4 posts in this topic
Room to breathe
There are a few triggers in here, so be forewarned.
School doesn't matter.
That's not to say it always doesn't matter. But it doesn't matter enough. That is to say, it matters in the sense that a education is definitely a good thing, but it doesn't matter enough to justify the agony that has accompanied it for me.
Sometimes I do okay in school. I can focus, my grades are stellar, and I get an immense sense of accomplishment from being top of my class. But, on the other hand, I cannot say that it is uncommon for school to trigger me; for the stress to send me in a downward spiral so hard and fast that it nearly ends in a suicidal overdose. Not that I've ever OD'd before, but I've come very close on several occasions; my voice cracking a bit as I try to act normal for the cashier at the pharmacy, my hands quivering as I count out the pills. But something always snaps me back, and in a brief moment of relative sanity I leave the pharmacy empty-handed or I flush the pills down the toilet.
As I now step back, in these final weeks of my education, I can only shake my head and wonder how I managed to deal with it, tolerate it, and normalize it for so long.
Another degree is not something that is worth dying over. I realize that now.
And this is the lesson I will take along with me as I try to move forward with my life. The lesson that, even if something is highly valued by society, it is not worth pursuing if it's going to drive you to suicide.
Maybe my choice to leave school is damning myself to a life of relative poverty. But at least I'm not likely to be dead by my own hands. And for that I'll take the life of poverty and all the stresses and agonies that come with it. At least then my entire existence won't be boiled down to a grade in a college computer system. I can be a person again. I can have a life again. It will no loner be a life of study-study-read-class-paper-homework-class-paper-quiz-study-test with no room to breathe. No room to live.
Panic attacks and school
My grade for my chemistry class just got worse.
I had a quiz today in my chemistry class, but I didn't really study enough for it, since I forgot about it until today. Before class I started to break down again. I had a panic attack. I couldn't breathe. I gasped for air as I sobbed. I threw up. This panic attack lasted for over two hours. I couldn't find my ativan and I felt helpless to stop the attack.
I feel like part of why I had the panic attack was because I was already in an emotionally precarious place after yesterday's breakdown.
Needless to say, I didn't go to class.
Missing the quiz is going to bring my grade for the class down by 4 points. I'm already struggling, and I needed those 4 points.
I feel terrible right now, and I feel like a complete fuck-up.
Maybe I shouldn't even bother returning to school next semester.
I don't know what I want to be...
Right now some parts of my life really suck. Dealing with the bipolar, living in poverty, and sometimes feeling like everything is just so damn hopeless. But I want it to get better, I really do. I yearn for a middle class life. One where every problem doesn't have to turn into a crisis for lack of resources to fix it. One where my financial stability will help to bolster my mental and emotional stability. Some may call it materialistic. I call it self-preservation.
I am doing my best. I am trying to make that middle class life for myself. But it's hard.
Because of the bipolar, I have a great deal of difficulty working full-time. Every time I've tried it I've nearly ended up having to go into inpatient. I buckle under the stress.
I'm almost 25. I have a Bachelor's degree in fine arts from a highly-regarded arts university. But now I'm working a job with low wages, no connections to my field, and no hopes for promotion. It's not that I couldn't have gotten a job in my field straight out of art school. It's just that in the end I was so burnt out, and I wanted nothing to do with my field.
I want to have a good life for myself. And I am working to make that a reality. But I'm still unsure of what to do.
I am currently trying to get into school for dental hygiene, because it would give me good wages for pat-time work. Something to the tune of 34USD/hr. Much better than the 10USD/hr I make now. I don't think I'll hate it. Heck, I might even like being a hygienist. I am doing prerequisite courses and am doing my best to get good grades. However, I am uncertain if dental hygiene is really right for me.
Before the bipolar became a big issue in my life (but after art school), I wanted to be a high school teacher. I have tutored middle school students in the past, and I loved it. But I gave up on my dream of teaching because I don't feel I could handle the 5-day a week schedule, plus all the off-hours work (lesson plans, grading, etc.)
But my dad is a teacher, and he has been pushing me to reevaluate my decision to ditch teaching. He recently informed me that arts are always on the chopping block when it comes to schools reducing programs (which I already knew. The arts always get the short end of things.) But as he also mentioned that as an effect of that, there are now 1/2 time and 3/4 time positions available for art teachers, instead of just full-time work (which I did not know.)
I was initially so burned out from art school that I thought I'd never ever want to touch art again. But I have been slowly getting back into it as of late. So now don't know. Maybe I should try to become an art teacher. I could work part time, make enough to live comfortably, and I would have adult benefits like health insurance, dental, a retirement plan, and a union. I wold also have summers, weekends, and holidays off, plus week-long school vacations throughout the year. The money wouldn't be excellent, but It wouldn't be bad either. It would be less than a hygienist, but I'd have to work less, and I'd have a benefits package. Also, the state would pay for my graduate degree in education, which is another perk. I love school (even if I occasionally want to throw my textbooks out the window), so the ability for me to further my education and get a graduate degree is very appealing to me.
When I used to tutor students I had such a passion for it. I loved it, and I loved that I could have a positive impact on kid's lives. I wasn't the best tutor ever, but I managed to help my students improve their skills rather dramatically. I just wanted to see my students succeed. To reassure them that they could learn, that they were worth something, and that someone believed in them.
For now, I have to wait until September to actually sort things out. My plan for right now is to give both options some attention. I'll continue my prerequisite courses for the dental program. But I also applied for a volunteer position as an after-school art tutor that I am going to try to do one or two days a week. I am also studying for the state teaching exams; the communication and literacy exam (everyone has to take that in my state), the art exam, and maybe the GED exam (so I can maybe teach GED students if I don't get another part-time teaching position straight away.) I'll apply for the dental program, and spend my summer applying for teaching positions or possibly a teaching post-baccalaureate program. I'll see where things go from there. Maybe I'll be able to get a teaching job by next September. Or maybe I'll just stay in school and become a hygienist. I don't know.
I'm just trying to figure things out. I'm hoping that I have my life somewhat more together by the time I'm 30.