As this first semester draws to a close…

School drives me more than a little crazy. Finals have been a problem for me since I started taking them in middle school. Even when I’m not actively enrolled and taking classes finals time makes me nuts. Every Christmas and every May I lose track of who I am, what I’m doing and, most of all, my sanity. Sometimes it’s better than others, but this year it has been a disaster. This semester is a perfect storm of crazy for me. For posterity, here is what cooperated to make me a puddle this year:

  1. I was off my medication in the beginning to protect Beastly from extra deformities
  2. My insurance is difficult to navigate, resulting in no psychiatric help until Christmas Eve.
  3. My previous insurance was cancelled by my job in June because I was unable to pay their high premiums. This was because I was fighting to get paid since they were trying to deny my long term disability. This resulted in no medication help all summer.
  4. I’m not at all comfortable in my home life. I still don’t know how to behave, or when I need to participate and when I should stay away.
  5. I moved to an entirely new location where I still feel like I know nothing around me, including where it’s safe to go when I really need an escape route.
  6. I am navigating a whole new school, complete with new disability services.
  7. New teachers, new friends, new everything.
  8. I’ve had my first experience with failure where I felt I was capable of doing better.

Honestly, this whole experience feels like it’s left me scarred. I know deep down that that’s not entirely true. I’m at the end of my rope, terrified of failure, and cleaning like a crazy person. Someone told me the other day that I was entering the “nesting” phase of Beastly’s arrival. I laughed because that’s not true. I clean when I’m neurotic. I clean when I’m stressed. I clean when I feel like I have too much on my plate. Why? Because I have complete control over the cleaning even when I don’t have control over anything else, including my brain. It’s the same reason I used to give myself for cutting. The thing about it is I don’t really have control. Not over the cleaning, and I didn’t have control over the cutting either. My brain makes me do it. It’s like a nervous tick. Today I am actually going to go to school to study so I stop cleaning so damn much.

Over break will be different. I’ll be nesting then, by choice not by neurosis. Mostly because I know next semester will be almost as bad as this one, and I want to not worry about Beastly’s arrival in the middle of it. As a result, the room and hallway will be clean, organization will be figured out, and when it gets messy I don’t have to think about it and Terry can put things back where they need to go.

I can’t wait for finals to be over.

Two months past

The last update was October. I’m seriously one of the laziest bloggers ever. Next semester I’m hoping to get on some sort of schedule with this because I’m drowning in self pity and sorrow. Mostly because I feel like there’s no one to talk to about really heavy stuff. I try not to put terrible things on the internet, but then I also realized that this blog was specifically meant as an outlet about my struggles with bipolar (what most people just call life) and the things I find that I want to keep handy.

Since October there have been so many ups and downs. So much failing at school it’s ridiculous, but that seems to be the norm in grad school. A passing grade in my inorganic class is a 50%. Passing in metabolism is going to be a 65%. I can’t tell if they’re grading at super high standards, or if I’ve gotten dumber as I continue through school. Either way I have had the distinct feeling of failure as the lower grades are acceptable. As it turns out I chose to take the wrong cume exams until the most recent and failed those too. As the semester comes to a close the school piece seems to be falling in place. The reduced expectations are becoming kind of a norm, and I did actually get a full pass on the very last cume of the semester. Thank goodness for an English test from Dr. Allen!

Of course, finals time always is my worst mentally. I looked like such crap on Friday that people actually started asking me if I’m ok. I usually try to avoid that, but I can’t wake up. Makeup holds no excitement or interest, even a shower seems like too much work. I’ve been losing whole chunks of time to who-knows-what. I have no idea what I did from 12:15 – 1:00 on Friday afternoon. All I know is I was 10 minutes late for proctoring a test when I thought I would have 10 minutes before the test even began to eat my sandwich. I was extra careful when grading yesterday because the students deserve fair and accurate grades, regardless of how I am behaving.

Along with losing hours of my day, hallucinations have rejoined my sensory experience in full force. I must say that I have not missed being spied on from windows or talked about by friends. Of course, none of those things actually happen, my brain just feels like its a good idea for me to experience them. The nice thing about it is my whole situation has changed. I know that the people I spend my days with don’t say the things I hear them saying. I’ve only known my new friends for a few short months, but they are kind, and for some reason don’t mind me being around. In fact, I even get invited places now. That by itself is kind of strange to me, but in a really fabulous way. We tweet each other, interact on Facebook, text, study, laugh. I feel home in my lab as well. I know my fellow lab people less, but I felt comfortable there right away and my adviser is aware of my struggles and says really kind things about my work ethic. I’m hoping with the close of finals my brain will take a break from treating me like an abusive significant other. I’m also hoping that given some time I will be more comfortable sharing the really shitty things that my brain does with my friends and coworkers.

Eventually I might even be able to believe that my husband doesn’t have too much on his plate, and rely on him as much as he would like as well. The worst feeling in the world is spreading someone else too thin when you’re already struggling to just survive.