I’m never really sure exactly what people are expecting in a day. Of course, I’m never really sure what people are expecting at all. It just seems most people are expecting nothing unusual to happen. Are there days like that? Are there people who have days like that?
I can’t recall a day when it hasn’t been something akin to extreme highs and extreme lows. Most of my life has been the latter. Since I left my ex and my extended family, more of it has become the former. Since I had my breakdown almost a year ago, I’ve been trying to find a way to keep my response to both even.
There is a certain extent to which I attempt to control my environment. I try to keep things in order, to write lists of things that need to be done, to keep everything where it should be, and all those other things the books say will help with your stress.
Over the last month, that has not been easy to do. Since the beginning of the third week of school, life has been chaos and hell. Two weeks ago I thought it was over and tried to restart a sense of order, and now I’ve been sick for those two weeks. In my life, it’s always something, and it’s always something huge.
Today is another day when things have been all over the place. Low, then high, then low, and now abysmal. And so I’m sitting in what I call a “cubby bench” at school, which is just a bench built into an alcove where you can sit and hopefully no one will join you. And if they do, they probably know you are there because you don’t want to talk to anyone.
The order of events is important when self-examining to prevent future panic. And the trigger for me began a few weeks go when I realized that I now have an absolutely sure graduation date.
See, I’ve been playing around, back and forth with the idea of, “Will I continue with the Bio part of my major at Uni, or will I only continue with the English?” Continuing with Bio means at least 2+ more years here—it takes a long time to get through a double major. But taking the AS and just continuing in English will put me out of here at the end of the 2021 term. A year, at least, earlier than continuing in Bio.
It would give us a chance to move at the beginning of K’s college as well as J’s high school so she could start in an entirely different part of the state, far away from anyone who ever knew her. She’s smart and she deserves more of a teacher than a distracted college student with a job and five kids.
And, until today, I was pretty OK with it. Yes, there’s that underlying fear of the unknown, but it is inevitable so it seemed to be something I would be able to deal with.
Today, our school counseling office came around the smaller campus classes to remind us that registration for next term is looming and we should get our appointments set now. OK, just a little flicker of panic.
Then I went to the office to make said appointment and had to explain to them that I have 1.5 years after this term. Something about that set me off. I think it was the fact that I had to admit it to people who could “do something about it” instead of just my friends. It’s one thing to talk in generalities, it’s another to know it’s going down on paper and that this time next year my time outside class and studies will be consumed with Uni applications and all that entails.
The most important thing I’ve taught myself over the last year since the breakdown is to listen to myself and believe myself. I was fortunate that for part of that year I had a good therapist who guided me in that direction. I don’t have that anymore, but I do know that this is what works.
Anxiety is couched in truth. By that I mean the thoughts of the anxious mind are telling us something and we must review them.
My thoughts are not lies. The anxiety is about something real. When I graduate, I do not know what will happen. How will I afford the rest of my education? How will my kids do with moving? Where will we live? How will I keep from getting lost in the system at a huge university when I am used to my current institution which is so good it is one of the top 10 Community Colleges in the nation?
There are a million questions and none of them are untrue. I worry because I know it won’t be easy. The anxiety is not a lie, but it is something to remind me that I need to work to be prepared for change. It reminds me that none of what I do will ever be easy and I need to accept that fact.
I can let that fear control me, or I can use it to guide me to find ways to work these things out, to find ways to prepare myself for the change and stress that is always inevitable.
We pay lip service to life being constantly changing and to the trials we most certainly have to face. Most people can’t take it and they let life go on and pass them by. Because, no matter how much they dislike their current situation, the unknown scares them and they have never learned what to do with that fear.
I prefer to let the fear be a compass to guide me to learn about myself and, most importantly, to strengthen myself to face the unknown. Because life is 100% unknown and thinking you can play it safe by letting it pass you by is just a way to be unprepared for the stressful things that will always come your way.