Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time and Injury

Several weeks have flown by and now the sun is beating down on my back yard, a hot 102 degrees. What happened to June?

Remember my post about how being a mom is like living the Theory of Relativity? I seem to have proved the point.

Throw in an injury, and my blogging time dissipated like the clouds that used to block this blistering air.

this is gonna slow me down
And now I have the problem of deciding what to write about, because so much has happened since June 3. First of all, I got a job, starting in August, which is mighty exciting but also scary. Queen Teen finished her freshman year of high school and is now charming the socks off a fresh batch of boys in Summer school (that better be all she charms off). My newest nephew was baptized at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and my oldest nephew graduated high school. And then June 19th was my wedding anniversary (12 years). There have been two meetings discussing what to do about Queen Teen's increasing anxiety problem, and then we missed two doctor's appointments at Stanford because she had a melt-down about her hearing aids.

But mostly, I've been battling post-graduation depression. Not fun.

I reached the point where even reading my email created so much anxiety I had to keep my laptop closed or break out in hives (gee, I wonder where Queen Teen get's her anxiety disorder?). Writing with an injury was too painful, and reading other people's work required too much concentration. Everything was exhausting. The things I used to love, like working on my play or playing "The Sims", became chores. Nothing made me happy, and I felt like I was going crazy. I just wanted to eat sugar and watch "Roseanne" reruns all day.

My best friend told me that she also suffered from depression and anxiety when she finished grad-school. It sounds like a lot of people do. Why haven't I heard of this before? Seems like something they should tell you in school.

"Now class, you'll probably experience a severe bout of depression about two weeks after you finish school. This is normal and temporary. Even people who have never experienced depression will suffer with overwhelming feelings of exhaustion, futility, and hopelessness. You're not crazy, you're just going through withdrawals from the constant stress you were under for the past three years."

Hearing that just before I took my last final might have helped.

I'm slowly feeling better, but it's a struggle. Solitude seems to help, so does working in my back yard. I can check my email now, but I still have trouble with the volume of information on Facebook. And I've started running again, just short jogs, which helps with the anxiety.  I visualize all the strain and worry piled up like a "Transformer" behind me and then I start outrunning it. I'm actually thinking about trying a marathon next year.

There are times I wonder why I went to grad school. Why did I do this to myself? How did I manage to go to school and take care of Queen Teen's needs at the same time? What was I trying to prove? Soon I'll be working, and even though it's part-time, I have no idea how I'll manage. Will I manage?

Of course I will.; I always do. Today, I need to rest my mind, talk things out with my councilor, and give my hand time to heal. By August, I should have my balance back.


Mother of Chaos said...

Why DON'T they tell us about things like this?! It's a fugly truth we gloss over, I guess; the great victory comes all in a rush and there's confetti and parades and this big huge fuss and YAY ME!...and then there's this...vacuum, into which we try to shout "Now what?!" but it's a vacuum.

Nothing comes back to us. Just emptiness and the nagging fear that it was all just a big old sham, a waste, a momentary silliness that went way past its use-by date, and still the question is there: Now. WHAT?! I did this Big Thing, NOW. WHAT?!?!

Hang in there. It is temporary, and perfectly normal, and blah blah blah what everybody else said. It also sucks. So feel free to kick something. It's damned unfair to feel like that when you've done something sooooo incredible, which you totally have. And it will pay off for you. I know it will.

After Life gets done teasing you by going, "LA LA LA, I can't hear your pathetic cries about meaning of It All and What's Next and blah blah blah, LA LA LA, ha ha ha!"

(The rotten @^*&@. OK, here's the plan: I'll hold it down. You kick it.)

leah said...

I am thanking you in advance for this post - I've been thinking about going back for my Master's Degree (in speech-language path.) and had never heard about the post-graduate-school-depression. It makes sense, in a way. During school you have a sense of immediate purpose and timelines with urgent demands. Once you graduate, it all suddenly ends.

Congratulations on getting the new job! The part-time schedule sounds great - I'm sure things will work out with the job and caring for Queen Teen.

I hope your hand heals soon. We miss your blogs!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Congrats on the job, woman! That's great.

I have been having generalized anxiety of late, too. Maybe it's going around.

Love you.

TherExtras said...

By August, I expect you will have your balance back - self-fulfilling prophecy and all.

I appreciate that you waited until you had some improvement until posting. I give credit to the running - being a big believer in exercise and all.

Having worked in sped for many-a year, don't fantasize of butterflies and daisies on the job. In fact - I just read this description on another blog:
"I work at solving impossible problems and instilling hope for a lot of incredibly complex people 40 hours a week in a very sophisticated way in a system that is harder to deal with and way more irrational than any psychotic client. And way more scary."

Reminded of my jobs in sped. So there's your warning for after August's honeymoon at your your new job. Can't say I didn't warn ya! Barbara