Catching Up with Old Classmate

Yesterday, I received a Facebook message from a woman with whom I went to high school. Unbelievably, we last saw each other in 1981.

She stated that it was very challenging to track me down, since my Facebook profile did not include my maiden name. She promptly sent me a friend request, which I accepted. She also invited me to join a group for our high school class.

Later, she sent me a lengthy message, to catch me up on all the major events that have transpired since we last saw each other. I intend to do the very same for her. It will certainly take some time to do so.

I’ve been reflecting upon the dizzying number of transitions that have elapsed since I last saw this classmate. At that time, I was experiencing major health problems. I was just sixteen years old.

I had the highest average in my class of more than 400 students. Nevertheless, I ended up leaving that high school. I was suffering from severe depression, following several months of distressing symptoms.

These symptoms included difficulty concentrating, profound fatigue, as well as numbness and tingling sensations in my lower extremities. Retrospectively, I was experiencing my initial MS exacerbation.

My mother took me to a neurologist; he concluded that I had multiple symptoms that were highly suggestive of MS. However, he thought that I was too young to be formally diagnosed with this disease.

I left this high school on January 7, 1981. I never returned. At the time, I couldn’t imagine being able to go back to this high school. Later that same year, I started my junior year at a different high school.

I gave my former classmate a brief synopsis of my health challenges, as well as my accomplishments. She congratulated me on having done very well. I thanked her, of course.

So very many painful memories were elicited by this interaction. After all, I had been experiencing my initial episode of major depressive disorder when I last saw this classmate. I was suicidal, for an extended period of time.

Receiving care from a competent psychiatrist, along with intensive outpatient treatment, helped me to survive this severe episode of major depression. Nevertheless, within the next five years, I would experience repeated episodes of depression.

Consequently, I received a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe. I still continue to experience symptoms of depression to this day, although they are significantly milder than in the past.

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