Run, Run Fast As You Can

Note to self:  You are super & you are a woman, but you are not Super Woman!

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Nope. I can not do it all all the time.

Even with best intentions no one can achieve it all.  This week was my lesson in learning to take time to care for me.

Last week found me caring for mom, dad, three parrots, four dogs & anything else I could.  Setting up my “new” space at their house and trying to adjust to living with other humans again (things like bath robes and earphones come into play when you share space with family, nurses, etc. at all hours).  Then I dashed off to drive 3 hours to my house to rush in to start this semester of classes.  In my haste I left behind one of the medications I take, but what is a couple of days? PLENTY.  Spent time being outside of class making up for lost time running around trying to be 6 places at once.  Lack of ambien (darn needing to pick up refills), the sudden influx of helicopter traffic in my neighborhood & dealing with night terrors every 2 hours had me zombie eyed & wishing for time to sleep.

I crashed.  Hard.

The added stress of everything kicks up symptoms anyway.  Being in public shopping recently has been harder.  I’m in no way back to being where I was at my worst, but I recognize the pattern.  Go somewhere, breathing starts getting harder, head feels spacey, everything seems extra loud including the blood pulsing rapidly through every inch of my body.  After about 15 to 20 minutes I start to feel like my insides are going from concrete to slush & back again.  I fidget nervously.  Usually if I can move about I can release some of the adrenaline & try to calm down a little.  Feeling trapped makes it worse.  It can be something as simple as being “trapped” by having to wait on someone else or a check out line.  I recognize there is no real threat, but my body doesn’t listen to my rational mind in these moments.

Fight or flight is pure animal instinct.  You can discuss as much as you want, it will be as it will be.  Once an attack starts, it is very hard to stop.

With a regular schedule, sleep & my medicine, I keep in control of it all.

This past week I had not a single one of those three.

My first class went great.  It was less than an hour & even the professor was a familiar face.  Second class was slated for 3 hours, but didn’t last that long.  The professor is great.  Intense, but great.  Going around the room introducing ourselves has never been a favorite game for me but I survived.  Panic? yup but I kept it under control.  3rd class I was less successful.  It was only 2 hours and was same group as the 1st class but I lost it.  Klonapin, internal dialogue  stepping out to group in the bathroom & move around didn’t help.  I ended up in full-blown panic mode.  After leaving the class for a 2nd time (this time with books in hand), I barely made it home – my safe zone.  Once there it still took a while to calm down.  Then my body was so exhausted I ended up falling asleep for a few hours.  I really didn’t think I would be able to make it to my fourth class (the 1st session of the 3rd course).  I did.  It was a major struggle to stay through but I did it.

Once someone has a panic attack somewhere, for some reason it is more common for them to have another one there.  Being in the same exact classroom for all my classes doesn’t exactly help.

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Still I refuse to give up.  I have fought hard for far too long to let myself slip backwards.  At the same time, I recognize that everything going on in my world right now is very tough.  Can’t be too hard on myself.

I’m extremely grateful that the professor I have in the class where I had to leave part way through is understanding.  Hindsight I probably should have explained what was going on prior, but it is tough.  I want to be respected for the work I do same as any other student in that class.  Still at this point I am glad she is aware of my situation with my mom & living in two places at the moment.  There is some comfort knowing that she is willing to work with me if need be.

So first week almost down.  Lessons noted.  I have GOT to be sure my oxygen mask goes & stays on first before assisting my fellow passengers. ha ha.

Which is why this afternoon I am relaxing.  Back on ALL my medications and ready to get a 2nd full night of sleep.

I have full faith I will find the balance in all this.

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What Matters Really

So yesterday was a freak out day.

We all get them now & then.  Doesn’t make them easier to deal with but at least they like all other days, only can last 24 hours.

Part of what was really bothering me was making that danged Will, Living Will, Powers of Attorneys & Health Care Power of Attorney.  It was just for a class assignment, but we also notarized them and made them legit – if the student chose to.  Its something I didn’t have, so why not?  Its needed.

In making it, it forced me to really look at my life.  What I would leave behind if today was the day.

What did I value?  What made it into my will?

Funny enough, I didn’t think about my camera equipment, jewelry or anything that can be insured.  What I stressed about was Baxter & the birds.  They are what matters to me.  No I didn’t leave them all my money (what money?) but what I did do was spell out exactly what should happen if I go prior to them.  Baxter has to have a loving home where he will be a valued companion.  He has been abandoned before & I don’t want him to end up back in an animal shelter.  The birds, well I know what happens to parrots that end up at animal shelters.  Mine will never go (or go back) there.  They have to go to a rescue group that specializes in re-homing  companion parrots or a sanctuary.

The other depressing part was… who to name.  Makes you really see where the heart strings are…. or aren’t.  Who can you trust?

Sadly family is very limited right now & the likelihood of my parents outliving me isn’t one I can count on.  My sister is here & brother in law, but beyond that?

Slightly depressing? you betcha.

As much as I study and strive to do the best at whatever career I so chose, at the end, its family that is by your side.  They are the ones who remember you.  They are what matter most.

Which frankly scared the hell out of me.

Already know what its like to lose family and not looking forward to the declining numbers.  Still it escapes me on how family is made.  (yes I know the biology class how to part) How it all bonds together over the years.  Two singles become the couple that develops into the start of the family.  So strange and magical, yet happens daily all over the world.

more realistically this blog!

I’m not at a place in my life where I am ready for kids just yet, but still scary to think that I’m also not at a place where I have that strong couples bond.  Not something I can fake or force.

What I really have to come to terms with is if I’m ok with the opposite.  Can I be that person who stands on their own til the end?  How do I make my life worth having been through?  Guess that is something I think we have to ask everyday.  Treat each day as a way to bring something better into it.

Figure out how to find the inner peace and be proud of who we have been and are because really that is what matters most.

…..well as far as I can tell….

Hoping that all works itself out quickly & that I can attend classes that aren’t so close to home and depressing.  Bring on the legal research & torts cases!  On a positive side, it is good to think through things and may be exactly what needed to happen sooner or later.  On to better days!

Out of Thin Air

As much as a 3 day week sounds blissful, I’m starting to see the downsides.  Four days off are nothing to complain about, but reality is the 3 days I am in school and trying to get everything done are intense.  Add in trying to date and have a life and its the perfect storm for needing those 4 recovery days.  At least when they are weeks like this one.

Working? um… why would I? to pay bills? Ha!  That implies there are actually jobs available that will be flexible enough to work with school schedules! Right. Not in this area lately.

Sure I could go for the Do You Want Fries With That option I guess, but I am trying to avoid the Freshman Fifteen this go around (does a 2 year associates even have a Freshman year?) and in all reality the minimum wage for busting my ass route is just going to leave me with no energy to study anything.  So what’s the point? I’d flunk out anyway.

Thought that Grants & Scholarships would be extremely helpful this go around since the first time I did college I didn’t go for any at all.  I was extremely lucky in that my grandparents & parents did some serious sacrificing and planning to put me through starting the day I was born.  So since I haven’t even used assistance before, why not now right? WRONG.  No longer eligible.

here have some cash… just kidding!

The grant I got – turns out someone in Financial Aid is a moron.  They gave me money yet some how are now saying I didn’t qualify for it.  So they took it back.  Why don’t I qualify? bad grades? shady past? criminal records? blue eye shadow?  Nope.  Simply because I have a degree.  A degree I was honest about from the get go in applying to school.

So now I owe several hundred dollars which they let me use at the bookstore for this now imaginary grant.  Which has to be repaid before I can register for classes next week.  Not sure how many people who aren’t working actually have that money just laying around without any purpose, but its not this girl.

Everything I have goes to getting by.  Sure I’m not eating ramen every night, but I have cut back on a lot of expenses since starting school.  So much so that I’m frustrated in a lot of ways.  But that is adulthood.  Not very many people do have tons of extra money to just toss.  Its a trade off I am willing to make.  Every purchase matters more now.  If I decide to go get a cup of coffee out, that means I have to cut corners elsewhere.  Its life.

Still I’m at the point where, its starting not to work.

Added unexpected expenses, like the grant I now have to repay along with the tuition for next year, are just not working out.

So stressed? You betcha.

What’s a girl to do?  There are several places hiring for full time.  One side of me says to take a step back and start working again.  School will be there when I can get to it.  Maybe take one night class for the next decade.   Still going full time would mean I am done and working in a job I am going to want to be in, in roughly another year and a half.  IF I can get there.

Student loans? As much as my parents really don’t want me to take on more debt… they are starting to seem like a very real option.  Scary as it may be, the money has to come from somewhere.

Between trying to figure all this out and finalizing a will & end of life paperwork (for class, but still hit me hard emotionally), study for exams, stay up on readings, prepare for a speech (um… got an A even with um… saying um… way more than um… I wanted to!) and doing photowalks, honoring soldiers and staying connected with friends, I AM BEAT.  My brain feels fried.  Deep fried.

Still no stopping now.  It may be my “weekend” but there is laundry to do, bags to pack, roads to travel with family waiting at the end to see.  Oh yeah… & homework. Lots and lots of homework.  With another exam waiting for me at 11 am on Monday.

this is my favorite mug. tends to always be dirty.

Thank goddess for the Keurig & pug snuggles.