What I’m going to describe here is an example of situations that make me overthink.
As you may know I signed up for a university course, Msc in Dementia. I started around two weeks late as course already started when I just only got the idea to apply.
Every week we have a new topic that starts with brief introduction followed by a group discussion and our tutor comments on posts of few first participants.
In the first discussion we were asked to reflect on negative attitudes towards dementia and although we weren’t told to just be positive instead, that’s how some students understood it and that shaped the entire discussion. When I logged in and started reading it I got rather upset. Especially one student seemed to be overly energetic in her attempts to be positive and I noticed that the tutor didn’t correct her.
I did think that possibly trying to be more neutral and realistic would be better but I got quite irritated and I posted to the group without addressing anyone. It was just a short post where I explained my point of view, I spoke about my psychotic episodes and how upset I’d be if someone decided that we just need to be more positive about psychosis and I stated that language is not a cure.
Next day I had a call from my student recruitment consultant. I didn’t answer and she left a message asking me how I’m doing and if I post in group discussion. The day after she called again and asked the same questions, also said something that I shouldn’t spend too much time reading all the responses that people post there. Just read two or three – she said.
I found that very weird. Did our tutor decide that she needs to do something about ‘that autistic student’ who obviously must have gotten upset about other people interpreting things differently than her and she ‘needs to watch her language a bit more when she’s like that’.
I did ask if that’s what the phone call was about but, obviously, she said no.
In recent discussion last week we were asked about our values and I was lucky enough to post as the first one. I stated it’s very important for me to be authentic but I not always am because I realise it could hurt people, but then what happens when I’m not authentic is that I feel bad.
We were asked a couple of other questions that I covered too but the tutor responded to the part about being authentic only – she said she had the same dilemma while thinking about a recent situation.
It made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I didn’t know if that was just a first thing that came to her mind or was she hinting she didn’t like my post in the first discussion and didn’t know whether she should have said something or not.
It took me a few minutes to come up with a response and finally I suggested to her to always be authentic in her academic work so that we could have quality studying experience. I did think that, is she was sarcastic, she will pick that possibility I am too, but otherwise she will see what I said as just a general comment.
The situation bothers me a bit now and a couple of times already I had that idea to email her and say exactly what is in this post. But what would that achieve, I wonder? It would most certainly make her uncomfortable and not knowing what to say in response. Also I’m fully aware that in case she was being sarcastic, she’s going to deny that so I can’t trust the response anyway and therefore why even ask the question.
What I wanted to say here also is that I find it very difficult to imagine that people communicate about others this way, behind their back, while looking for solutions to issues. Especially when it’s about me. Even if it comes to my mind on a logical level, I cannot really imagine that.
I also don’t know what to do with the fact that I now feel like I can’t express my opinions because they may upset others. But other students’ opinion upset me, so how is that fair?
At the same time no one said anything directly so possibly I am misinterpreting and I still can express my opinions? I really do not understand.