Down But Not Out

I don’t know how to start this post. I don’t know how to find the words to say whatever it is that I’m trying to say. There’s nothing left inside my brain. Emotionally I’ve been bled dry, and life still seems to be kicking.

I met with a member of staff today. I was hoping for some support or advice or… I don’t know what I was really expecting, but whatever it was she clearly hadn’t read the script in my imagination. She told me to ‘just drop out and start again next year’. She pushed me towards this option saying that ‘we’ felt it was best (therefore making me feel like the entire university is against me) and it felt like she was very against the idea of me continuing to study. I kept explaining that I want to stay, and she kept telling me that if I wasn’t concentrating in lectures or submitting assignments on time then I should leave, and that if this was the case in a few weeks time then she didn’t think I should stay. I missed two weeks. I’ve almost caught up on most of the work but my brain is struggling a bit. Emotionally I’m falling apart. Physically I’m exhausted. I just need a little bit of support (and that is very hard for me to admit) and instead of that I was simply told to leave. (I’ve been in this situation before and then went and passed all my exams and got into university) But I’ve been far worse than this. The disability services at our university put things in place for instances such as this. I came here with all of us knowing that my body was going to let me down in one way or another at various points. The thought of losing everything I worked so hard for, of leaving university, of having no purpose again… broke me.
I have until November. It’s almost like I’m on probation. Like I’ve done something wrong. I am not incapable. Before I went to hospital I was studying for eleven hours a day. I was even ahead on lecture notes. Now once again I feel like a burden. I thought this place was different. It was so nice to be able to use the support I was offered, and to feel confident in doing so. I have an assignment due in tomorrow that I haven’t even started. The assignment due in two weeks ago is almost finished. The online form to explain my extenuating circumstances won’t work on my computer. I wanted to talk about these things. I wanted advice. I guess I was looking for some support. But I was shot down. And let down.
I went from feeling like any issues would be dealt with, to frantically stuffing them back into the recesses of my mind. I’m terrified. I’m terrified of losing the best thing I’ve ever had. I’m terrified this is going to be taken away.
I put in my headphones and I walked back across campus to my halls and I just wanted to run away from everything. There is no way out. I don’t want to leave, and I don’t feel supported if I stay. I can’t do all of the work in time, and I have a legitimate excuse – I nearly died a few weeks ago. And I’m out of my depth now.
Based on the various thought processes that corroded a channel through my mind, there are two options in situations such as this: fight or flight.
You run. You stick your head in the sand and hope that you can ignore everything away. What’s the point in anything anyway? If that’s their attitude, you won’t do any more work for them. If you’re leaving, why bother to attend lectures anyway. (This is how sixth form ended up, and I missed far more time, yet I made it here)
Or you stand your ground. You throw every spare second into studying. You hand in your assignments. You achieve high grades. You work like an ox, and you shut everybody up.
I felt like running, but as I walked home, feeling like I was heaving my body along to a place it no longer belonged, wanting to walk the other way, I realised that I’m going to have to fight for this. For the first time in my life I have something to prove. I have no fight left in me, but I have something worth fighting for. Right now I feel like missing my lectures tomorrow and just staying at home. I feel that way. And I will feel that way even as I’m sat in those lectures tomorrow morning, and even as I’m finishing my assignment, and working until I fall asleep on a pile of books. Because I have no intention of letting this go. This is tug of war between a sinking feeling far greater than anything I could consciously generate, and the part of me that will not listen to it.
And let me clarify one thing. I’m not over this. I’m not ok with it. I cried far too many times while writing this. I will cry again I’m sure. I don’t know what to do, because I can’t leave and I don’t know how to deal with being here. But you don’t have to be ok with something to do something about it. You don’t have to stop being hurt by something to start trying to heal the wound.
I stood in my room a minute ago and I suddenly couldn’t stand being in there. Firstly because my room tends to reflect my mind, and I’ve felt too low to care about much for the last couple of days (so there is rubbish and washing and stuff all over the floor and the desk and my bed… And the smashed glass from Monday… And I can’t actually walk in there). And secondly, because I couldn’t bare looking at a place that has brought about so much change in me, at the place where I finally felt at home, where I had my first kiss, where I’ve been so happy… And I couldn’t stand to look at it because I can’t stand the thought of losing it, of leaving it.
I rode this emotional rollercoaster on three hours sleep. I didn’t get home until three o’clock this morning because I was at the hospital. Shortly after writing my last blog post I fell asleep, and when I woke up I went to walk out of my room and just fell over my own legs (seeing as I now have to coordination of a baby giraffe). I dislocated my right ring finger at the knuckle and in doing so managed to completely mess up most of my hand. It hurt a lot. Flat daddy got a bag of frozen chips out of the freezer, and then a bag of frozen peas, and I managed to cook everyone spaghetti and meatballs for dinner before flat brother and I went to get it checked out (we were the only people in the whole waiting room. We didn’t go to the nearest hospital because we didn’t want to walk through Whitechapel at 11pm. We got the night bus home, and my bladder nearly exploded because I needed to pee so badly, but that is another story) I felt awful bothering busy A&E staff for such a minor complaint, knowing full well that behind a couple of closed doors there were people fighting for their lives. But my hand has been immobilised now, which made my microbiology practical this afternoon very awkward.
I was doing it, I was back on track… Until my friend snapped at me and I just shattered. And then when I got home so did my headphones. And when my mum phoned me just now, the dam holding back my tears shattered too.
We all fall apart. And that’s ok.
And if you feel like you’ve fallen apart over something ridiculous, know that humans by their very nature are ridiculous, and that if you’re ridiculous, everybody else is equally so. If you feel like you’re the only person who has ever had their emotions replaced by a lead weight, read back through this. You aren’t alone. Emotions are like blinkers, they shut out the rest of the world and focus out attention on things which aren’t good for us to think about. You can’t see the air you breathe, but you don’t question whether or not it is there. You don’t need to see the bigger picture, you just need to know that you’re still a part of it. 

You might have been knocked down, but you aren’t out of the fight
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