In June, I wrote about how it felt like I was living my life on hold. It felt like nothing was happening and I was itching to start making some more progress in my life. And it’s finally moving. I’m volunteering, I’m in a DBT course, and I’m set up to head back to school in the fall.
And I am absolutely terrified.
I’ve been waiting so long for this day to come and it’s finally here. I want it so badly, but the idea of trying again and failing is seriously scaring me. Maybe it’s an illusion because I’ve sat on hold for so long, but it suddenly seems like life is speeding forward way faster than is safe. And I’m not wearing a seatbelt.
I’ve made careful plans and schedules, measured the changes in me, and I’ve crafted mantras to remind myself that I’ll be okay, but a big part of me just doesn’t believe it.
I suspect that the hesitation might come from the fact that the last time I went back to school I was so sure that I would be okay but I ended up ruining it all over again, and I’m so afraid that I won’t be able to go through that again.
I’ve had a history of going back to school, work, what-have-you before I was ready and crashing and burning immediately as a result. I’ve spent over a year waiting for the moment to be just right, and now that my moment is here it feels like I’m not even ready to make the decision. How could I even trust myself to make such an important decision when I’ve already made the wrong one so many times?
My life is moving faster than I honestly meant for it to. It was supposed to be the world’s slowest transition, but since I was in the hospital and diagnosed with BPD, my whole plan was thrown off. Some of it was in my control, but some of it wasn’t.
In May, I applied to volunteer at two community organizations near me. The plan was to slowly increase my responsibilities and stress level before taking a single class in the fall. Both organizations ‘hired’ me. So far, neither position has started. One is on hold until training starts in September, and the other one is on indefinite hold while we try and coordinate the last part of the training.
I don’t blame anyone for these positions taking so long, I just think that’s how this type of thing tends to go. But now I’m set to start volunteering at the same time that I’m starting a class in the fall. Not what I had hoped for.
My plan was always to take one class in the fall, two in the winter, and three in the summer so that I was ready to take a full (or near-full) course-load in the fall of 2019. When I was planning out which classes I would take, I realized that I can’t get any funding for courses I’m taking unless they’re part of a ‘real’ program. So, I started looking around for a program that I could enrol in until my therapist helped me realize something: if I need a lighter course-load, that’s considered an accommodation for my disability and they have to accommodate me (by law).
So I did my research and I applied to the program I was always planning to take, but I applied for this fall. It’s a fabulous program, but it’s brand new so it’s not filling up and applications were still open in July. I applied, was accepted, and met with the accessibility office and now my accommodations will be set up for me in the fall.
Only I found out that I might be better off taking two courses because as a disabled student, I can receive full-time funding on 40% of a course-load instead of 60%, and with my financial situation, I just can’t imagine turning that down.
So now, instead of very slowly easing me back into life, I’m diving head-first into two volunteering positions and two school courses. Coming up from doing almost nothing at all. (Even more, my DBT course continues into September.)
So, September will come and I’ll be tossed back into the thick of it. How could I not be terrified?
But this is where my reality-checking strategies need to come in. I’m willing to bet that writing them out might even help me believe them a little more.
First off, the time commitment:
- My DBT course requires little work, basically only four hours per week. That’s not much.
- Volunteering will be eight hours per week, and five hours of that I’m only essentially ‘on-call’ and can be working at the same time.
- Each course will be about three hours in class and three hours out; even with two courses, that’s only twelve hours.
- My blog only really requires four hours per week. Yes, I currently spend more, but that’s mostly because it’s fun when I’m bored.
- My support group is once per week, and that’s only three hours.
So, if I schedule myself out and stick to it, that’s only 27 hours; a part-time job. Plus I already do at least 12. (Honestly, that was more than I was expecting and now I’m freaking out a little.)
Okay. I’ll practice now. I’ll get better at scheduling myself and sticking to it. I’ll only blog when scheduled and I’ll find something to fill the rest of my time. I can do this; I’ve done it before and I was sicker.
Now a little list of affirmations:
- I am better at managing my emotions now than I was last year. I can identify them and I know why they happen. My therapist and DBT are teaching me new skills to survive them.
- I am a much better advocate for myself than I was the last time that I was in school. I know my needs and I won’t compromise.
- I have a better support system than I did that last time I was in school and my friend circle is only growing.
- I am living with my dad this time around; he will be a giant support that I’ll be able to lean on if it gets tough.
- It has been two years and my life has changed drastically. I will be okay, no matter what comes my way.
Good. Now I feel better. Maybe I can do this after all.