I have to go back to university tomorrow night. And I don’t want to. I don’t want to go back to London, I don’t want to leave my dog. I don’t have the emotional capacity to cope with normal things, normal human interaction (other than a few very specific and carefully chosen people) and I don’t know how to deal with university. I just don’t.
I woke up, and that thought popped into my brain (yes, rejoice! A thought!) and I just patted my bed until my dog climbed up onto it (with a little assistance, because he’s getting old now), and I curled up with him and we just laid there. I just held him. And I never wanted to let go. I don’t want to be apart from him. The affection I’ve been unable to feel towards him for the past few days (or however long it has been) began to stir inside of me, and I just didn’t want to go back to uni life. Not to living alone, not to being alone, not to being expected to function alone and be able to do normal adult/student things. Like go to lectures. Or study. Or shop. Or talk to other humans face to face, and do so in a civil, enthusiastic manner that my mind is just incapable of feigning right now.
It’s not even the workload that’s the biggest problem. It’s the fact that there will be people I know. And they will want to talk. I could deal with one person at a time who carefully thought out what they said and understood that although I looked fine, I was still as broken as ever in ways that even I cannot describe. But not a whole group of people. Not a handful of close friends who think they understand me and think they can relate to what I’m going through but really don’t, and totally undermine the way I feel in the process and make me feel disconnected and alien and isolated. I can’t deal with trying to normal conversation. I just… I can’t. I can’t even reply to their messages right now. Face to face it’s just all too overwhelming. I cannot deal with being around that many people.
Eventually I moved downstairs, sat on the sofa, and my dog clambered onto my lap and demanded more hugs, delighted that he was finally getting some affection from me after the unloving stone that he’s been smothering with his one-way affection since I came back here. Usually I get really told off for even letting my dog put a paw on my bed. I for some reason told my mum that I had required a teddy bear (I call my dog Teddy Bear when I want a cuddle) and she asked if I’d let him get on my bed. I said yes, and prepared for shouting down the phone. But she was calm. She was… Ok with it. She tried to sound a little annoyed but her tone was playful and said otherwise. So now instead of curling up in my dog’s bed at 2am (and him sleeping in the most awkward position so he can tuck his head under my chin) when I want a cuddle and can’t sleep, he will be sharing mine.
I know I should think about uni. When I was in hospital, my new hospital friend helped me email my disability advisor, and his extremely lengthy response was so helpful and full of support. At the time, I had no response to it. Now that I am feeling half the feels, it is mildly reassuring. But… I don’t think I want to carry on. I don’t think I want to do this degree any more. And I know I’m saying this from a place where I don’t want to do anything any more. I don’t know how to do anything any more. And yet if I want to carry on with this degree, then within the next few days I am going to have to figure out how to function, push myself to walk into a high pressure environment, and crush whatever functioning parts of me I have managed to partially reassemble. I don’t want to do that. I am exhausted with the breaking. I am tired of it all. And yet like I said, if I want to carry on with uni (which I think a part of me that’s just too broken to speak out right now might actually want to do) then I am running out of time in which to save my space there.
So I’ve taken to procrastinating in a really odd way. The past hurts. The present involves only being able to feel partial feelings in a weirdly suppressed way, and thoughts that I don’t know how to face but that never stay in my brain long enough for me to process them anyway… And the immediate future is just asdfghjkl (the reason I have to go back to uni tomorrow because I arranged to meet my nurse on Thursday morning and honestly I don’t know how to walk back into a hospital after the last few weeks). I can’t deal with reality. I just can’t.
So I’ve started looking beyond my degree. Initially I wanted to do medicine. I wanted to make a difference, but mainly I wanted to make sure that the patients I treated never had to go through the things I have been through, that they were never neglected or abused or traumatised in the ways that egotistical doctors did to me. I wanted to spread the idea of specialist wards for adolescents to smooth over their transition into adult care (when I was about 18 I teamed up with a lecturer at a university who had the statistics and the degree and influence but no experience, and I had the experience but no statistics or degree or influence… She implemented the idea in the US and moved there to do so) but I learned you don’t have to be a doctor to make that sort of change. And medicine is far too intense for me in my current state of health – the degree and the job would kill me.
I kinda considered journalism or writing for a very long time, and thought about maybe going on to do a journalism degree. Or a cardiology degree. And then… medicine? But then I started biomed. And I fell in love with anatomy and physiology. And lecturers told me my brain would be wasted if I didn’t do a PhD. And my doctor friends told me I was an ideal candidate for medicine. And then the idea of research started to really appeal to me. Or what about just becoming a biomedical scientist? So many different options and no idea where do go. But I like the idea of physiology, and of cardiology. So I started looking about online. Last night I found a medical physiology course at London university which gives the option to specialise into cardiac physiology, with clinical placements etc. leaving you a fully qualified cardiac physiologist. Now, I’m not sure that’s where I ever intended to go career-wise. But I’ve met plenty of cardiac physiologists and their job seems pretty good. And I don’t want a high flying job. I don’t want credit or attention or anything. I want to blend in and help out… Quietly, without the pressure that a doctor is put under. I think. I don’t even know.
The fact that I’ve been thinking like this gives people (including at times myself) the illusion that I am getting things together. I was all wow brain, you’re so together you can have big serious thoughts about huge in the future decisions. But that’s the point. These things are miles off, they are big decisions but they don’t feel real. It’s kind of like imagining, kind of like a game. It’s stuff that doesn’t matter yet, stuff I don’t have to have figured out. It’s stuff that I threw my thought into to avoid the current stuff that I can’t deal with at all. It is my mind being so broken that it has removed itself from the present situation in a different way – instead of shutting down again, as it slowly reboots, the only way not to crash is to not be here. Not be now. So it isn’t.
We talk about being in the here and now. I’m finally here… Just not… now.
I tried to buy my little brother a combined christmas and birthday present – a sweatshirt from the shop of the basketball team he supports. It was expensive, but I felt like a lousy big sister for not getting him a birthday present (usually my parents just stick my name on a thing and say it’s from me). I thought I was finally being sort of productive, but shipping and tax to get something from the US to here cost more than the actual sweatshirt. And I do not have £80 to be able to just spend like that. So I had to cancel the purchase, which should have made me completely hate myself, but instead (thanks to my deadened ability to feel things at the minute) I just felt a little lousy.
I don’t know a lot of things right now.
I don’t know.
And I don’t know how to go to all the places that my brain is trying so hard not to go. I was always taught to let sleeping dogs lie (although… Is this one even sleeping? I just realised that this applies to this metaphor, and to my teddy bear below).
I have a feeling that the dogs in my mind are going to attack whether I wake them or they wake themselves. I know one takes longer. But both outcomes involve me being torn limb from limb. They are starting to stir. And I don’t want to be alone, at uni, drowning in reality, when they realise how hungry they are.