I feel like something is wrong. I almost always have this aching feeling inside, like I feel sad and empty and I don't know why. It is weird because when I'm busy I will feel fine, but then the minute I slow down or have nothing to keep me occupied, that achiness sneaks up on  me.
I don't know if I told you this before, but I have been working as a teacher's aide this year. I did get my special ed teaching degree a year ago, but I was unable to find a teaching job, so I took an aide job. The job is at a regular education school, as a 1:1 for a first grader who has special needs. He spends part of the day in a regular first grade class, and part of the day in a self-contained special ed class. I basically stay with him all day long.
The kid, whom I will call "Taz," has severe ADHD. I mean, this little dude literally cannot stand still. He is loud and boisterous. He also has learning difficulties, which may be caused by a learning disability or even an intellectual disability, and may be caused by the fact that he spent the first six years of his life being raised by his drug addicted parents, witnessing domestic violence, and getting very little stimulation. But he is almost always happy! He bounces into school each morning with a big smile on his face, hugging and high fiving everyone he sees. He loves school and asks how come we can't sleep there. He attacks his free, government issued bagged lunch... typically a dry sandwich, a few shribbled up carrots, and a small cup of grape juice... with as much gusto as if it were a Happy Meal. He thinks everyone he sees is his friend. He is so proud of everything he's able to learn. Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. are his heroes. He says he's going to be the President when he grows up.
When I was going through teacher training, including observations and student teaching, and even before that when I was working as an aide in a special education school, and even before that when I was working at a therapeutic learning center for preschoolers with behavior disorder, I was taught to keep things as positive as possible with kids. Be kind and understanding, and help kids learn to make good choices on their own. Choose your battles. Find out how a kid learns best, and use that information to help him learn... even if that means he jumps on a mini trampoline while reading flash cards, or standing up at his desk instead of sitting! Reserve your "angry voice" for the times when you really need it. In all of the places I worked, observed, or student taught, I barely ever saw a teacher raise her voice to a kid.
So then I came to this school where I work at now. They gave me Taz. I started working with him the way I'd always worked with kids, the way I'd been trained to work with kids. But it wasn't going well. It turned out that this was a very traditional school, with teachers who prided themselves on teaching in the same ways that they'd been teaching for the past thirty years. There was a huge emphasis on getting everyone to be quiet, and sit still, and do the same things at the same times in the same ways. Kids who deviated from the plan were really disliked by the teachers. A kid would talk without raising his hand, and the teacher would glare at him. As you can expect, Taz got glared at a lot, and yelled at a lot.
Every time Taz would commit some sort of infraction, someone would step in and yell at him, before I could do anything. Often I wouldn't even notice that Taz had done anything wrong. For instance one day he was walking from his locker to the classroom, and kind of bopping himself in the head with his "Take Home" folder as he walked. That didn't even register on my radar. It seemed to me like the kind of goofy, unconscious thing that just about any little kid I'd ever met might have done. But a teacher stepped in front of him and snapped, "Oh, no, young man. That is not what you do. You go back right now and do that over." As Taz retreated to his locker, to walk back to the classroom without moving his folder, the teacher turned to me and said, "You need to be firmer with him."
It seemed like every staff member in the school knew Taz and wanted to try their hand at disciplining him. Taz often danced when he walked. Nothing fancy, just kind of with a bounce in his step. And as we walked down the halls, random teachers from other grade levels would stop us so they could tell Taz, "Oh no, that is not how you walk. You walk the correct way, right now."
Once , Taz got in a shoving match with another kid. But just as I was stepping in to separate the boys, the recess supervisor literally shoved me out of the way, so she could grab Taz and shout at him.
Another time, a teacher's aide who was a 1:1 for another little boy took me aside and told me, "You are too nice to him. He won't learn anything from that. You know, a lot of teachers even say, don't smile until Christmas, because if you're too nice, the kids won't respect you."
One day Taz's teacher presented me with a laminated list entitled "Rules For Working With Taz." The list included things like, "Don't give him so much praise. He needs to know that good behavior is expected, not appreciated." And "Avoid engaging in conversation with Taz. When he completes his work, he can earn a five minute conversation with a teacher as a reward."
Each day, my heart crumbled a little bit more, as I was told in one way or another that I wasn't doing a good job with Taz. I started hating to go to work. I started missing days for minor illnesses, despite the fact that I had never missed a day of student teaching and had barely ever missed days of my other jobs working with kids.
Truthfully, the other "regular" first graders weren't a whole lot better behaved than Taz was. The teachers shouted at the kids constantly, so much that the kids seemed to tune it out. Being yelled at would quiet them down for a few minutes, but then they'd go right back to what they were doing. When they were in "specials" like gym and music, which had teachers who were a little more reluctant to raise their voices, the kids were uncontrollable.
Finally, there came the day for my "annual review", the principal's big chance to tell me what he really thought. In as polite a way as possible, the principal told me that the teachers I worked with said I didn't have behavior management skills. He told me that I shouldn't work with children with behavior problems. That I should probably look for a job working with children who were "profoundly autistic" instead. That he understood that being kind and compassionate was in my nature, and that my personality would probably work better with kids who had very severe disabilities. (First of all, was this supposed to mean that children who were "profoundly autistic" or "severely disabled" had no behavioral issues? But that is a conversation for another day.) I had already gotten a RIF notice, which all first year staff members get. However, the principal told me that he was putting "employment will not be continued" on my annual review form. This was different from being RIFed, he explained, because it meant, if another job were available next school year, I would still not be hired back.
So... basically I'm allowed to finish off the school year, but then I'm fired.
I've never been fired before. I've never been told I'm no good at working with kids before.
I am seeing the signs of depression in myself. I'm seeing myself not being interested in the things I usually love. I haven't even been able to muster up the motivation to do much work with Tori Joy's Smiles, my labor of love, lately. The only thing that has captured my interest has been my dogs, and my volunteer job helping rescue dogs find homes. Dogs are therapeutic to me. Right now, they're the only thing keeping me going.

Got The Blues, Part One

 I am pretty sure I am going through some sort of low grade depression right now.
 I have lived with pretty bad depression on and off for most of my life, and I'm on meds for it. Actually right now I am on double meds for it, because I am on Celexa for depression, but I'm also on Wellbutrin for ADHD, and Wellbutrin is meant to help treat depression as well.
A lot of people think that when you take depression meds you're just escaping from your own emotions, and that being sad once in a while is natural. But the thing is when you're on meds you will still feel sad when it is natural, but the sadness won't knock you down and make it impossible to pick yourself back up.
Here's a good example of this: When I was 21 I moved across the country to spend a year in AmeriCorps. I've always had trouble with saying goodbye, and when I first moved out there I felt really homesick at first. The first day, I cried, but then I went out and explored my new town a little, went back home and called my mom, spent some time wit my new roommate, and felt better. By the end of the week I was really in the swing of things. I still missed home, but I was able to enjoy my experiences in my new town. At that time, I was on medication for depression. I felt sad at a time that was natural to feel sad, but then I was able to pick myself back up and move on with my life in a healthy way.
AmeriCorps is for one year, so after completing my year there I moved back to my hometown, found a job as a teacher's aide, and life went on.
A few years later, I was off my medication. I had stopped taking it because, without having health insurance, being able to get my meds each month was a hassle, and when I couldn't afford my meds I went through painful withdrawal symptoms. So at some point that spring, when I ran out of my meds once again, I decided to just go off my beds completely. I was doing well in life... I had decided to become a special ed teacher, and had just finished two years of community college. I was planning to go to a larger university in the fall to finish my teaching degree. I had broken off my friendship with one of the more  negative people in my life, and I was feeling pretty good about my future. I figured my meds had helped me through some tough times but I didn't need them anymore.
That fall, my family helped me move to my new apartment, six or seven hours away, at the university where I was supposed to finish my teaching degree. I felt sad, but I remembered how I had gotten over my homesickness when I was in AmeriCorps, and I figured this would be the same thing.
Instead, only an hour after my family left me behind at my new apartment, I started bawling and couldn't stop. None of my usual coping mechanisms were working. I cried for a week. I would go through a few hours where I would feel okay... still sad but sort of numb... but then the sadness would sneak up on me again. I couldn't eat. Just the effort of trying to make a sandwich was too much for me. I had to constantly keep moving, as a way to soothe myself. I would pace around my apartment until I felt a little better, then get out the bread, and then have to start pacing some more, and then get out the mayonnaise, and so on.
By the fourth day, I was actually lying on my apartment floor wailing like a maniac!
I thought if I went home for a weekend, it would help me feel better and get a fresh start. I could see my family, regroup, and get back to the university in time for classes to start.
But when I got home, my sadness continued. I still cried all day long. When the weekend was nearly over, I was still so upset, I convinced my parents to let me stay and miss a few days of school. After all, a lot of people missed the first week!
I also was starting to realize that maybe this was more than homesickness, and that I needed to be back on meds. So I made an appointment for that Monday with a physician that I had occasionally gone to. (Not having health insurance, I had barely ever gone to the doctor!) I figured I would start my meds on Monday, and by the following week I would have bounced back and been ready to go back to school.
I sat in my physician's office, sobbing that I didn't really want to kill myself but I was starting to consider it, just to end the pain. My doctor actually got tears in her eyes as she listened to me. She said that she'd give me a prescription for the medication I'd been on before, but that it would probably take several weeks, at least, to be fully effective. In the mean time, she gave me some sedatives I could take when I was feeling really bad. (These would help me with the pain, but the problem was I couldn't depend on them to help me out if I started going to my university classes, because they actually made me so calm that I fell asleep!) The doctor suggested that maybe a family member could go and stay with me at my apartment, at least for a few weeks, to help monitor me and make sure I was okay. (I knew that would never happen! My mom had already taken a day or two off of work to spend with me, and she was already maxed out on helping me with this.)
I really, really, really didn't want to give up. I had been waiting for so long to go to my university. I had an awesome apartment, in a really cool student apartment complex that was surrounded by woods. In the morning, I would look out my window and see deer in the yard. My mom had helped me pick out furniture I loved, and I'd been so excited about being back on my own, after living with my parents for several years. (I'd been working part time while taking community college classes, and hadn't made enough to afford my own apartment.)
But in the end, I had to. I was in no state to be on my own. It was like a vicious cycle; I had to give up my apartment and university because of my depression, and the act of having to give up my hopes and dreams caused me to be even more depressed.
I slowly got better, but it took a long time for me to bounce back to my normal self. For months, I would get homesick at the drop of a hat. When my parents went on a vacation to Mexico for five days, I cried the whole time and had to call them every few hours. It was embarrassing, and I knew my parents were irritated with me. But I couldn't help it. That was depression. Only after months of being on meds was I able to start becoming independent again.
So what I'm trying to explain is, the medication allows you to feel sadness and disappointment and things, but  not in a way that causes you to have to give up your whole life.