Right now, I feel more like my usual optimistic, hyperactive self than I have felt in months.
In the past, I would’ve assumed that this just meant that I was in a good mood. The past year has left me with a more complex, nuanced reality: I cannot simply assume that I’m in a good mood; it’s like this observer part of me has broken away and is watching to see if this is really the on-ramp to mania.
I’m not going to say it doesn’t feel good to feel better. It does. I’m also not going to say that I don’t intend to enjoy this uptick. I just think I probably ought to try not to over-enjoy it.
Like many athletes, I am evidently programmed to drive myself really hard the minute I start to feel anything like normal (I am, after all, the guy who rode around on a broken tibia in total denial for weeks). Learning to back off the gas a little and take it easy is a challenge for me. Perhaps it’s one I should learn to approach with the same aplomb that I approach everything else.
It’s time for class, so I need to close for now.
Rubber side down, folks!
I believe we have established our race strategy, such as it is, which is, “Same thing as last year, only backwards.” Which is not to say that we plan to sit facing our rear wheels, pedal with our hands, and devil take the foremost, but more that we will be riding the same route in the other direction.
This is promising, as last year’s route worked well for us but put some of the harder climbs and such at the end of the ride. Approaching the route from the opposite end will both get some of the climbs over earlier and magically transform others into descents. For what it’s worth, I am a better and more confident climber than I am a descender (though last fall’s 35-MPH-tire-explosion-on-a-gravel-descent actually did much to improve my confidence, since I neither went backside-over-teakettle, fell down, nor found myself picking gravel out of my face). Thus, it’s possible that less climbing and more descending may make our overall time rather slower. We’ll see.
Timothy is a much better route planner than I am. I am, as you probably already know, a terrible planner general. As such, I trust Timothy’s plan. My job is to be the necessary race partner, be spunky riding up the hills, and provide a second opinion if we should happen somehow wind up “off-piste,” as it were. And probably also to provide sparkling conversation or something like that, but Timothy is definitely more than half of the team.
Anyway, for all my intending to get out there and train, I’ve come to what should be my taper week without really putting in any serious time or effort on the bike, so I’m going to have to hope that my training strategy of “piddling around on the treadmill” will help. If nothing else, I have become a much better runner, so if I should have to push the bike for miles on end, I’m better prepared.
Tomorrow I shall see about running the Karakoram over to Bicycle Sport for a tune-up. I will have to attend to the Tricross myself, thanks to my total failure of organizational skills in recent days. I think Bicycle Sport is professional enough to get both bikes banged out by Friday, but I need something to ride for the duration.
I think I’ll also swap out the tires on the Tricross and otherwise generally try to make my own life easier. I’ll have to decide how I’m going about this, as I currently have two halves of a good tire set for this race (and one set of skinnier-than-ideal-but-awesome tires as well). I could run mixed, but my inner roadie just won’t accept that, so basically I need to decide which set to run and buy a second tire.
Timothy isn’t going to run studs, so I don’t think I will either (because the goal is not to make the race any harder than it has to be). Plus, I’m not 100% certain that “carbide studs + water crossings” equals anything other than “(humiliating failure*pain)(^2).”
In related news, I’m still trying to sort out whether Hotels.com ever actually booked our hotel. They have collected my money, but I have not received a confirmation email or anything. I called them today and they were having difficulties with the system that lets them view existing reservations, so I’m going to have to call them back later.
In unrelated news, my research project is fumbling along at a surprisingly efficient rate, given that I’m the one running it, and I except to present some actual data at this year’s undergrad conference. If nothing else, it will be fun to watch like 100 people throw beanbags and peek through telescopes.
That’s it for now. I am definitely feeling a little more content today, if kind of cranky and edgy. This is sort of the opposite of how I’ve been feeling of late (malcontent, but more soupy-and-moody than cranky-and-edgy). I think the sun is helping. Probably two good nights’ sleep and a metric shedload of caffeine aren’t hurting either.
Rubber side down, and may your good intentions lead to interesting destinations.
Just a quick check-in today.
We’re having a snow day, which is sort of irrelevant for me since I don’t have classes on Monday anyway. Denis and I got the walk and driveway shoveled this morning, and now the remaining scrim of crusty gritty ice-snow stuff is melting off as the sun hits it. The world looks all pretty and properly winter-y.
I’m starting to feel a little bit more like myself these days. I’m working on damage control for the time being and hoping that things will remain on a more even keel until I can start to get this under control.
The tough part now is kind of accepting where I am right now. In his book Dark Nights of the Soul, author Thomas Moore writes about the appreciating the “night sea journey” for what it is — a concept that fits neatly with Zen teachings about being here, now.
It isn’t always comfortable to be where you are. It definitely isn’t comfortable to be where I am right now, though it is more comfortable to be here, now than to be where I was, like, a week ago.
Of course I want to rush forward to “the good part.” I want to get to the next phase where I feel okay or even good. I want to get to spring, so I can get out on the bike and ride. I want to get there.
Thing is, here is where I am now. The trick is to be here, now — to be in this when and this where — and not be quite so focused on getting to the next phase, the next destination.
In other news, tomorrow I’ll be handing in all my reams of research paperwork. Friday evening we head up to Bedford to
irresponsibly watch cable TV in a hotel room feast upon the bones of our enemies attempt to not die during Death March (which is on Saturday).
Neither Timothy nor I have spent any time on the bike worth speaking of, so this year’s “race,” as it were, might be interesting. Conveniently, I will get to knock out both my first significant ride of the year and my first (and probably my only) race of the year. I’ll leave it to you, gentle readers, to determine whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
I’ll report back on it at some juncture, though evidently I’m horrible at getting race reports posted. I definitely won’t be posting directly after the race, because we’ll have just enough time to shower, change, and haul bacon back to town to catch The Trocks at the Brown Theater. Any way, I’m sure I’ll manage to fill you all in on whether I live or die. That is, assuming I live. Which is probable.
In other, other news, I made my first lasagna ever last night, and it was gooooooood. Needless to say, a recipe that I’m happy to have in my repertoire (Denis is a good teacher!) and one I plan to make again.
That’s it for now. Nothing else to report.
Rubber side down, everyone
Just a quickie. A while ago, I posted an initial review of my “tablone.” I liked it. Sadly, it turned out that the one I ordered had some issues with freezing up and rebooting itself randomly.
I have never returned anything on eBay before, but there’s a first time for everything right? So I sent a message to the sellers, who replied promptly with complete instructions. I followed the instructions, packed up my phone, and returned it, and voila, they refunded the purchase price and my $30 expedited shipping fee with no difficulties. I didn’t even pay return shipping.
The process was painless. I feel like WeSellCellular on eBay deserves a wee shoutout. As the subject line says, these guys are legit. It’s not their fault my phone didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do, and the problem it had isn’t one that would be easy to pick up in used-phone quality testing, and when I let them know I was having a problem, they solved it right away.
Denis got me a replacement Note II from ATT (turns out he had an upgrade ready to roll, and just swapped it out; I gave him my last one) so I didn’t get my replacement from them, but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from them again or to recommend them. All of my dealings with them were fast, courteous, and easy (even if it did take me a minute to figure out that they were WeSellCellular and not Wessel Cellular — our insurance agent is Wessel Insurance, and I am a wee bit dyslexic :D).
Anyway, that’s it for now. I am doing a bit better. First appointment with new doc today; got a psychiatrist referral because our health insurance is an HMO and got back on fluticasone (generic for Flonase) to help keep my nasal stuff sorted, which should help prevent sinus infections and help me sleep better (being able to breathe helps immensely).
Next week is Death March. I booked a hotel room because Denis likes his creature comforts (and I don’t mind them, either) and I wasn’t organized enough to book super early. Still haven’t decided which bike I’m taking; to be honest, I might take both and decide on race day.
‘Til then, keep the rubber side down.
I am still not riding much right now. With Death March 1.5 weeks out, we’ll see if “being a lazy schmuck” is actually a good early-season training plan.
I should note, though, that I haven’t entirely been a lazy schmuck. I have, instead, been running on the treadmill.
This is turning into rather a promising enterprise. I am now running consistently (rather than alternating running and walking) for the duration of my planned run and increasing my pace. I am pretty sure that this is doing good things for my cardiovascular fitness, though my respiratory system still freaks out about cold weather and probably always will.
Since we’ll be starting ballet classes in a couple of weeks, I have also adopted a consistent stretching apres-run stretching routine. I am far more flexible by nature than most people (born that way; evidently, some medical folks consider it a disorder — hypermobility in multiple joints combined with a tendency for the joints to “crack” or “pop”), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to stretch. My flexibility is one of my best assets as a dancer, and both cycling and running make for tight legs.
The cat loves the stretching part; he thinks it’s great whenever I get down on the floor for any reason. He gets right down there with me to “help.” Today, that meant lying around doing his best impression of an exhausted caterpillar while I ran through floor and ball stretches (that’s EXERCISE BALL, people — brains outta the gutter!).
I’m enjoying my treadmill time. I listen to internet radio or watch documentaries or whatever while I’m running. Right now, it’s basically all ballet documentaries all the time — inspiration, if you will. I’ve wanted to get back into ballet for a long time, and it gives me even more incentive to lose these last 20 – 30 pounds (20 pounds should really be fine) and to build up my respiratory endurance.
It’s also a way to get my head back into the ballet game. I had sound training from the start and I feel like my “muscle memory” still has it and will recover easily, but I know for a fact I’ve lost a bunch of terminology and so forth. Plus, it never hurts to watch people who know what they’re doing.
Once the weather improves again I will be riding and running outside, but I think I will probably continue with my treadmill routine until it gets too miserably hot in here.
I have no further racing plans this year, beyond Death March. I think I need to get the bipolar stuff sorted first. I think ballet might actually help with that, but we’ll see. I plan to discuss it with Dottie tomorrow. Part of me is afraid that I am having some kind of awful mixed state and that the intensity of my drive to make the ballet thing work reflects not a passion long deferred (Denis and I have been having this conversation for quite a while) but a manic obsession. I really hope not.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I am basically caught up on homework and research stuff for the next thirty seconds or so, which feels really good, so I’m going to go make a nice dinner and enjoy such free time as I have bought myself by working like a madman for several days in a row.
Rubber side down, folks.
Point the first:
Once upon a time, I was skinny. Then I moved to Louisville, got really sick, had to stop doing all the physical activity stuff that I loved for about six months, and didn’t stop eating like I was still doing all that physical activity stuff. Predictably, I gained a bunch of weight.
I have spent the past few years whittling off weight that I gained over six months (and have learned, in the process, that I am fantastic at maintaining a weight, but only mediocre at losing weight).
I have now whittled myself back to a reliable size medium in most brands of bike kit (I haven’t tried Assos, but I hear they run small). Sadly, because I’m built on a pretty small frame, this doesn’t mean I am back at my fighting weight, so to speak. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I’m getting there now.
Point the second:
I did ballet as a kid and loved it, and continued on and off with various forms of dance until I graduated from high school. I have missed dancing but haven’t had time to get back into it. My schedule is now starting to slow down, and Denis and I are planning on taking ballet classes together (he’s never danced; meanwhile, it’s been long enough for me that I figure it won’t hurt to start from scratch). I was going to wait until after graduation, but I’m thinking about starting over the summer instead, then perhaps continuing with a class once a week next semester. We shall see.
Because I am excited about this prospect and also the kind of person who handles that kind of excitement by going out and drooling over the stuff I need to acquire for whatever thing I’m taking up, I have spent the past hour looking at stuff we need for ballet class.
I have also spent the last hour discovering that ballet kit sizing standards are even smaller than cycling kit sizing standards (the last time I bought ballet-specific stuff, I was too young and skinny to even be remotely aware of such things).
So in the world of cycling, I am a medium; in the world of ballet, a confirmed large. Meanwhile, in running kit, depending on the brand, I am anywhere from a small to a medium.
I guess this just goes to show me that labels are relative. Medium in one arena is large in the next and small it the one after that.
I think this is a good object lesson. I probably obsess about my size as much as anyone, and probably more than many people (I would blame cycling, but I have been obsessive about my weight pretty much as long as I’ve been aware of the concept).
At the end of the day, all the size-related labels are data-poor and relative. Because I am built the way I’m built, I will be a small in everything by the time I get down to my ideal weight. Someone else could be at his or her ideal weight and be a large in everything. I suppose none of it even matters as long as you’re healthy … now, if I could just get the horrible person who lives in the middle of my brain and believes that nothing short of skeletal is thin enough to believe that, we’d be gettin somewhere.
In other news, I am looking forward to getting back into ballet. First, it’s something physically active that Denis and I can do together, which makes me really happy. Second, I was pretty good at ballet and I like doing things I’m good at. I hope I will be able to work back to the level at which I danced as a kid and surpass it.
Besides, cycling does all kinds of crazy stuff to your muscular balance, and ballet can help to rectify that. I have had much opportunity to think abut that since Dave’s Achilles rupture.
Mostly, though, it’s totally an excuse to do drag my husband into a physical activity that I enjoy.
Lastly, I wonder if I will ever develop a hobby that doesn’t somehow involve trotting around in what the rest of the world perceives as elaborate underwear.
Today the air was warm enough to breathe and the sun sidled out and shone gloriously upon the startled world for quite a while.
I told myself last night that I would take the bike today: not just take it, but take it and actually ride it — maybe not to downtown, because mornings are still hard right now, but at least from downtown.
When I left home (with the bike and, for once, everything else I needed to schlep) I remained undecided: try the ride in, or pick up the bus at Taylor?
The indecision resulted from the fact that the roads seemed a little iffy; though the temperature sat well above freezing, patches of slick ice, invisible among the general shiny-puddliness of the morning, mined our driveway and the Court — but I’d already chosen the Karakoram for today’s ride, wit its unstudded tires, and it was too late by then to go back and get the Tricross ready to go.
Less than a quarter mile out, the road made up my mind: I hit a completely invisible patch of ice, fishtailed gracefully a couple of times, and went down with a splat! in the middle of the road.
Fortunately, neither the bike nor I took any major damage. A kindly driver stopped to make sure I was okay, and I thanked him. I walked the bike to the next dry spot in the road and then crept my way to the bus stop.
The ride home proved far less eventful. I went the longish way, and discovered that I am still sufficiently deep in the “depression” side of the spectrum that it felt more grinding than rewarding. Not that I hated riding, or whatever, but the part of me that usually likes to go fast and usually ignores pain has yet to return from its leave of absence.
A couple of times I found myself consciously thinking, “This is a beautiful day. This weather is perfect. These roads are almost empty. I can’t believe I’m not completely blissed out.”
So instead I grumbled my way home at an unimpressive 9-ish MPH overall average, which probably really amounts to about a 10 MPH average, since I hit every possible stoplight, which drives the average down. Still slow. I wasn’t worried about it.
In other news I discovered that Qdoba’s breakfast options are kind of ridiculously high in calories (I missed the stop next to the place where I often eat breakfast), so although I enjoyed this morning’s breakfast burrito, I probably won’t be doing that again. Almost 700 calories for breakfast is too much.
So that’s it for now. I’m still hanging in there. Neither Timothy nor I feel at all prepared for Death March, so we’ll see how that plays out.
Keep the rubber side down.
My father was an alcoholic.
This isn’t surprising.
First, he came (as I do) from the kind of blustery Scottish family that is stereotyped — and perhaps for good reason — as producing burning, brilliant, passionate minds prone to alcoholism. Bipolar disorder runs in the genes, presents itself on a spectrum, is associated with creativity, and predisposes its sufferers to addiction — and therein may lie the grain of truth behind that stereotype.
In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder if those genes derived from his mother’s side. My paternal grandfather was a warm and peaceful man, while my paternal grandmother was a wiry and intense woman given to passionate opinions which she expressed with what I can only describe as forceful restraint. With respect to her own children, she was not infrequently embattled.
In thinking about her now, I realize she may, in fact, have been very much like me. This is not to say that she was a bad person: I am capable of seeing, at this point in my life, that her battles with her children often stemmed from the force of her convictions. She was a person of immense strength. I hope that I possess, at least in part, the qualities of character that were her greatest assets.
Second, my father was a member of the generation that went to war in Viet Nam. He was torn by the forces of his own conscience, I think, and torn — I am almost sure — by the response of the country, which seems to have been violent at both its extremes and probably also in the middle, where the two streams of reaction met.
I spent much of my childhood in fear of my father’s mercurial moods (I should probably discuss another time why that’s actually a good thing, in some regards; I think I would have been a much worse person if I hadn’t learned early that there was something bigger and “badder” than myself). I didn’t doubt that he loved me, but I was the kind of kid who really needed stability, and stability was not something one of Dad’s strengths even after he stopped drinking.
When I was eleven or so, Dad discovered Alcoholics Anonymous, or perhaps Alcoholics Anonymous discovered him, or something like that. I don’t know exactly how it happened — I suppose because I was not the kind of kid who was by nature inclined to inquire into the minds of other people (perhaps ironically, every single career assessment I’ve ever taken has told me to become a psychologist!). All I know is that it changed his life.
I don’t know what the early days were like for him. I don’t know if he tried a few times before he was able to stop drinking, or if he was able to stop at once. It doesn’t matter. I know that he went to a lot of meetings and developed a lot of friendships, and I know, in retrospect, that he worked hard to rebuild his relationship with me. I know that my father rebuilt himself, in a way, or rather that he was rebuilt through grace and through effort and through the support of a community of people who understood him.
I know that the principle of “one day at a time” was central to that process. I know that those one days had added up to seven years of sobriety and counting when my father died.
At this juncture I am beginning to see that I, too, should probably adopt that principle. I’m trying to find ways to apply it: to school, to cycling, to my spiritual journey, such as it is.
I’m reading Forward Day By Day again (if you’re not familiar with it, it’s part of Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal church. Forward Day By Day is a little booklet that comes out every few months or so which includes a daily meditation and some very fine thoughts from people who have done some serious thinking and feeling.
Today’s reading begins with Psalm 88.6:
“You have laid me in the depths of the Pit, in dark places, and in the abyss.”
I can’t help but feeling that that message directly relevant to my own life; that today G-d is speaking directly to all of us who are struggling in dark places through those words. The funny part is that I haven’t looked at Forward Day By Day in a few days. I forget pretty often. So, there it is: serendipity. The message today is terribly relevant.
G-d is an implacable hunter. You can try to escape but you never will. Somewhere in The Seven Storey Mountain Thomas Merton says something about how you can run to the ends of the earth to escape from G-d, and still He will pop up wherever you find yourself.
Serendipity never ceases to amaze me. It has always been serendipity that makes me most keenly aware of the present of G-d in my life. Here it is again, that same serendipity that never fails to shock my soul awake.
The meditation on this passage, which is both wise and gentle, ends,
“The good news? Recovery is possible.”
That’s something I need to hear right now. Even if my particular recovery isn’t from some specific addiction (though I will be the first to note that my personality and my biochemistry are terribly prone to addiction), it is good to hear in that serendipitous whisper from the divine those un-looked for and un-hoped for words, “Recovery is possible.”
The sun will return and spring will come again. Evidently, recovery is possible.
I should probably begin by clarifying that, among the forces that keep me tethered to life during the darkest days of my depressions, faith is foremost. Perhaps because I have already lived through probably the worst things I will ever experience (I hope), or perhaps because of something innate in my nature, my depressions are not accompanied by the sense that G-d has abandoned me or does not see me, but rather by the sense that some defect in my brain is preventing me from feeling and seeing G-d.
I should also state that I don’t mean this as a judgment against anyone else. There is no willpower, no individual strength, involved in this particular phenomenon. I am grateful for it, because I think it probably makes surviving easier than it might otherwise be, but I know that the credit is not mine. If anything, it is a grace that I’ve been granted for reasons I will probably never understand; one which perhaps is not granted to everyone.
The suffering of true depression is real and for everyone it is unique; it wears whatever mask, I suppose, that the basic inclination of one’s own brain conjures for it. For some of us this is the sense of being abandoned by G-d; for others, my sense of turning away even though I don’t want to. Perhaps it says something that I also turn away from my friends; that the first symptom, or nearly the first, is always a withdrawal from the lives of the people who I care about and who care about me.
It is only when I apply conscious thought to it that I am able to see this phenomenon as I describe it here. The rest of the time, I experience it simply as an immense and grinding pressure; a suffocating, all-encompassing, wordless, senseless pain. I experience as darkness and, when I am able to think a little bit, of the absence of hope.
This is not a rational absence: perhaps the worst part is that I am, most often, still able to identify the wellsprings of hope, and even to enumerate the things in the world that are good. It is a completely irrational absence; it is knowing that the wellspring of hope exists, and yet being unable to perceive that wellspring. That is probably the worst part of it: knowing on a purely rational level that there is hope out there to be experienced, and yet being unable to access that hope (it is a similar phenomenon to the deadening of pleasure that accompanies depression, and I suspect it may stem from the same neurological source).
I say this all by way of introduction.
For me, in each of my depressions, there is a moment — in truth, usually several moments — at which some part of me awakens viscerally to the knowledge that there is good in the world and that there is always reason for hope. The merely rational transcends its bonds of flesh and bone and becomes experiential.
I think of this phenomenon as “the return of the sun and the rebirth of joy in the world.” I think of it that way because so often it is linked to that very phenomenon of the natural world — a sunny day after a long grey period — that elicits the sensation, which is one, if not of joy itself, then of the sense that joy can exist. The experience of hope explodes once again into the depths of my soul; it bursts forth and takes wing, however briefly, and lifts me — sometimes a little, sometimes all the way back from the dark depths of my personal sea.
Today I am standing at the gate of one of those moments. It has not come yet, but I can sense that it’s there. A part of me does not trust this particular sensation: a part of me awaits the the failure of hope, instead of its birth. I’m learning to accept that. It is not my rational mind that fails to trust and waits for failure, but rather the disease that ravages my rational mind. It is the same part of me that can know I am loved and still wait on tenterhooks for rejection, refutation, betrayal.
On days like this I try to get out on the bike. The sun — both literally and metaphorically — has returned to the world. The Karakoram is just now riding along on the front of the bus back to Louisville from school, and I am sitting on the bus writing this message. I have not yet felt the stirring of joy, but I sense it nearby; I feel that someday soon it will stir. I am able to advance just a thin scrim of hope — hope that soon my brain will thaw enough to let joy back into my soul.
I may not ride much today. The distance no longer matters. It’s the doing; the surviving-at-all.
A day will return when distance counts. Right now, all that counts is setting first one foot, then the other, outside the dark door of my own little personal Hell.
So the sun has returned and perhaps soon there will be joy in the world again. I feel like right now I’m waiting to live, instead of waiting to die.
I guess that’s all for the moment. I wish I had some more eloquent way to sew this all up — but I don’t. All I can do is repeat: “The sun has returned, and there will be joy in the world.”
I am sort of wrestling my way back to something like normal life, I guess, like a salmon swimming upstream.
The journey seems to be full of setbacks.
All the confidence I had at the beginning of fall semester is gone. Shattered and blown away. All the confidence I briefly gained as a result of winning two categories in our writing competition and reading the judges’ notes, too.
Yesterday, while looking for a Chinese delivery menu, I found those notes again, and the certificates for winning the two divisions I entered. I suppose it should have reminded me that I’m talented. Instead, it just left me with that crippling sense that I will never make anything of the gifts I’ve been given.
Everything in me, every bone in my body, every fiber of my being resists talking about this, writing about it. Part of me really feels like putting it into words will make it true.
Later, when I am in a sounder mind, I will probably realize that’s a stupid way to feel (maybe, by then, the language I use will be a little less judgmental, but I am not censoring myself today) and that it’s easier to tackle the beast once you give it a name (if you haven’t read A Wizard of Earthsea, y’all, do it now).
Now, though, it feels like breathing life into the thing that is trying to chase me down.
Sometimes I think I will never get anywhere. I will finish my undergrad degree and that will be it, and there I will be with student loan debt I didn’t have four years ago and perhaps more knowledge and a really nice GPA and a fancy piece of paper to tell the world I have at least, for once in my life, finished something, but that’s it.
Sometimes I think there is no point in trying to go to grad school. Everyone yammers on about the stress level being astronomical, and even if I live through grad school, as far as I can tell there’s no such thing as part-time practitioner in my chosen fields (health psychology and/or neuroscience). I have absolutely no desire for a full-time “career.” That would leave me no time for the creative work that is so important to me and that keeps getting sidelined.
I would like to do something related to health psychology, but I don’t think being A Psychologist, with a PhD* and a competitive, full-time, super-responsible job is really what I need to do. I just don’t know what else to do, and the Career Planning for Psych Majors class I’m currently taking is not helping. At all. It just leaves me feeling more trapped in that groove.
I was hoping it might help me explore some other options, but it’s very geared towards picking a single goal and then focusing, for the rest of the six weeks, on formulating a plan to get you there. And it’s graded. And a requirement. So I can’t just say, “This is the opposite of working for me,” and walk away.
I realize the answer, as Denis succinctly pointed out, might be to focus on creative work after I graduate … but, to be honest, I am justifiably afraid that I might not be able to do that reliably, either.
Right now, I am not feeling like I can do anything reliably. Not if I am going to go on living a life wherein there are so many days that I wake up and feel like I don’t want to keep living, because the grind of it is too much, and I just can’t keep pushing the boulder up the hill.
In short, I feel like I am a bad investment. I am mentally ill and, more frequently than most people, physically ill**. Every winter nearly undoes me. Every winter I fantasize about moving somewhere where there is no winter, or less winter, or at least where the winter isn’t so freaking grey. Every winter I realize I am X dollars closer to that never happening, because student loans (for the record, I promised myself I wouldn’t put myself in that position, and then I did).
I realize that this probably sounds like so much histrionic whining. I try really hard not to be self-indulgent in that way. I watched enough anime as a kid to have grown up with this deeply-rooted cultural sense that I am supposed to strive and to suffer in silence. I get it.
It just has to get out somehow, sometimes. I really am not entirely sure how many more setbacks I can take.
For what it’s worth, I have an appointment with my GP at the end of the month, and my therapist wants me to see about medication. I have a very checkered history with medication — historically, it has failed to work for me and subjected me to really intolerable side-effects — so I am not too willing, there. But I guess it’s something to consider.
Until then, I apologize, internet, for kvetching like a teenage drama queen. I know, this isn’t LiveJournal.
*Okay, I really would love to have a PhD, just to prove to myself I can do it.
**Evidently I have another sinus infection. This should be No Big Deal, but I am at the end of my rope with the recurrent-sinus-infections thing.