Back To School

A couple months before summer hit I made the decision to go back to college. At 32yrs old I decided I wanted more than what I am doing now. Currently I am a pediatric home health aide, taking care of special needs children one on one. Ultimately I would like to do home health care company restricting. I would like to go into companies and restructure their low performing field offices. Making improvements so that not only does the company function better, but so clients get the care they need. There are so many clients who don’t get care or what they get is subpar. I want to change that.

So I started classes this past summer. I went to college in 2007-2008 but I was unable to keep going. My mental health hindered me and I had no help at the time. Now I am at a better place and feel that I can do this. It is not easy but I will keep going. Some days are harder. Yesterday I was in such a funk that I did nothing. I just laid there, knowing I should work, but not wanting to.

 

One of my classes requires I create a Queer Archive as a final project. For my project I am creating an Archive about individuals who have come out at a later age, late 20’s and up. It is a project that I hold close to my heart because of my late coming out. While I came out as bisexual in high school it took me till a little over 2yrs ago to come to terms with actually being a lesbian.

Now I’m here. I would like to ask a favor of the readers here and on my own blog. I am looking for personal testimonials of individuals. If you are interested you can comment here, on my personal page, or visit the page directly https://sites.psu.edu/outlate/

The First and Last of the Dark Days

I learned from another blogger that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I think many of us with mental health concerns find the stigma around it to be truly terrifying. It can push us inward and leave many of us feeling unwanted or hushed. Suffering in silence and alone is not healthy for anyone, including those around us. Today, I wanted to share with you a quick glimpse of my first darkest of days and my last. There have been many times in between, but consistently I pull myself through, and each time I do, the darkest days come less frequently, and are not as dark as the previous.

September 1996. The pressure to choose a major, before I returned for my third year of school, was being hammered upon me. The weight of this decision was unbearable. I saw many friends easily sticking with a major, planning out projects, collaborations, and internships. The feeling of not belonging created a snowball effect and caused me to fall into classic avoidance behavior.

On the first day I was late to class, probably not by accident. I can’t remember what class it was, but I do remember the feeling of standing outside the door, hearing the professor already speaking, that hallowed silence from the rest of the students, and I knew I couldn’t go inside. My first panic attack occurred outside of that room. I felt like a heavy blanket was thrown over me, I couldn’t breathe or concentrate. My legs felt weak, thoughts in my head were disjointed, and flight or fight kicked in. Flight won.

I dropped out of school that week. This was the beginning of the anxiety and panic attacks that I kept hidden from friends and family. I choose at that time to suffer in silence because I was confused, scared, and embarrassed. The darkest days turned into months and years, eventually it seemed I grew out of it, and was hopeful it was behind me for good. I think what occurred was I learned to avoid triggers and found confidence in areas I didn’t have before through life lessons and eventually returning to school.

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May 2017. The last time I felt this way was after my third child was born. By now I had learned some coping methods and found professional help on and off, though the feeling of shame still prevented me from being open with loved ones. I had this beautiful healthy baby, and I’d done this two times before. This should be easy. So, why was it so hard? Lack of sleep, constant breast feeding, and lack of overall care for myself, all played into my downward spiral. I was becoming very short tempered with everyone around me, I insisted on keeping my house spotless, and controlling every detail of the family. I believe I was on the borderline of OCD, accompanied with postpartum anxiety.

One day my parents and my sisters were being indecisive about something, what it was I can’t recall. I screamed at one of my sisters over the phone, something I never do. My blood pressure must have been through the roof, something rose up inside of me and clicked, I have a problem! This is not normal. I need help.

Being that it had been 20 years since my first panic attack, anxiety was not new to me. I recognized that I needed help ASAP and if I didn’t get it all of those around me would be feeling the brunt of my actions. It wasn’t fair to them. I found a new therapist through postpartum online hotline, one within my insurance network. I did research online to my symptoms, read articles about diet and supplements that would be helpful; I researched other medications as well, continued with acupuncture, started to be more physically active. Most importantly, I caught myself when my temper was rising. I knew it was due to anxiety, just knowing this helped me curb it.

The first of the darkest days was the hardest for me, it was so new and confusing. Over the years I have learned to overcome so much. The journey is ongoing. Anxiety is a part of me, but I fight it. It doesn’t control me like it used to, and I will take that as a WIN.

My Thoughts on a New Semester

This is a blog post about my life.

I am looking to work on my mental health this month. I am trying to lessen the amount of stress in my life, and right in the middle of what’s going to be a rough semester.

It’s always hard to start yet another semester on this journey to get my degree. It’s crazy the amount of work I will have over the next eight weeks. I will always have my doubts until I find myself at some point in the semester.

I am going to stress its a given, but I have to find balance this time around. I have a ton of reading and work in each of my classes. it could mean working at the school for eight hours. I am also near the first draft of my memoir and every day I want to edit at least one chapter a day. I would love to write 3-4 new chapters a week. It means fitting in writing when I can including blogging.

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The key this semester will be finding the right balance in my life when it comes to school work, writing my memoir, and blogging. I don’t want to let any of these things go because they are all important things.

If you want something bad enough, you have to find the balance in your life. So this week will be a measuring stick to see if I understand where I am with all three aspects of my life.

The other part of is I wanted to read more and try to read a book a week. So far I got through half long book in the last week. Its Stephen Kings IT, and I figure if I finish it this week then I realize that’s book a week right now might be impossible. A book every two weeks could be more manageable.

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I knew right away on Sunday that I would struggle a bit to jumpstart my statistics class. Once I got back to it, I remembered my past math classes. As an English major, I only have to take one math class for my degree. I have been good at math in the past, but it’s not for me anymore. Its good my teacher does a good job prepping us for each quiz with amazing breakdowns.

My other class this semester will be easy, its a basic literature class. I have taken so many high-level literature classes that a LIT 100 class should be a class I will enjoy. My last literature class was an American literature class which was fun. Being that this a basic literature class I am sure the assignments will be easy to get through.

It felt so great two days ago to say I am so close the end of my bachelor’s degree journey. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. If I can find the right groove that gets me to the end of this semester, well it will be worth it.

That’s where I am at. Back on the grind. School. Blogging. And memoir writing will be my life over the next eight weeks. I am sure it will go fast, it always does.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

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unsplash-logoJazmin Quaynor