Well, today I met with my department chair (KR), the associate dean of the graduate school (BC), the associate director (AZ) of disability services, and someone else (VR) who was extremely helpful but whose title I've forgotten, and probably others I'm leaving out.
Monday I met with my mentor who suggested dropping my heaviest class and talking to someone at disability services to work out something with the graduate school so I could keep my assistantship. AZ gave me a form to give Dr. Shrink to complete during our follow-up appointment, the one set up to see how I was doing with the med change. Dr. Shrink wondered if dropping all my classes might be the best route, with just keeping the one course I teach, if I can. I thought I could, but how would the university deal? He completed the form, which I shared with AZ, who helped me set up a meeting with VR to help figure out what to do.
I totally forgot to include KR until the last minute, so I sent her an email filling her in and inviting her to the meeting. She didn't attend, but spoke with VR expressing her support of whatever needs to be done to, well, support me.
Meeting this morning: Surprise! Associate Dean will join us and I am so glad that remembered to take the Klo.nopin a half an hour earlier.
Everyone was very supportive and spoke very specifically about what was what, what implications were and setting up a plan so that I would still remain a student with the least hassle, even if it turns out that I decide I need another semester off. Extremely supportive and sensitive, too.
Forms and letters were initiated, forwarded, clarified. There will be a meeting of the graduate council (coincidentally) on Tuesday afternoon so I should hear something soon. No one anticipates any glitches or problems, as long as forms are filled out appropriately.
So why do I still want to cry? Oh, there are million answers.
One that comes up is "disability." This is why I'm being allowed to do this. I've developed a disability, which has hindered my ability to focus on, complete, continue my work.
There is nothing wrong with disability. Jesus C.hrist I was this close to completing certification and a masters' degree in the field. and yet.
I am disabled.
My whole young life I worried that I was weird, different, oversensitive. Spacey, "in my own world," said my mother, the special education teacher.
One of the greatest realizations for me as an adult was that everyone is fucked up in one way or another. Some hide it better, for some it just shows up in less detectable ways.
There is nothing wrong with being disabled. After the year I had, that letter I wrote back in April, the one before my sister's twins were lost, before B's father died. There is no wonder that I am affected.
I am severely depressed. I have the insurance code to prove it. I don't take care of myself. I don't take care of my house. My husband was sick this week (sinus and ear infections), sicker than I've seen in a long time. I took care of him. Sort of. I bought him liquids, and medicines and took him to the doctor. I made him tea, and made him eat, and got him salve for his irritated nose. I fed the cats and gave them their medicine. I took his crankiness. I slept in the other room.
It was odd to realize that I really do very little. Groceries. Occasional laundry. I pay all the bills.
I think the meds (cym.balt.a and K) are beginning to help. Maybe there are fewer hours that I am weepy, though I had a complete meltdown two days in a row, like panic attack, sobbing in the shower, wailing in the car at 65 mph. On the way to Dr. Shrink. Better, but not better.
Maybe the better is the seeing. The realizing how bad things are. How really sad I am. How I have no idea who I am anymore. How the hope is gone.
C recorded Obama's wonderful acceptance speech. Oh, it was wonderful. I teared up with the ideas and the hope and change and the humanity. I'm normally a political analysis junkie -- speeches like that are totally my thing.
But this was different. I couldn't feel it. I couldn't invest in the hope. I wouldn't, I mean, couldn't really engage with it. Like I was walled off from it. Bullet-proof glass. I could hear it, see it, but couldn't feel it. The maudlin in me says my "heart was walled off" from it. I had no trust in it.
For every good there is bad. Obama in the White House, K in the hospital. Support from school, but...what? Emptiness. I don't know.
Part of me wishes I could just drop teaching that, too, even though I've started to connect with my students. Something good. Something scheduled. A reason to get out of bed and focus my brain. Even if I don't think I want to.
I look around me and say, set up a schedule: laundry. writing. clean up the office. clean up the bedroom. and then I think, Yeah. Uh huh. Like that's going to happen.
I want something happy to engage in. I want to be hopeful. I want to play. And then I'll feel like, eh.
I have a wonderful husband who is tired of taking care of everything. He needs someone to take care of him. Or he needs to not take care of everything (not that he does, but he does what basic things need to be done).
Dr. Shrink said that I need to do *something* every day. Like go for a walk with C. Something.
I had nothing to suggest. And then I said, a dog. We've been sort of talking about maybe getting a dog. He said a dog, not a puppy, but a dog might provide something good to focus on. Force me to get out of the house for walks. Focus on someone not me. Take care of something, different from the cats.
I am still fantasizing about a dog. Even visited one a few times at the shelter -- how could I not, now, with virtual professional approval. A three-year old beagle, very sad looking at first, but the second time I saw her, she perked up, snuffled at my face, tail wagging, belly ripe for the rubbing. Great with cats. Good size.
C is worried that the next time I melt down, a dog will be another responsibility for him. I fantasize that this would give me a little creature to take care of, to focus on. A baby that's not a baby. Oh, yeah, that's healthy. But a (happy) little creature to take out to play when C just wants to sit on the couch and watch movies. "Playdates" with my friends with dogs. Or maybe I'm just looking for another club to belong to since I got kicked out of the Mommy club. And aside from the Dead Baby Club. Not that I don't love you all.
C says to wait to the meds are stable. Til we can get our house out of the state of squalor in which we've been living. I want to do this, I want to do this now. I want to believe that the reverse will happen, that being engaged with a dog will help me engage in life.
Honestly, I don't know who I am. What I want. What I even enjoy any more. I don't even know if I really know how to enjoy anything anymore. It's sort of like waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I don't even feel the first shoe. Yes, this is depression. Yes, this is grief.
How do I find my way back to me?
How do you?