I Thought Being Back in School was Going to be Harder.

I Thought Being Back in School was Going to be Harder.

I am three weeks into my first semester back at school. It’s so different than what I thought it would be. If you don’t know, I’m getting my degree in Mass Communications and Media from Arizona State online.

(I am currently wishing I was doing in person because it snowed in Chicago and I’m upset about it.)

I had no idea what online classes were going to be like but honestly, I love it.

I thought I was going to just be watching a video of the normal lecture and taking a ton of notes and have way too many assignments than I could handle.

(Which is how I felt when I went to college in a traditional class room.)

The way classes are set up is actually very doable. Each semester is split into two terms, each 7.5 weeks. So to be a full time student you would take two classes per term.

(Are you following? Because everyone that I have explained this to looks at me like I’m stupid.)

I was nervous about taking two classes for my first term since I haven’t been a student in quite some time. I thought I was going to struggle to keep or make time for my schoolwork, but it’s been the opposite actually.

(I’m actually using the planner I bought. Who am I.)

I wrote down all my assignments and due dates for the whole term and have been checking them off when I complete them. I have been ahead of schedule every week so far!

(I’ll take my gold star now please.)

I really like that the classes are set up to be one lesson per week and you basically have that whole week to do everything you have to do and if there is a specific due date for something, I know at the beginning of the week so I can plan accordingly. The only downside so far is that there is a lot of reading on your own.

(Duh. It’s all on your own. What were you expecting…)

So far, each week consists of doing the reading, or watching some videos and then some sort of discussion post and replies and then a quiz.

(I’m told discussion boards are the bane of online student’s existence.)

I’m usually one to leave the reading until the last minute because I never feel like it’s all that important. But since I don’t have a lecture or lesson or anything, the reading materials are all I have to go off of.

But I have found myself making plenty of time for my schoolwork. I make use of any random free time by bringing my laptop with me. I want to do well and I want to make this worth it. Plus, honestly the classes being shortened is perfect for me because I think they’ll manage to hold my attention all the way through as opposed to losing interest halfway through the semester.

I’m also only taking classes I enjoy because I only need credits that pertain to my degree and electives. This is the part of college I was always looking forward to

(I’m taking a Sex and the City class next semester!)

 

Why I Stopped Going to Therapy

Why I Stopped Going to Therapy

I stopped seeing my therapist.

Therapy is expensive. When I decided I wanted to look for a therapist almost two years ago, I quickly realized how expensive this was going to be.

So I looked for a therapist that would charge me on a sliding scale and a found one. Now because I was paying a reduced rate, my sessions were with the counseling intern. She was a grad student filling her clinical hours at this counseling center. Not only was my therapy incredibly cheap, but I actually really liked my therapist. It can be hard to vibe with a therapist right off the bat, but we had a good connection. I was a little nervous about seeing an intern because I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth it, but for me it was.

But because she was an intern, eventually she would have to leave. Well that time finally came at the end of August. I really thought that it would be no big deal because I was in a good place and my appointments were mostly me working through day to day issues. When it finally came time to have my first appointment with my new counselor, I found myself rescheduling a few times. I told myself that I was busy. I finally got to my first appointment and I didn’t really feel like we clicked, but I chalked it up to it being our first appointment. I went back a few times but it never felt right. I would leave my sessions feeling worse than when I got there and there were days where I didn’t do much after my sessions because I wasn’t feeling well.

I ultimately decided to stop seeing her because I didn’t feel I was benefiting from it anymore. I was skipping sessions because I didn’t want to go spend an awkward hour feeling like I wasn’t understood and not really getting anything good from it.

That was in the beginning of September. It’s been a month since I stopped going to therapy but in that month I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t really missed it. I will maybe send my old therapist an email and see if she where she’s working now and if she’s taking clients. She helped me through a really rough time and I learned and grew so much in my year with her.

I really believe that most people would benefit from therapy of some sort. It can be so helpful for so many different reasons, even just as a place to get things off your chest. However, it can only work if you feel comfortable in with who you’re speaking to. It can be discouraging when you try and get help and things don’t work out, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t work once you find a better fit.

I’ve experienced how helpful therapy can be and while I am bummed that this change didn’t work for me, I’m not going to stop seeking a way to take care of my mental health, whether that’s starting up with old therapist or continuing to search for a new one.

I don’t consider not having a therapist right now to be a problem for me, because I’ve been able to take care of myself and be in an OK place. Now, like I’ve said before, this time of year is rough for me so perhaps that will change. I benefit from therapy even when I’m not actively struggling, because I have work to do on myself outside of my depression. Right now though, I’m prioritizing my future and taking care of myself by staying busy with school and realizing how much better I feel now that I have something to focus on.

It’s Cold Out and I’m SAD

It’s Cold Out and I’m SAD

I know this happens every year.

The weather starts changing and the days gets shorter and the sun doesn’t come out.

(Tomorrow, or any day.)

I have a form of seasonal affective disorder.

(SAD for short, hence the title of this post. It’s not a typo. I wouldn’t do that.)

I talked about this with my therapist when I started seeing her and she said my mental health history and the state I was in fit the profile.

Which honestly just sounds like I like to nap a lot when it’s rainy and gloomy out.

But it’s more than that. I notice that I feel tired more often than not which is odd for me. I lose motivation to do anything from basic hygiene to housework to even talking.

(Yes. Fall and winter make me shut up. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing?)

For example, I currently need to desperately wash my hair. But I cannot bring myself to. I can’t care enough about it to actually do it.

I’m also increasingly more sensitive. Which is so fun. I love getting upset and crying over everything, all the time, for seemingly no reason.

(Which is different from the rest of the year because it only happens most of the time. Not all the time. Big difference.)

One of the ways I can tell that I’m heading into the realm of SAD is that I go shopping a lot more often. I know it sounds ridiculous or dumb or like I’m making excuses for my poor spending habits. But honestly, I don’t even realize that’s what’s going on until a few days later. Shopping is fun for me. It’s something I really enjoy. It’s my go-to when I need a pick-me-up. Normally, it’s something I do once in a while because I enjoy it and because I can normally control myself a bit better.

But when I realize that I’ve gone to Target three times this week or tell myself I just want to go look around and leave with a bag full of stuff every time. I guess it’s just my way of trying to make myself happy in the times when I need some happy.

Plus, it’s something I can do by myself so I don’t feel like I’m bothering anyone. Which, coincidentally is a feeling that grows in me this time of year. I don’t want to leave my house so why would anyone else.

Now, I struggle with depression year round but it’s so much easier to get myself out of the funk or shake off my mood when it’s nice and sunny and pretty outside.

I’m also more forgetful. I’ve needed to go get cat food and toothbrushes all week but then I get home and realize I’ve forgotten yet again.

(Even though I’ve gone to Target multiple times and got stuff I didn’t need.)

Things hit harder this time of year. I got some bad news last week and I spent the rest of the day in bed trying to cheer myself up.

(“Christopher Robin” is the best cure for sadness. Try it. I promise it’ll work.)

Now, I’m not saying that I have this ailment and it is what it is and I don’t do anything about it. No no.

I know that getting out of the house helps me. When I’m feeling OK I’ll make plans in advance and tell myself I’m not allowed to cancel. Taking advantage of the days when it is nice out help make the bad ones seem more fleeting.

I will do something I enjoy doing. Writing this is helping as we speak.

Having something to focus on is helpful too. Being back in school has kept me distracted and knowing that I have assignments to complete keeps me from laying in bed during all my free time.

(Bonus of going to school online is that I can do it in bed if that’s all the motivation I have.)

I haven’t gotten mine yet this year but a vitamin D supplement can be very helpful too.

(Not that kind of vitamin D. Although that does help too…)

Sometimes I’ll tell myself it’s OK to take an afternoon and do nothing or take a nap or catch up on my shows without feeling guilty. You shouldn’t feel guilty about your mental health. This time of year is rough for me but I still try and enjoy it as much as I can.

 

 

 

Going Back to School Makes me Nervous.

Going Back to School Makes me Nervous.

So I applied to the Arizona State. And I got in. I’m doing it online since moving to Arizona isn’t an option I even considered.

(But I live in Chicago, and winter is coming so I may change my mind.)

I’m 26 years old. I’m supposed to be done with school, not finishing up my Bachelor’s with the current class of 2023.

(I was supposed to be class of 2015.)

Boyfriend asked me if I was excited to go back to school. I told him it was just necessary at this point.

But do I really feel this way? Am I really going to let being on a different timeline sour this experience for me and make less of finally being able to study what I want?

I originally wanted to go to Arizona State when I was in high school so the fact that I’m actually getting my degree from that school is pretty neat.

But it’s hard to be excited when I’m actually pretty nervous. The idea of going back to school has been making me nervous for a while. So much so that I wasn’t able to follow through with any goal I set for myself.

As the time passed, I got nervous that I was too old, that I wouldn’t be able to complete a program, that it was too late to be finishing a degree I should’ve gotten years ago.

I need to stop letting myself get in my own way.

(But even typing this and putting it out there makes me nervous.)

I’ve convinced myself that all the dreams I had for my career are long gone. But what if I just have to rework them a little?

There are a lot of things working against me but they’re all in my own head.

(And in my bank account. But those are easier to figure out.)

Am I excited to go back to school? Yes.

One Family

One Family

A family is supposed to be a unified group. While there is no real definition of what a family should look like, I’m a firm believer that family is family. If you are a member of my family, there is no difference between you and any other member of my family.

(Take a drink every time I say the word “family” in this post.)

I hate when family issues stem from one side of the family vs another. I hate it. There should be no difference between the two.

“It shouldn’t be my problem because they’re your family.”

“You figure it out with your family.”

“We’re only doing this with my side of the family.”

I don’t understand.

When you get married you don’t just marry the individual, you also join their family. If you insist on keeping that individualist mentality, I can only assume you’re going to run in to a long list of issues down the line.

There always seems to be an air of jealousy when taking about sides of families. Mom’s side, dad’s side, grandma’s side. It should all be the same thing. You figure things out together, you tackle issues as a unit. They should be there for you when you need them.

Don’t put someone in the middle if there is a problem.

I love Boyfriend’s family. All of them.

(Hello from Wisconsin where we are currently on his family vacation.)

They have treated me as a member of their family from day one and they always ask about my family when I see them.

I feel very lucky to have that be the dynamic because they will be my family one day and it’s always been a dream of mine to host a big holiday meal with all of our family members.

(They basically already are my family. His mom insists I call her mom. I love it.)

I don’t want Boyfriend to ever worry about asking me about anything having to do with his family. I will never get in the way.

I especially don’t like being made to feel like I’m going to offend someone by spending time with someone from the other side of the family or talking to them about something or doing them a favor or whatever.

That’s not fair. We’re supposed to be one family. As far as I am concerned I have one very large family. There are no sides. That doesn’t matter.

Is that naive? Am i expecting too much?

(Why can’t we all just get along?)