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So if there was ever a time when I needed a group of INFJs to vent to about my life, it's now. I kind of feel like the rug was just swept out from under me and I just need some feedback to help ground me and figure out what to do next.

So basically I'm going to go far back in my life because I want to communicate the full context to you guys.
So right out of college (in 2012), I had no clue what to do with my life, figured I'd "just find something", didn't really have any long term goals or plans. I ended up getting a job at a lovely school as an assistant teacher. Loving, close community, wonderful kids, semi-rewarding work, but also dreadfully boring once I got over the novelty, monotonous, and far below my level of ability (special ed kids that needed a lot of downtime; I didn't have any independent projects/ decision-making) . Didn't pay well, but did pay enough for me to live on my own and be financially independent. I moved in with a high school friend in a cool downtown neighborhood and life was pretty good.

But I was bored with life and really wanted to go back to school and get an advanced degree in some kind of people-centered field. So I moved back in with my mom to save money, started taking undergrad pre-req speech-language pathology/ audiology classes towards the goal of going to grad school and becoming an audiologist. I kept subbing at the above-mentioned school as much as I could.

I finished those classes last May. I was accepted into one of top programs in the country. This is a 3-year program, pretty expensive... I'm going to end up with a lot of debt but hopefully the ability to get a very well-paying job.
A month ago, I moved several states away to go to that program. I was living by myself in a single room in graduate housing and didn't know a single person in that city (although everyone in my program was super nice and I started making friends fairly quickly).

Anyway, from a couple weeks before I moved, I stopped being able to sleep. I would get only a few hours each night and just could not get more sleep than that, no matter what I tried. This continued for weeks, during the move, and during the program orientation... I was dragging myself through everything and felt awful. I always sleep badly even on the best of nights, so I didn't have much energy in reserve . Then, during the first week of classes, I literally stopped sleeping. I mean I didn't sleep for several nights in a row. I was basically brain dead. If I took a full dose of Nyquill, I would sleep a few hours, but it would make my body feel disgusting and make me nauseous the next day. I cried in the office of the director of my program and went to see one of campus psychologists and cried in his office multiple times... I just felt totally defeated. I couldn't function at all. I dragged myself to class but could not even focus on what the teacher was saying. Even worse, I was going to have to go to clinic and see patients and perform tests of them and whatnot... and I just couldn't see how I was going to be able to do that. My body was in this constant manic state; my heart was constantly beating out of my chest-- like I could actually hear and feel it beating -- and my limbs were constantly tense-- no matter how hard I'd try to relax.
And in case you've never experienced extreme sleep deprivation, it's not just tiredness. If it were just tiredness, it would be fine. It's tiredness + sliding in and out of reality, not feeling as if your mind is really in your body, hallucinating, not being able to string a whole sentence together.. literally not even being able to think and hardly being able to speak.

So anyway, now I'm home. My dad flew out to help me move back home. I'm not sure what's going to happen-- in a few days, after I recover a bit, I'm going to speak with the director of my program. (Last night in our hotel I actually slept pretty well, although I'm still completely exhausted.) I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to go back anytime this year; I might not be able to go back until next Fall. I really have no idea. The director was very supportive and told me to "just let her know when I want to discuss my return". But i have no clue what she will say. I also don't know if I'm going to be able to get back the $10,000 I spent on tuition (in loan money) and I know I won't be able to get back the $3000 from graduate housing for the whole semester (it's possible that I may get the tuition money back or have it transferred to next year-- I have to finish officially applying for medical leave. If not... well, it'll just mostly cancel out the scholarship they gave me...)

Now I'm home... living with my mom... feeling so let down and depressed. I feel as if the past two years I've been living on this dream of being an audiologist someday and looking forward to going to grad school. I put off dealing with a lot of other problems because I just thought "it won't matter during/after grad school." And I still want it so badly. It scares me how much I love audiology and how much I desperately want to be an audiologist right now (especially because I'm already older than a lot of my audiology buddies who went right into grad school after college). Now I know the dream hasn't died but I'm just back to waiting. I don't know what to do in the meantime. I don't like living with my mom, but she absolutely loves having me here and I definitely want to save as much money as possible.
I will probably go back to working at my old school, who would also love to have me back, but it will be boring as all fuck and extra depressing thinking about how I could be in grad school instead.

I'm going to see a sleep specialist and maybe a therapist as well. I'm going to try to get involved with stuff, so I can do something more engaged and challenging than just going to work. I'm going to read all my textbooks and keep up with classes. Maybe even look for a different job, I don't know. See friends, but my number of friends still in this area is shrinking. My cousins, who are my two best friends and who I used to spend almost all my time with, have both moved away to college in other states/ countries.
I don't what will happen if I go back -- will I have the same problem again? I don't know if this is going to be an on-going insomnia problem or if it's just a weird blip. Sometimes I question if taking on all that schooling and all that debt -- especially now that I may have just added to it-- is even worth it. I have a few other ideas for other, much shorter, programs I could do in other, related fields -- which might be good opportunities, although not as good as audiology, and would render the past 2 years of my life and all the knowledge I've accumulated useless.

I keep questioning if coming home was the right thing to do. I keep thinking, how could I have prevented this total collapse? Did I freak out and make a rash decision? How am I going to get through these months at home with so little to look forward to... just a month after thinking my life about to really start, at long last.

Anyway... feedback? thoughts? suggestions? similar experiences? I'm not in despair because I know how lucky I am in so many ways and I know it will all work out eventually. I would just really appreciate talking about it so I can try to process what happened...
 

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I don't understand exactly what happen. Did you have problems sleeping? Or was school too hard? I mean, if it's more than you can chew, that's fine, not everybody can do all the things. You can try something else.

It is cool that you had where to retreat to. I experienced this in my younger years also.

I dropped my university studies in year two and joined another university.
I moved out and then eventually moved back in for a while with my mom back in the days, only to move out again later on.
I applied for a job, got hired, underwent training and stuff and found out that it was too much to bare so I left (the catch was that you had to pay a penalty).

We all experience setbacks. You wanted to be an audiologist. Hopefully you will. But what's your backup plan if you can't? You need some safety net.

You learned a lesson, but now you must actually put it in practice, you can't go back to making the same mistakes.
 
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I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time. I haven’t been through what you’re experiencing, but I had a few times (both in college, and later, in the work force) where I thought I saw my future stretching clear in front of me, and suddenly a wrench got thrown in. The feeling of not knowing where you stand or what you’re heading towards can be sickening.

INFJs are known for caring for others; putting ourselves in their place and feeling compassion and a desire to help them. I hope that as you move forward, you’re able to direct that trait toward yourself. No recriminations or beating yourself up, just a lot of self-care. As nice as it would be if Ni was actually clairvoyant, it isn’t. You did your best and prepared for what you thought the future would hold. There is no reason to be ashamed of yourself. You did your best.

It’s hard to know what your next step is going to be until they can narrow down the cause to physical or mental or some combination thereof, and until you find out how accommodating your school and financing will be. But I hope that you’re able to treat yourself with patience and humor, to celebrate any steps forward you take without comparing yourself to others, and to find opportunity in the unknown.

From my personal experience, what got to me the most was waiting. Not too long after college, just a few months into my first teaching job, I had a series of pretty serious health problems. The worst part was the beginning...I felt awful, like I was just dragging myself through the day, and I didn’t know what was going on. My gut reaction when facing a problem is to grab things by the horns, make a plan, and act on it right then. Being forced to wait on test results, then pretty much trial-and-error as they explored treatment options was awful. I did what I could...maintained healthy habits, in terms of exercise/eating/sleeping, tried to educate myself on possible treatments, and found humor in the ridiculousness of it. It allowed me to feel like I was maintaining a measure of control even when other parts of the equation were out of my hands.

The other thing I did was volunteer. It seemed counterintuitive at first, since I didn’t have loads of energy, but I just needed to worry about someone else for a change. It was really nice. When you’re interacting with people that have bigger problems than yours, it forces some perspective.

And...as much as I hated relying on others, it was nice to know there were so many people in my life that cared about me. It sounds like you’ve got a great network of people in your life. It might be a nice opportunity to grow some relationships and make sure they know how loved and appreciated they are.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. I always enjoyed reading your posts about audiology. Your passion for it really came through. I hope that you’re able to find a way to pursue your dream, even if it isn’t following the path you originally thought you would take.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't understand exactly what happen. Did you have problems sleeping? Or was school too hard? I mean, if it's more than you can chew, that's fine, not everybody can do all the things. You can try something else.

It is cool that you had where to retreat to. I experienced this in my younger years also.

I dropped my university studies in year two and joined another university.
I moved out and then eventually moved back in for a while with my mom back in the days, only to move out again later on.
I applied for a job, got hired, underwent training and stuff and found out that it was too much to bare so I left (the catch was that you had to pay a penalty).

We all experience setbacks. You wanted to be an audiologist. Hopefully you will. But what's your backup plan if you can't? You need some safety net.

You learned a lesson, but now you must actually put it in practice, you can't go back to making the same mistakes.
Thanks. School wasn't too hard, I just had this inexplicable anxiety/ insomnia....

I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time. I haven’t been through what you’re experiencing, but I had a few times (both in college, and later, in the work force) where I thought I saw my future stretching clear in front of me, and suddenly a wrench got thrown in. The feeling of not knowing where you stand or what you’re heading towards can be sickening.

INFJs are known for caring for others; putting ourselves in their place and feeling compassion and a desire to help them. I hope that as you move forward, you’re able to direct that trait toward yourself. No recriminations or beating yourself up, just a lot of self-care. As nice as it would be if Ni was actually clairvoyant, it isn’t. You did your best and prepared for what you thought the future would hold. There is no reason to be ashamed of yourself. You did your best.

It’s hard to know what your next step is going to be until they can narrow down the cause to physical or mental or some combination thereof, and until you find out how accommodating your school and financing will be. But I hope that you’re able to treat yourself with patience and humor, to celebrate any steps forward you take without comparing yourself to others, and to find opportunity in the unknown.

From my personal experience, what got to me the most was waiting. Not too long after college, just a few months into my first teaching job, I had a series of pretty serious health problems. The worst part was the beginning...I felt awful, like I was just dragging myself through the day, and I didn’t know what was going on. My gut reaction when facing a problem is to grab things by the horns, make a plan, and act on it right then. Being forced to wait on test results, then pretty much trial-and-error as they explored treatment options was awful. I did what I could...maintained healthy habits, in terms of exercise/eating/sleeping, tried to educate myself on possible treatments, and found humor in the ridiculousness of it. It allowed me to feel like I was maintaining a measure of control even when other parts of the equation were out of my hands.

The other thing I did was volunteer. It seemed counterintuitive at first, since I didn’t have loads of energy, but I just needed to worry about someone else for a change. It was really nice. When you’re interacting with people that have bigger problems than yours, it forces some perspective.

And...as much as I hated relying on others, it was nice to know there were so many people in my life that cared about me. It sounds like you’ve got a great network of people in your life. It might be a nice opportunity to grow some relationships and make sure they know how loved and appreciated they are.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. I always enjoyed reading your posts about audiology. Your passion for it really came through. I hope that you’re able to find a way to pursue your dream, even if it isn’t following the path you originally thought you would take.
Thank you for the kind words <3 Haha, I didn't realize I talked about audiology that much!
 

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It seems to me like you have a lot of repressed thoughts and emotions that you decided to ignore before setting off on grad school. Thinking that following your pursuit of becoming an Audiologist could become the thing you're able to sink your time and energy into to so that you didn't have to confront whats inside of you. What sticks out to me right away was the length of time between the start of the feeling of "boredom" you spoke of during your time teaching and when you decided to go to grad school for Audiology. This might sound mean and maybe I'm off the mark, but I have skepticism about how much you wanted to become an audiologist and how that desire manifested in the first place. Much more importantly however, it seems to me you were unsure what you wanted from life in general.

Even after you received your undergrad degree you didn't know which direction you wanted to go in life. By your own words you were "just going to find something", the "something" in that phrase being something that made you happy, fulfilled and comfortable. I think the teaching job taught you what you didn't want; doing something good for people but ultimately unchallenging and not intrinsically rewarding.

I also I think there is a degree of you trying to live up to social norms. You wanting to go for higher education, applying to the top programs, the guiltiness of living with parents bit, pointing at your friends progression in comparison to your own. I get the impression you've been trying to do things that are typically expected for someone of your caliber. Trying to reach what you think is your full potential. Uttering "Like my life was finally about to begin at long last" because you haven't been satisfied at all about a lot of things you've accomplished and/or been through. What shadow have you been trying to escape?

I think a potential answer starts there. Of course there could be something chemically that's happened like a shortfall in how much melatonin your body produces.
 

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Alright so my brain immediately went to Maslow's hierarchy when thinking about your challenge.

I've given up on trying to figure out how or why my brain does that but regardless is there any part of it that you can pinpoint to that was unfulfilled in your life?

Specifically in the bottom three?

https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

I ask because sleep is when your unconscious mind resolves issues. Sleeplessness is usually accompanied by issues unrecognized and unresolved.

I haven't had significant issues with sleep since childhood. But I have had issues with existence.

In times like that I try and break down where I am, where I was and where I could be.

I would take up journaling of thoughts and emotions. Absorbing myself in questioning my motivations and the directions in which I find myself pulled and gradually painting a picture of how I got there and what I can do to resolve it.
 
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