Of Stepping Out on the Ledge & Not Jumping

Y’all were probably expecting the second half of the BSB Drinking Game, right? Well, I decided for my first post in god knows how long, I’d take this blog back to her roots. Mental health & sharing my struggles with it.

Last August, I started at Emory University’s Medical Imaging program (learn how to take x-rays, MRI, CT, etc.) Over the summer, I had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right about the situation. It wasn’t just nerves or worrying about being at a fancyass Southern Ivy League school. It was something more. I chalked it up to Imposter Syndrome & started the semester. For scale – I wanted to be a doctor since I was maybe 10 or 11. Those plans got derailed in college. I went back to school in 2016 to go to pharmacy school. That plan failed because I couldn’t pass calculus. I’d already eliminated being a nurse because of my CNA training. So Medical Imaging seemed like a good healthcare option for me. This should have been right for me. This should have been my place in the healthcare bubble.

I was miserable almost from Day 1. I lost weight, I wasn’t sleeping, the classes were mind numbingly boring, I didn’t like the teachers, & didn’t get along with 2 of my classmates out of a class of 15. I stuck it out thinking that once I got to the last 2 weeks of the semester where we’d have full on clinical experience, it would get better.

My mental health has never declined so quickly in 24 hours in my life. EVER. That includes after Daddums died. I had a breakthrough seizure 3 days into the first week & that’s when I knew it was time to pull the plug. I had suicidal thoughts on & off all semester, but kept them to myself. When I told Mark that I had to quit the program, I told him the truth. I told him the only reason I didn’t do something stupid was because I didn’t want him or Mommums or my sisters to spend the rest of their lives asking why. Could they have done something? Could they have said something? Could they have stopped me? I wasn’t going to put that burden on them, so I lived. Until I couldn’t live like that anymore. I walked away & never looked back.

Immediately people told me how much happier I looked. I could wear nail polish again. I dyed my hair purple. I already knew that I couldn’t fit into someone else’s mold for long. Having to wear black scrubs with a long sleeve shirt underneath to cover my tattoos, no nail polish, & brown hair suffocated me. I got yelled at for wearing fun socks for chrissakes. I was suffocating. I was dying. I may have lost 10 lbs, but it was in all the wrong ways. They stole my identity & for what? A foolish idea that tattoos & purple hair mean I’m incapable of doing my job? That’s not who I am & not how I choose to live. I’m not one to spread sunshine & rainbows, but I do believe that happiness is found by embracing who you are. If that is brown hair, no tattoos, & black scrubs don’t let me stop you. Don’t let someone else dictate who you are or what you should be. It’ll kill you. Trust me, I know.

Another hurdle I had to jump recently was for this past weekend. Daddums has been gone 18 months. It’s gotten to the point now where the numbness has worn off & the pain is more acute. I spent pretty much all of Saturday & most of Sunday sedated. I had to. Then on Monday I got up & had the emotional energy to do my makeup. That was crazy. I took it easy on myself & my body rewarded me.

You’ll all be happy to hear I’m in a much better place now. I’m taking a class with a professor I adore just for shits & giggles. I’m working one shift a week at a part time job I love with people I love. I’m applying to a Master’s program in Applied Linguistics. I have an appointment to meet with a new therapist next week after going without one for over 2 years. Life isn’t perfect. I still have bad days. My brain chemistry still gets out of whack. I’m not standing on a ledge deciding if it’s worth jumping or if I’ll just end up seriously injuring myself.

XOXO!

Current jam: “Fire” BTS

Stalk me:

Twitter: retroindiequeen

Instagram: retroindiequeen

AO3: TheHuntsmansBoss

Of silence and hamsters

An odd phenomenon has been happening in my head recently. Silence. Normally my brain runs a million miles an hour propelled by hamsters on steroids banging on pots and pans. Lately, especially when I’m trying to think about something work related, my brain goes quiet. I’m not necessarily complaining. It’s nice to have a little peace and quiet in there. It’s just jarring. I downloaded a meditation app over the weekend. I think it might actually be working. I’m on Day 3 out of 10. My brain has been more quiet in the past 5 days than probably the past 5 years. I’m not feeling the compulsive need to constantly be doing something. Yes, I have plenty to do, but I’m not in full on panic mode. There isn’t a damn thing I can do about the situation I’ve been presented with. I’ve done what I can. Now it’s up to someone else to do their part. Once they’ve done their part, it’s back to me. I know I’m 100% capable of mastering what’s been laid before me. I know my employee is 100% capable of mastering her part of the process once we have the proper programs and training. I trust my other 2 to keep their systems running without me babysitting them. There have been a few hiccups, as happens, but nothing that has sent me into one of my epic tail spins. I’ll take this as long as I can. There’s much to be said for staying steady with your boss’ boss’ boss asking about the progress of something “urgent”. All that said…

I made the decision recently to scale back my membership at the dance studio. I’ve been kicking myself for “wasting” classes since I renewed the membership in January. I currently have the 30 class / month membership. I called the studio and asked for my activity over the past 3 months. The most I’ve ever used is 14. There’s a lower level membership of 10 classes / month. That seems much more reasonable given my situation. Since I’ve been promoted, things have been far less predictable. Some days I can walk out at 430 on the nose, other days I’m pushing 6. I’ve also discovered the gym in my apartment complex. It doesn’t make much sense to beat myself up over something I love. Earlier today, I was close to texting a (dance teacher) friend of mine and saying “Tell me to grab the ladyballs & try out this technique class”. That doesn’t do anyone any good. My current studio is very squarely in the “recreation” category. The focus is on dance based fitness classes with minimal technique. While the other studio has fitness classes, their focus is more on technique, training, and aspiring professional dancers. As it stands right now, my life doesn’t allow me to consistently go to a class such that I could progress at the rate I want (read – impossibly high standards).

I’ve always been very sensitive to the fact I’m in dance limbo. I started when I was 13, much later than most dancers. I had to take an adult class for several years because I wasn’t at the same level as other dancers my age. I stayed hardcore into dance, progressed quickly, and then stagnated when I was 19. I didn’t take classes regularly again until I was 23. By that point, the technique I’d learned before was all but gone. I haven’t really improved since then. On the flip side, if someone began as an adult, they can devote more time and pick things up more quickly. I was insanely intimidated when I first walked into the training studio. Not only did I walk in late, I walked into a class of people who, as it were, outclassed me. It’s not much fun if I’m thinking “Holy crap, everyone is looking at me! I can’t do this! They’re all laughing! That 10 year old has better technique!”. In the end, it’s fairly simple. If it looks like fun, go for it. If I hate it, no one is going to make me go back. That’s not love, that’s self harm. I’ve had quite enough of that in my life thankyouverymuch.

Maybe that’s where all the hamsters went.

XOXO!