Since taking a medical withdrawal, I kept in touch with my advisor from the University. In mid March, I will be coordinating with faculty and my doctors to get my documentation together for the readmission process. A couple months ago, the thought to return was scary and brought much stress. In order to sort my thoughts out on returning I took up a suggestion of a previous therapist to create a CBT grid listing the disadvantages and advantages of going back to my PhD versus not returning. I won't reproduce the whole list but this was kind of the gist:
Advantages of returning to my PhD:
- Tuition covered plus stipend
- Support from doctor, therapist and program
- Many opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have
- Passionate about the field of study
- Job opportunities
- The possibility to travel and do research
- Strong program and responsive and dedicated faculty
Disadvantages of returning:
- PhD programs are high stress and have high expectations, which could be a strain on my health
- Worry that I'm unprepared and/or made a bad first impression
- Might have to go back on a higher dose of medications or even make a medication change
- My current support won't be there
After writing up the list, I didn't look at it for sometime. Lately though, I've been reading and rereading it daily. Whereas there is a variety of advantages to going back, the core of the disadvantages centers around my health. I have never ever felt like my emotional dysregulation disabled me. It never felt like a crutch. Or something which held me back. But it's pretty obvious from looking at my list that my health concerns are a factor in whether or not I return to my PhD.
It's crazy to think what this list might look like had I not had these health issues. But then again, I wouldn't have taken a medical withdrawal if it wasn't for my health. I could wonder what life would be like if it were only a little different but I don't think that kind of thinking would help my current situation much. For now, I'm clinging to my list. And taking it day by day.