Things Fall Apart

March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m entering into the stage of depression where I just want to sleep all the time. Not quite to the extreme that my dad hit where he was literally sleeping 20 hours a day, but I feel extra tired, like I would give anything just to be able to close my eyes and wake up when things are better, or at the very least, resolved. I have a tendency to start listing all the things that have gone wrong in my head when things get rocky, because adding up the mountain of fails clearly is helpful to my mood and mental state.

My birthday is coming up terrifyingly quickly. 25 already? I’d swear I was only 22. I can’t even remember what I did to celebrate my last few birthdays. Only 21 and 24 stick out. It kind of blows my mind to think about what all has happened since my last birthday.

In chronological order:

+ My great gran died in the hospital after a month in ICU. She was the first person I really knew who died. my grandma died my sophomore year of college, but I didn’t see her often leading up to that, and she’d had Alzheimer’s for years, so my “real” memories of her were distant because I was younger when they happened. Alec’s grandma died just that January, and then my mother’s best friend from college died I think in May. It was a rough start to 2012.

+ I quit my job of a year and a half, and left on very bad terms with my boss, who I had at one time considered a good friend. I left on shaky terms with a few other people in the office who I had also considered friends. Ah well. My boss made me miserable, so I don’t regret quitting and I can’t blame myself for the way I acted when I left. I wasn’t unprofessional necessarily, I was just clear that I couldn’t wait to be free of her.

+ I completed what I thought would be my last semester of grad school. Got a 4.0, but I burned some bridges along the way with the other girls in the program because I called them out for being lazy. Whatever.

+ I temped for a couple months, which doesn’t sound like a major life change, but it was kind of disruptive/disorienting because I was moving offices every couple weeks.

+ Alec and I split up after I helped him move into his new apartment in Virginia. I still remember just how horrible it felt when we both had to finally face the fact that we were saying goodbye. We’d spent the week goofing around and having fun, acting like everything was totally fine and enjoying each other’s company while it lasted. God, I can still feel how I wanted to die when I laid on the floor of our empty apartment with my animals, crying until the sun came up. I think I still haven’t really dealt with that.

+ I relocated to my parents one-room straw bale house in the boonies in Alabama without internet, cell reception, an indoor bathroom, or a kitchen. All of my stuff went into storage, so I was living out of a suitcase surrounded by all my parents’ stuff. My father was incredibly depressed, the worst I’ve ever seen him though the family said that he was worse before I moved home. Everything was wrong, everything was the reverse of what I had before. I didn’t give myself much time to adjust before getting a job in town and moving to southside, into my own place. I still haven’t adjusted to living alone. Sleeping at night is the hardest because I’m afraid of every noise.

+ I did some things that would destroy Alec if he ever found out. I do regret them, if I’m honest, but I can’t take them back and I understand why I did them. There’s no use dwelling on them. What’s done is done. I just hope for his sake that he never finds out, and if he does, I hope he has it in him to understand why I did it.

+ My old window unit poured water into my apartment because it wasn’t properly installed.

+ I tried to use my gas heater that is as old as the apartment (1920s maybe?) and Cleo and I both got sick from the gas fumes, so I demanded they give me an electric one, so they gave me a new combo window unit.  I was sick in bed when the guy came to install the new one, which was awkward. The new one came with a paper that explained how incredibly expensive and inefficient it was. I got a new water heater as well, which came with the same warning. So now my electric bill is way more than I can afford (over $100 each month).

+ Then the new unit blew the special outlet it’s plugged into because the guy didn’t install it properly, and I was without heat for three days (long enough for the inside temp to drop to the outside temp, which was pretty cold by alabama standards and for damn sure by my standards) while the maintenance guys were confused or busy or whatever. I was fucking miserable. they brought me space heaters to use while they were buying a new heater which then blew the breakers for the entire apartment.

+ I got sick. A lot. Either I drank too much and spent a day throwing up, or I had recurring (and consistently mis-diagnosed) strep or mono.

+ I had a serious anxiety-related heart palpitation and irregularity that was so bad sometimes it would keep me up when I was trying to sleep. Never got that fixed, though we did rule out it being a physical issue with my heart. It’s all mental/emotional.

+ I totalled the truck (it was a minor fender bender, for the record. the truck was just a piece of shit that needed hardly a lovetap to total it.) which my parents had spent thousands of dollars on to get running for me. They used the ridiculous about of insurance money they got for it to buy a newer car, so there’s definitely a silver lining to that, but I did feel like an asshole.

+ the vet told me that Cleo was basically dying of three different, untreatable things.

+ I racked up about $1,000 in health care bills, including when I didn’t have health insurance. I get sick about every 4-6 weeks.

+ I got the flu and was sick for two weeks. I missed three days of work which has never ever happened.

+ I’ve gotten rejected from every PhD program I’ve heard back from.

+ I didn’t even place in the UAB Research Day competition. I lost to people whose presentations were definitely not as good as mine. That’s me being objective, I promise.

+ I wasn’t even granted an interview for the Curatorial Assistant job at the BMA, so I will definitely be leaving in May.

+ Finally went to see an ENT about my recurring tonsillitis. They strongly recommended I get a tonsillectomy  which my insurance company denied. I went back to see what treatment options I have, and basically they said I’m going to keep getting sick and there’s not much they can do. My insurance runs out in May as well, so that’s something I’m going to have to either worry a lot about or develop a plan for.

+ I’ve applied to 9 jobs since January. Haven’t heard back from a single one.

+ I broke up with Mark, a good man who absolutely loves me. I hurt him like I hurt Alec. It feels unnecessary and cruel, but more on that later.

+ I took a class with a specific teacher (who I didn’t like and who didn’t like me when I first transferred to UAB. she wouldn’t let me into her class. bitch.) at UA because I have to have someone from UA sit on my thesis committee due to the stipulations of the joint Master’s program between the two campuses. Today she told me she couldn’t/wouldn’t sit on my thesis committee, which means 1. I could have taken a class with a less bitchy teacher that I actually might have been interested in, and 2. now I have to ask some random teacher who doesn’t know me and who I don’t know to sit on my thesis committee.

So that’s where I am. That’s not to say that some good things didn’t happen (totaling the truck ended up being a good thing because it needed to die; UAB accepted me into their MA program and bent over backwards for me to be able to graduate on time; I got the job at the BMA that I have now and they love me so much they extended my contract twice; I got to present at both Research Day and the graduate Art History symposium; Mark and I got together, finally and after much resistance; the fatty and cleo are still alive and kicking; I’ve got a good, though small, set of friends; and most importantly, my dad is finally on medication that works so he’s no longer severely, suicidally depressed!). It just feels right now that all the bad things are piling up, and the ones that I didn’t deal with emotionally are weighing heavier each day, only adding to the immense weight I feel already from my serious concerns about my future, both immediate and distant.

In the short term, I have *got* to focus on school. My german exam is in three weeks. I have got to pass it or I won’t be able to take my comps, which means I won’t get to graduate until December instead of this summer. Fuck. That. Shit. I also need to study for my comps (which I’ve been doing! started this week.) so that I will actually be able to pass them, assuming I pass the German exam, which I have to pass before I’m allowed to take them. My thesis is temporarily on the backburner so I can focus on my exams, but it can’t stay there for too long since I am supposed to be writing my thesis already. I also can’t forget about the class I’m taking in Tuscaloosa, because I still have to write a seminar paper for it and take a final exam in April.

I also need to focus on jobs. I’m still checking for job postings that might interest me, but I need to keep writing and sending out applications as well. I gave my resume and one of my cover letters to my boss, so hopefully I’ll be getting some feedback from her about that soon. I’m holding off applying to anymore jobs until after I hear back from her.

That doesn’t sound like a lot when I spell it all out, but it feels like a lot of stressful stuff when I’m not blogging about it. Getting rejections from PhD programs has really been painful, especially since this is my second time applying. My mentality now is just focusing on getting a good job somewhere that I’ll want to live. Focusing on a job helps me to not dwell on my PhD rejections and why I wasn’t good enough *again*. Focus on the future, focus on the attainable. Try not to have a breakdown.

I broke up with Mark for a number of reasons. He’s a big distraction from school and the job search. He doesn’t mean to be, but I’m constantly talking to him when I’m not with him, and when we’re together, I can’t do anything productive. I also tend to shut down a lot when I’m stressed out, and I don’t want to be touched or bothered, so I was getting irritated being around him because he wanted to be my boyfriend and all I wanted was to be alone. It’s hard to explain that to someone without hurting them, and I’m so stressed out, I don’t think my words come out particularly delicately. He seems to be very much in love with me, which stresses me out more because I feel guilty for not loving him back and I worry that I may never love him, or love anyone again. I’m worried I’ll never be happy, and I guess having someone who is happy with me only further emphasizes to me how bad and anxious I feel about my own unhappiness.

I need to keep my mind clear right now since I have so much I need to pack into it, exam-wise, and I need to make decisions for ME, not for “us.” I’m so young, I really need to focus on myself right now. It’s a totally selfish thing to say, but this is an important year as far as decision-making goes, especially as it becomes increasingly clear that I won’t be staying in Birmingham and won’t be going on to PhD. I need a clear head so I can make the best, most logical and beneficial decision about where I should go and what I should be doing. I also need to reevaluate my long-term goals, as they seem increasingly unlikely. I need time alone to do that, and Mark doesn’t really give me time alone, not because he doesn’t want to try to, but because that’s not how people in love do things.

I can be fairly reclusive when I’m under a lot of pressure, so I understand why ending things with him was the best thing for both of us. For me, that means that I am guaranteed a whole lot of alone time, all the alone time I could want. I don’t have to feel guilty for not seeing him now, or for not wanting to talk to him so I can focus on my studies. I don’t have to feel guilty for not wanting to be touched or for being bitchy for seemingly no reason. I don’t have to feel guilty for neglecting my studies to be with him, because being with him made me happy. For him, that means that he doesn’t have to worry constantly that I’m pushing him away or that I’m acting weird. He doesn’t have to question if I want to be with him. We both have clear cut roles now. No confusion. It’s incredibly painful and I often feel the same twinge of regret or doubt that I felt when I broke up with Alec, but my logic brain says I am absolutely doing the right thing for myself right now, so I’m gritting my teeth and pushing onward. It’s funny how in denial I am about crying. I feel like if I let myself really cry, that I’ll completely lose my shit and have a legit breakdown. Instead, I just grit my teeth and deny deny deny any feelings or thoughts that cause emotional pain. I even deny deny deny when the tears are rolling down my cheeks, because it’s so much easier to stop crying when I don’t admit to myself that I’m having a physical reaction to my emotional distress. I’ve cried almost ten times today, but I keep repeating “stay strong and carry on” to myself over and over until I stop.

I’m just trying to get to May. If I can just keep it together until May, everything else will sort itself out. Maybe after I get through my exams, my PhD rejections, my job concerns, and my last semester of coursework, I’ll have a clear plan and an open heart. I can’t know how I’m going to feel when this is all over. I can’t know what I’ll end up wanting, or who I’ll want to be with. I can’t know those things months in advance, and I won’t try to. For now, I’m just trying to get through one day at a time, keeping my head down and fixating on May.

Stay strong and carry on. Just two more months.

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