Tuesday, October 21, 2008

school...degrees...necessary? maybe not.....

Well, I started cleaning the other day. What happened was, I woke up to a hallucination, which seemed very real. I heard someone put a key in my front door. I heard the door open. I heard someone walk in. And I knew they were coming to evict me because the apartment is in such a disastrous state. The person was a woman (at least, one of them was, I thought there might be more than one person). She called out, "Jenny! I'm worried about you!". And I froze, waiting for this person, whoever she was, to enter my bedroom. I thought to myself, "who would be calling me Jenny?" Nobody calls me that except family members, usually, and this was a voice I did not recognize. I thought, "Who has a key to this apartment?" Nobody does, really, except the landlord and me. There is a slight possibility my ex-boyfriend Jim the Plumber could have made a copy of the key before he returned it to me, but I doubt that. So eventually, I got up the courage to go out into the living room and see who was there.

Of course, no one was there. I opened the front door. No sign of anyone. I realized it had to have been a hallucination. But still, I was scared. This event led to me getting overcome by the fear that someone was coming to evict me. So using my confused brain, I did the most logical thing one could do in such a situation. I went to McDonald's and got some breakfast (this doesn't count as diet destruction as long as you eat nothing else for most of the day, in my opinion). After that, I thought, "I don't want to go home". Still, I was thinking about the people coming to evict me. So I went to a store I like, Big Lots, where they sell all sorts of discounted, no- longer- being-manufactured, "close out" items. I got a couple cheap things for my bathroom, and decided I would go home and fix the bathroom up. So I went home, and did a little of that, and then, finally, after many months of not cleaning at all, I got to work on the disgusting living room.

I'm just going to be honest with you here, because this blog has always been about telling the truth, and I never lie about things here. My apartment was beyond disgusting. It still is, actually, since I haven't gotten past the living room and the bathroom yet, but a few days ago, it was really, horribly, in extremely bad shape. The thing is, when Jim the Plumber moved out back in January, my whole world fell apart. I no longer could be "Jim the Plumber's Girlfriend", and I no long knew how to define myself. Or how to function. So I just stopped doing things that were no longer necessary for survival. I stopped cooking, cleaning, and taking out the garbage. I've mentioned this here before, but I think it helps me to face reality when I repeat it a few times.

So the place was an absolute hell-hole. I took out no less than 15 bags full of garbage the other day. I am not exaggerating at all. I made so many trips to the dumpters downstairs that I exhausted myself. I worked for hours. And then, just like that, you could see the living room floor! Progress. Finally, progress. Spooky got freaked out by all the changes occuring in the little apartment that is usually in the same disastrous state at all times now. She stayed in the kitchen, perched on a chair, watching me. The next day (yesterday), I borrowed a vaccuum cleaner from my mom, since mine is broke. I started vaccuuming, which is something I really hate doing because it leads to physical pain from my chronic illnesses. (Sorry if that sounds like a lame excuse, it's just the truth). So I got started....

I'm glad I did this, but at the same time, I know it's not much indication that I am doing better. Because I am not really doing well at all. I just decided that the state of disaster had to be dealt with, so I forced myself to deal with it. I get these panicky states of angst and anxiety from facing the mess, so I would stop for a few minutes, sit down until I stopped freaking out, and then get back to work. I think if I can keep this up at least a couple days a week, for a few weeks, or maybe just one week, the whole apartment could be presentable to others. I'd be able to let my caseworker in without severe humiliation when she wants to do her next home visit. I could let the maintenance person for the apartment building in to fix the sink that has been broken for months. I could let the pest control person in, which might help get rid of Spooky's flea problem. And I could feel better about the place in which I live.

At the same time, however, I am failing my classes, and I have basically given up on them both. For all intents and purposes, I have just stopped even trying to work on my college courses. Every time I sit down with a book, and try to read something, my mind wanders, and I cannot concentrate on the material. I read it, then reread it, and I freak out with anxiety about my inability to understand what I am reading. Then I give up. Then I just do internet activism, or write emails, which distracts me from the lack of progress happening in the rest of my life.

I was thinking about this last night, and came to the conclusion that perhaps I do not really stand a chance of ever completing college. Horrible as that thought is to me (and it is, truly, horrible to the point it just makes me want to die right away), I think it is a prospect that I have to face. It is possible, also, that I could finish college, and that the degree I got would not lead me to being able to find a better job with a better salary anyway. So then all the loans I've had to take out for college would be impossible to repay. Also, it is possible that I will not be mentally and physically capable of working full-time anywhere, with or without a degree, in the future, just like I am not up to it now. It is possible that even if I finally got my degree, I would be so old by the time I got it that it would not render me into having a new career in anything. It is possible that school, for me, is pointless at the age I am at now. It is possible that there is no point to it.

I do not enjoy this line of thinking, by any stretch of the imagination. I am just realizing that it is reality, and that I have been hiding from reality for a while, which has not been a useful tactic to take in life.

Well, maybe I'll add more to this later. I am losing my train of thought now.

Edit: Kate ~ I just stopped over at your blog and noticed you posted on a very similar issue to this one just yesterday. How ironic. I left a comment there, and it is good to know that I am not alone with this problem. Thanks, as always, for the comments you leave here and I will be in touch with you.


  1. Jen,

    It's good that you are starting to clean up around the house. As you say, you won't be worried about letting others into your home. That will remove one source of worry from your life and make things a little easier.

    I won't pretend to understand what you are going through with your classes and concentrating on studying. It sounds as if you are very frustrated by it all but I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. Why don't you try reading parts of the textbooks out lous and recording them. You can then play it all back at night while you are sleeping. Your subconscious can usually absorb material that your conscious self is too distracted to listen to.

    There are no guarantees that more education will ensure a better job or more money. I always preach to my students that they need to maximize their options in life by getting as much education as possible. It does open up more possibilities when you have a degree but you will have to be the judge as to whether or not the effort will be worth it. You never really know what the future will hold for you and most of the time it pays to have education so you can be flexible and take advantage of life's offerings. Perhaps you can get counseling on ways to tackle these courses and get past your study problems. I just don't know that much about coping methods that will help studying while dealing with mental problems but I would be willing to bet that others would be able to help with this.

  2. Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much for the comment on my blog. I printed it out and will send you an email in response to it.

    I'm glad you got some cleaning done. When I can get myself to do some cleaning I feel better, it's keeping up with it that I have real troubles with.

    School: Your advocacy work is just as important, if not more important, as school. If you can't do the school work because of your disability, then stop. It's not your fault, but also never say never. You don't know where you'll be in five or ten years. Writing and advocacy work are things you show an interest in and have aptitude for, focus on them. The main thing is to nurture your real interests and to stay creative.


  3. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

    reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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