Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So, I guess it's time for a more practical update (Of course, during finals week. Very timely.). It's been a lot of me trying to conceptualize what I've been going through, etc. And I suppose that is practical in one sense. But here is an entry that's a bit less abstract. Well, I guess words will always remain abstract -- that's the nature of trying to linguistically capture emotions and ideas. But here's my attempt.

Okay, maybe this will just end up being more of a ramble.

Yesterday, during my paper writing frenzy, I had a mini breakdown and I began wondering, "How the f*ck do people DO things? How do people get through life -- go to work, go to school, sleep and wake up on time, eat normally, throw on clothes without rethinking it 10 times, go to the bathroom the appropriate number of times?" You get the idea.

Well, I just wanted to make the reality of being in grad school more transparent. Because I think the image is that people go through college, go through grad school, as if it's the most natural thing. They shoot out three 20 page papers in one week during finals, go out to dinner happily with their classmates, read 184029584 pages in five days, always know the perfect question or comments to say during seminar, and on and on.

This is not me. And I suspect it's not most people. But on the surface, this is what it looks like. Even as an insider. I'm lucky if I can go a whole year without hospitalization (And actually, aside from partial, I haven't been back IP in a whole year! Which I'm quite proud of!) I guess I just wanted to write this entry, because for me, this is the part of the reason I have this blog after all. I want to reveal that being in academia is not a smooth ride. Sometimes I don't finish all 200 pages or reading, because I spent all day binging and purging. Some days, I don't go to class because my eyes are too swollen from crying all night and my arms are freshly covered in cuts. Other days, I'm late to teach my students because I had a late night, paralyzed by frightening hallucinations. And days like yesterday, I let myself be held captive by an overwhelming insecurity, and only managed to write 16 pages for a 20 page assignment.

I'll probably get a B (and we alllll know that a B in grad school is like DEATH). But you know? I tried. Honestly, I feel stupid and useless. I feel like everybody else is smarter than me, functions way more normally than me. But you know what? I gave it what I could. Maybe it wasn't 150% like I wish it was. In fact, it wasn't even 85%. But I have to remind myself that I have disabilities, and sometimes staying in school the whole semester is enough to be proud of. I'm trying to be positive about this.

Well, that was a long ramble, but I wanted to reveal a bit about what it's like to be in grad school with a mental disorder, or multiple disorders. I also wanted to say that it sucks sometimes, and I doubt myself endlessly. But, it CAN be done. You may not get straight As, you might not be able to read all 200 pages for all three seminars in one week, like everyone else, but you're there. I just wanted to make this all a bit more REAL. So, there ya go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Failure of a human being. Must starve." These are the thoughts that run through my head when I begin to feel a hint of sadness, anxiety, anger.

I know there's more to me than this. But somehow, I can't get past the horrible feeling of FAT.

And this exactly is part of the eating disorder. It protects you. It doesn't let you get past your skin. It doesn't let you acknowledge the depth that is under it -- the pain, the trauma, the horror of things past. Instead, your ED transforms these things into the superficial matter of BMIs, numbers on the scale, nutrition labels. The ED creates a barrier, to make these things manageable.

I know there's more to me than this, and this is the problem.

Now, to try and write 10 more pages before 4 PM tomorrow.