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xxprincessxx Offline
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How to approach the situation? - February 5th 2013, 06:36 PM

I'm in need of some advice:

So, I met with one of my professors earlier today because for the past week and a half, I've been really depressed and haven't been able to make it to classes or get my work in on time. So, I basically went in and told him how I had depression and it was particularly coming up now and I just had no motivation to do anything and I just felt like crap most of the time. He surprised me by saying that he too, has suffered with depression and knows the feeling and he would be willing to help accommodate me with classwork and attendance. He also said that if I wanted him to, he could ask around about places for counselling and stuff, but he also made it clear that he was there for me to talk to at any time or even if I was having a bad day and needed somewhere to go to sit. Obviously, he asked if I was having any thoughts of suicide and I said no, because I haven't had any for a few days, and I'm not sure that I would act on them anyways, so I don't feel like I need to immediate help. But he asked me to come to (no matter what) with that if I ever even started feeling like that, because he's been there before.

I guess the advice that I need is, I'm not sure how to handle this. It's really nice to have somebody older than me who understands what I'm going through and who is willing to help me. But I'm not good at reaching out, I also suffer with BPD which sometimes blurs my boundary lines, so I try to steer clear of relationships like this, so I don't become dependent or needy in a very unhealthy way. So my question is, how do I use what he is offering in a healthy way and not an unhealthy way. I don't want to overuse him, but I also don't want to pretend like there isn't a supportive person who understands what I'm going through. He said that he would check in, in a couple of weeks. Would it be okay to go and speak with him every few weeks just to have someone to check in with? Could I go and talk to him if and when I'm having a rough day? Should I say something if I get suicidal again, and to what extent should I have to feel like that before I go and speak to him?

I feel like these are all really stupid questions, but my BPD has been acting up lately and is making it hard for me to make smart decisions, which is what I'm trying to do at the moment. Any advice or encouragement would be fantastic! (: [/b][/b]


all i want is a place to call my own and
mend the hearts of everyone who feels alone,
woah,
you know to keep your hopes up high and your head down low.

<3
   
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Kate* Offline
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Re: How to approach the situation? - February 5th 2013, 07:21 PM

Hey Sammy, these are not stupid questions, you're wondering where the boundaries are and honestly, I think he blurred them. Having had professors who were psychologists and now who are professional counselors they were always very clear from the beginning "Counselor and therapist is not my role with you. If you feel like you need that, I can help you find it, but you are my student not my client." Also, they are always happy to make accommodations, but they need the official documentation. I'm glad that he wants to help you, and checking for suicide was absolutely the right thing to do, but if you're really worried about overusing him I would suggest taking him up on his offer to help you find a professional to see and provide him the documentation of accommodations for your mental illnesses if you have it. When you see someone you can ask them about providing that for you and then you can be accommodated in all your classes. If you wanted to use him as a support every once in a while, or if he says he'd be willing to check in with you, then that's okay, but there seems to be a blurred boundary there, even if he isn't a psychological professional who happens to also teach.


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"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." Jean Paul Sarte
   
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xxprincessxx Offline
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Re: How to approach the situation? - February 5th 2013, 10:00 PM

Thank you for you reply!

I think part of it is, I go to an extremely small college where most of the professors have a strong connection and relationship in and out of the classroom. So obviously if something is going on, most of them are willing to be there as a source to go to. It's just really hard for me because of what I struggle with and where that line is and how I can't always see that line.

It's not that I don't want to "use" his support, as our campus is a very tight knit community. I just need to be able to not go overboard. You know?


all i want is a place to call my own and
mend the hearts of everyone who feels alone,
woah,
you know to keep your hopes up high and your head down low.

<3
   
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Kate* Offline
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Re: How to approach the situation? - February 6th 2013, 12:17 AM

Yeah, I didn't have that experience. I went to a small school, but because they were all professionals in the field, the boundary was explicitly spelled out by every one of them within the first few minutes of the first class. I think it's admirable what he's trying to do and I understand his intentions, but I could see this becoming an issue down the road for either one or both of you. That's why I suggested allowing him to help you find someone because that person will know better than I do what's appropriate and it will give you somewhere else to go with some of this. If he checks in and you're suicidal or in crisis you need to be honest with him about it, and if you feel like it's something he needs to know, like your symptoms are interfering with his class then that's okay. It's also a good idea if you know you have a problem judging boundaries to make them somewhat rigid until you are better able to recognize where they should be.


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