Category Archives: School

Definitely feeling better.

Since I went off the Geodon, I’ve signed up for a math class at the community college (for fun; I’ve always wanted to learn calculus and never got the chance) and submitted my resume to a local temp agency in hopes of finding a part-time job.  If I wind up having to withdraw from the class, or I get fired, it’s okay.  It’s trying that’s the important part.

Admittedly, the main reason for job-hunting is my teeth.  I need $2400 in dental work, and am still paying off $2700 from earlier this year.  Why Medicare doesn’t cover dental is beyond me…  It’ll still take a while to get the money saved up.  I’m only allowed to make $700 a month, and Social Security takes half of that because I’m on disability. But it’ll still be a little extra every month towards dental stuff.  And it’ll be a job, because working will make me feel useful.

Ideally I’d like to work at the library, but their part-time jobs are 20 hours a week and that’s too much for me to handle.  So I’m looking for back-office clerical work: data entry, filing, etc.  Wish me luck!

Life update: a depression edition

When last I left off, I was about to head to the local mental health event.  I went, got there late, wound up not seeing anyone I knew except for one person I used to be friends with ages ago (and was very glad to see, and we’ll be hanging out some after I move).  So all that worry was for nothing.

Since then I’ve descended into a godawful depression, caused by school stress.  I got behind on my work, started freaking out about it, and that led to a vicious cycle that wound up with me hearing things: voices laughing and whispering about how I’d lost control, music that no one could hear but me, etc.  Plus panic attacks.  I saw my psychiatrist yesterday morning.  I went in telling her “I’m just stressed so there’s no need for anything but a refill on my meds,” but then she started asking questions about symptoms and I nearly started crying two different times because holy fuck, I’m more messed up than I thought I was.  She said she’d write a letter to my school disability office telling them I need an Incomplete for the term, so when I got home I emailed the office to say, “hey, I’m in crisis and my doctor will say so,” and they contacted my professor who agreed to give me the I.  You have no idea how relieved I was.  Am.  My sister, wonderful soul that she is, has been helping me get my research done for my term project and being extra-encouraging, despite having a full-time job and a family.  I don’t know what I did to deserve her.

So I’m taking this weekend to recover a little and work on packing boxes.  The movers are coming next Saturday to take our furniture over to the new apartment, so Mom and I have to bust our asses this week getting ready for them.  Mom’s lived in this house for 25 years, and we’re throwing out more stuff than we’re taking with us.  (I have very little here, but I’m helping her go through all her shit.)

I also need to get back in touch with the nonprofit director; I had warned him I had major school shit going on last week and this week, and now that I can breathe again I need to do some stuff with moving domains and registering a new one.

My niece is finding me super-useful as Knowledgeable Adult lately.  I’m not going to get into details, but she’s trying to find herself and I’m able to give advice about some things.  I’m also babysitting for my sister whenever she needs me, and generally I’m trying to be a good family member and help everyone as much as they’ve been helping me.  I’ve been saying ever since I got sick (17 years ago) that I’m lucky to have an excellent support network.  I’m glad I can give back some.

It’s 4:15 in the morning.  I’ve been awake all night.  Being crazy sucks.  Maybe I’ll try to get some homework done…

School update

Four weeks left of my final class for my degree.  I was falling apart about it, but Sis and BFF pulled me back from the brink Sunday and I spent a good chunk of time yesterday doing homework.  Sunday night I emailed my prof asking if I could make up some work, explaining that I’m crazy and am getting divorced and had to move cities, and this is the last class I need to graduate and I only need a C (but would prefer to do better, naturally) so could he help?  My sister is actually the one who wrote the email.  She’s had to do it for her husband, who also has schizoaffective disorder and is also in school.  Prof hasn’t gotten back to me yet.  Hopefully today. bites nails anxiously

For years now I’ve said that once I graduated I want to take some classes just for fun at the community college.  Chemistry, calculus 1-3, and physics.  One class at a time, no pressure.  I’d audit, but if I ever go back for another bachelor’s (gimme 5 years first) it’ll be something science-related (or Stats!) and I’ll need those classes anyway.  Yesterday I filled out my readmission request for the CC, aiming for spring term.  That’ll give me two months off of school before I start my fun classes.  During that time I’ll be getting a math tutor.  It’s been 5 years since my last math class, and I need a refresher.

My depression has lifted quite a bit in the last 24 hours, but I’m concerned that I might be veering the other direction a little.  I’ve been awake for 22 hours and I’m not even slightly sleepy.  Annoying.  I need to get tired so I can do more homework and not sleep through my cello lesson in the afternoon!

I’m not dead, I promise!

But I am just coming out of an extended, serious depression.  It started in April.  I didn’t get online for three months except to read fanfic.  (BBC Sherlock is my imaginary boyfriend.)  Hell, I didn’t even talk to my mother for two months, and she’s one of my two favorite people in the whole world (the other being the Valkyrie).  I was a wreck.  I started feeling a bit better a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday my doctor had me add Ritalin to my daily medication cocktail and I’ve actually gotten out of bed.  Better living through modern medicine!

So this post is going to be a rather long life update…

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First session of my final class!

I went to the first meeting of my class tonight. which is huge, because I was panicking at the thought of an in-person class. Absolutely fucking terrified. I could take it online, but I usually do better on classes when I do them in person. So I sucked it up and made myself go.

It was… not bad. and the cool girl who was in my last in-person class was there. This is her last class for her degree, too. (It’s the capstone class, one everyone has to take for a psych degree at my school.) We’ve decided to do our group project together, because neither of us want to do a group project. She’s thinking about waiting on grad school because she’s also a musician and she wants to go tour with her band for a year or two before settling down for her master’s. Oh, and she’s a lesbian and knows I’m trans. So yay!

This class is kind of interesting in that it’s so unbelievably basic. It’s like a refresher for Psych 101 that we all took as freshmen. The professor even said, “this is an easy class except for the paper you have to do.” Which we have all semester to work on. I already know what I want to do it on, if Cool Girl likes my topic. (Yes, we have to write a paper together. And here I previously liked this professor!) Tonight’s class was on “philosophers who inspired psychology” (mostly ancient Greeks with some Thomas Aquinas and Rene Descartes thrown in) and it was practically high-school level. I kept myself entertained by forcing myself not to jump into the lecture and tell the professor all the stuff I know that she was leaving out. I did speak up when she didn’t know what the four humors were called, though. Her first language is Spanish and she didn’t know what word to use in English, so I wasn’t correcting her, just being helpful. I hope.

After class the girl sitting across from me was all, “can I work with you?” and, well, earlier when we went around and introduced ourselves she didn’t seem to be the brightest bulb in the bunch. Her next sentence was, “and if you want to work alone, can you maybe give me an idea for my paper? Because I can’t think of one.” Sigh. I told her I would think about it, but later I asked Cool Girl instead, for she is intelligent and actually takes notes in class (unlike half the class, WTF). Also she won’t make me do all the work, which is good.  We swapped phone numbers and I’ll text her tomorrow.

There was also this guy.  He’s a fucking moron.  He was in my last in-person class too.  How he hasn’t failed out is beyond me.  The class started at 5:30.  He came crashing in at 6:30.  The prof, who was in the middle of the lecture, looked at him with mild incredulity and asked him if he was supposed to be in the class.  He gave her a big idiotic grin and said, “Yep!  I’m gonna graduate!”  I think everyone in the room wanted to slap him upside the head.  I know I wanted to, and the prof looked tempted herself.  This is the same guy who spent 15 minutes last year asking that class’ professor how to log into the student portal.  She would tell him, and he would get confused by “click on this link and enter your student ID number” and she’d explain it to him again, and finally she told him she couldn’t help him if he didn’t understand and he should call the helpdesk.  Seriously, 90% of our classes have an online component or else are completely online.  I really don’t understand why he hasn’t failed out yet.  Is it ableist to be pissed at someone for being a dumbass?  At least he didn’t talk during the lecture.  If he had I was ready to tell him to shut it.

So yeah, I went, and I’m proud of myself for not letting anxiety win today.  I can has cookie?

Life update (including the Against Me! concert)

Against Me! was amazing.  That was Thursday night in Orlando.  The Valkyrie and the Naiad got to meet Laura Jane Grace after the show, and they were over the moon about it.  The Valkyrie got Laura to autograph her Midori cover with a Sharpie.  It’s awesome.

Other stuff that’s been going on:

I’m not going to be able to have my hysterectomy this Wednesday.  I’m sick.  Breathing hurts, my sinuses hurt…  Yeah, no surgery.  I’ll schedule it for May or so, after my semester is over.

This last Wednesday I found out that the Valkyrie didn’t know she was triggering me for all these years.  We were both horrified that I’d never told her, that she’d never known.  Talking about it made everything better.  I’m so happy.

Thursday I had lunch with my former BFF.  She wants to be friends again, saying she’d never stopped being my friend.  She just needed time to heal from the death of her cat while she was away, and that seeing me reminded her of the cat.  She doesn’t seem to understand that she could have said that to me in one sentence way back when and we could have avoided everything that happened after.  She says she’s sorry for being an asshole about it, but… I dunno.  We’ll see what happens.

Friday I attended a seminar about dealing with compassion fatigue.  It was… okay.  Not as good as I’d hoped for, and the heteronormativity of the old white cis male presenter annoyed the fuck out of me.  (Seriously, for a laugh he had talking dolls that were supposed to be the perfect girlfriend and boyfriend.  The girl said shit like, “It’s okay that you left the toilet seat up, honey.  It makes it easier for me to clean.”  The boy said things like, “Can we go cuddle and just talk?”  It was offensive as fuck.)

Saturday I ran errands and then laid around the house a bunch because my hip hurt.

Today I drove up to my mom’s house (75 miles away) to do some stuff around her house for her.  I am very annoyed that my sister can’t drive the five minutes to Mom’s house to change a freaking light bulb.  We had a nice lunch, though, and I dug through a 13 year old box that I’d left behind when my ex-boyfriend and I broke up.  There was one of his sweatshirts in there.  Now I have long-sleeved shirts belonging to two dead exes.  (The other is a jacket given to me by a girlfriend around the time she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.)  It’s… weird.  Also in that box was a forgotten and unopened gift from a friend who killed himself about five years ago.  I haven’t opened it yet.  I’m not ready.

And that’s been my week.  I’ll probably go to bed early tonight, as the Valkyrie has physical therapy in the morning…

Birthday, and applying to grad school

Yesterday was my birthday.  It started off just after midnight, when the Valkyrie and the Naiad and I all exchanged presents.  V got me an adorable owl coin purse…

From JetPens

and a Manatea tea strainer that had me laughing my ass off.

From Amazon

I had seen both these things online months ago, thought they were adorable, and never got around to buying them for myself.  Which means they were perfect presents.  The Naiad bought me a Lamy Al-Star in Ocean Blue, and some gorgeous BFL wool.

Woolgatherings BFL from the Naiad

I had bought Valentine’s presents for the girls.  The Valkyrie received a handful of awesome washi tapes, instead of roses.  They were skulls and circuit boards and black lace and…  there were six different ones, I think.  And I got the Naiad a glass dip pen and a subscription to Goulet Pens’ Ink Drop, which is for both of us, so we can try new fountain pen inks every month.  V&N exchanged presents, too — N got V a nice pen and some washi tape (as V is obsessed with the stuff), and V got N a really pretty amethyst ring.  They were all mushy and it was totes adorbs.

Saturday morning I spent an hour and a half in a Barnes & Noble with my mom, sis, and sis’ family.  We had a great time.  The B&N we met at is huge.  The cafe has spinach-and-feta-stuffed soft pretzels that are to die for.  Mom and I will definitely be meeting there sometimes.  Anyway, I was talking to my sister about whether or not I want to reapply to grad school.  She said that I sounded like I did.  So this evening I wrote up my application essay.  I’m having a few people look it over, and then I’ll submit it tomorrow.  Gulp.  Sis got me an Amazon gift card, which I used to order a canvas backpack.

After B&N, Mom and I went to lunch at Red Lobster.  It’s a birthday tradition.  She’s taken me there for my birthday lunch almost every year we’ve lived with/near each other since I was a kid.  I didn’t get the annual Birthday Daiquiri because drinking makes me feel awful these days, but I had lobster tail and shrimp scampi so I was happy.  After dinner I got my gift from her, which was the Cuisinart electric tea kettle I’d been drooling over for a while.

For dinner back at my house, we had steaks, and I consumed a pound of cooked and peeled shrimp with some of my MIL’s delicious homemade cocktail sauce (with enough horseradish in it to completely clear out my sinuses).  For dessert there was a cake, and there was singing and candles.  MIL gave me two Lamy Al-Stars, in ruby red and raspberry.  They’re both pretty rare pens.  They were not a surprise, as I’m the one who ordered them with her credit card.  But I love them all the same.

I had a bit of a cry last night because I was missing my BFF, but otherwise had a nice time playing Dying Light with the girls and knitting.  I didn’t get to bed until after six this morning because I was covered in cats.  After I got up this morning, MIL and N and I went to the Russell Stover outlet, and I behaved myself.  Shocking.

Okay, back to working on my grad school application.  I don’t have to do too much for it, as all my paperwork and recommendations from last year are still valid.  All I have to do is some minor stuff, and then turn it in.  Wish me luck.

Happy birthday, Isaac Newton!

Bad blogger, no cookie — ten days since my last entry.  Shame on me.  I’ve been journaling a lot, but it’s been on paper instead of online.

My family has always done Christmas stuff on Xmas Eve, and then Xmas day is for laying around in pajamas and nomming leftovers. So yesterday we ate too much and opened presents. I picked out most of the presents people gave each other as well as the ones I gave, so I really enjoyed seeing everyone open the gifts I’d chosen for them.  I was pretty much on target with all of them, assuming my family members are better at faking emotions than I think they are.  I received some cool shit.  A Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, a sweet Golding mini spindle, some fascinating-looking books, and some little stuff, all of which I liked a lot.

I won’t list everything I chose for other people, but I had to mention that I got the Naiad a Pilot Kukuno from JetPens and I think she’s now hooked for life on fountain pens.  While I was napping earlier today she ordered herself a Metropolitan like my new one, because she likes mine so much.  (I am so happy with mine, btw.  Writes wonderfully and has instantly become a favorite.)  This weekend I’m going to ink up some of my pen collections so she can see what different styles and nibs feel like.  She’s very excited.  Makes me happy.

Random stuff:

  • Got a B+ in my class.  Must have done better on my mock therapy session than I thought!
  • The Naiad will be here permanently Jan. 6th.  Which is good, because driving to get her twice a week sucks.
  • Awesome Niece was here from Sunday to yesterday.  Goddamn I love that kid.  She’s turning into an amazing young woman.
  • I started a new medication today.  Risperdal is replacing my Invega.  Doing the titration now.  Wish me luck.
  • The pocket Moleskine I started journaling in on Nov. 11th is nearly full.  I’ll be starting a new one in a few days.  Looking forward to it.  I also treated myself to a Moleskine 2015 weekly planner, because things disappear from my iCloud calendar on a regular basis.  That’s a problem.  So the Moleskine will be a backup calendar. I need one.

I’ve been sleepy all day because of the new medication.  Bedtime soon, I think…

Semester’s done.

Saturday I turned in my final test.  Now I just have to wait for my grades.  As long as I get at least a C I’ll be happy.  A B would be even better.  I’m not holding my breath for an A, but a B would be nice.

I talked to the grad program at my desired grad school.  Turns out that, since it’s been less than a year since I last applied there, they will automatically use all my old documents and recommendations for the new application.  I just have to rewrite part of my Personal Statement to include my thoughts on diversity and my agreement to adhere by the professional code of ethics.  I suspect this is because a couple of would-be counselors (in psychology, I think, but the end result is being a counselor with either degree) sued their grad schools because the schools expected them to accept diversity.  I actually did a short paper on the subject for my last class.  The students — both Christian women — refused to see clients who didn’t match their sexual morals, and sued when they were kicked out because they felt it was religious discrimination.  In both cases, the respective judges found that students who enter a field of study that has a written code of professional ethics will be held to those ethics, and if they refuse to follow that code then it’s not discrimination against them.  They’re just being bigoted dicks.  (The judges didn’t say that last part.  That’s all me.)  If you’re interested in the cases, btw, summaries are here and here.

Anyway, rewriting my Personal Statement won’t take very long, so my goal for this week is to get that done and complete the application process.  I am nervous as fuck, but there’s no harm in trying again, right?


Finished my paper!

Yesterday I finished my paper.  The goal was 3-6 pages.  I wrote 5.25.  I actually got a little carried away.  Once I got into it, I got fascinated with existential therapy all over again.  Logotherapy was developed by a Nazi concentration camp survivor, and the short version is that it’s about finding meaning and purpose in life in order to cure existential depression and anxiety.  It’s quite cool.  I didn’t know what it was really about when I picked the topic, and I’m glad I chose it because I think the philosophy of it will be useful for me if I manage to become a social worker.  There’s a lot about respecting the humanity of the client and not just treating them as a problem in need of repair, and that appeals to me.

It’s funny — I read the news or check Twitter and I hate humanity all over again, but I love helping individual people.  I’m awfully caring for a misanthrope.

Related: the Valkyrie linked me to an io9 article about a psychiatrist who had to decide whether or not to council a government torturer in 1940s Algeria.  It made me think.  Being a counselor or psychiatrist is not about activism.  It is not the counselor’s role to convince someone they are doing wrong.  When I was a peer counselor I had regular meetings with a client who was in jail for sexually abusing a child.  It was not my job to make him feel judged, even if I thought he’d done wrong (which he had).  But he was severely mentally ill and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.  There was an issue of competency, and I could empathize with his confusion and illness even if I felt awful for his victim. (He should have been in an institution, not regular jail.  That much was obvious.  But the legal system is awful for people with severe mental disorders.)  But someone neurotypical who chooses to harm others for a living, and wants help in feeling less guilty about it?  I don’t think I could do it.  I would be facilitating torture.

Anyway.  I feel better for having finished my paper.  Tomorrow I’m going to do a mock therapy session with the Naiad for my final project, and then all I have left is a test this week.  I am relieved to not having this paper hanging over me anymore.  The Valkyrie had to kick my ass to get me to work on it, but once I started it just flowed.  That’s the way it usually goes.  Starting is hard, but I love academic writing and research so if I get going I find myself having fun and getting into the zone.

By the way: I went to bed at 8:30pm, got up at 2:30am.  Argh.