February 2015 is shaping up to be the longest month of my life so far. I’ve become good at presenting a positive outlook on life, but the last few weeks have been terrible.
First of all, I’ve been struggling with an extended flare up of my condition with some new symptoms and it isn’t budging. I’ve had psych myself up physically and mentally for lectures. The pain and time management has been such that I have hardly seen or spoken to any of my friends for a couple of weeks.
Second, I received my semester 1 module results on Friday (20th) and they were disappointing, only just hitting the pass mark for one. I wasn’t on great form when I was writing the assignments, and I actually don’t really remember writing on of them, but all the same, academic writing has always been a strong suit of mine.
And finally on Thursday 19th, I received the news that my grandfather, to whom I was close, had passed away that morning. It was a shock. Grief is something I have never had to deal with before and I’m still feeling somewhat numb. I’m confident the reality hasn’t sunk in yet, unless I have a heart of ice.
In light of these things and my emotional openness over the past few days, I have come to realise that perhaps I am not coping with my condition as well as I tell myself I am. I consider it both a strength and a weakness that I am able to compartmentalise and hide my emotions or pain from loved ones, but I have also been kidding myself. Now I don’t know what to do.
Something that has been gnawing at me recently has been what I do after I complete my postgraduate studies. The pace of my life as it is now (studies, fairly limited social life and a very part time job 15 hours a week) is evidently too fast, and my symptoms don’t allow me to sit or do the same activity for longer than about an hour at a time. I’m also anxious about the prospect of being depended on by a boss or colleague when I’m going through a flare up or treatment, and my capacity to fulfil expectations. So what do I do?
The immediate issue is my degree. I have four weeks left of semester 2 and I am very behind with work. Then I have the summer to write a dissertation that is to be handed in at the beginning of September. If my condition stays the way it is now, can I complete the term with a shred of enjoyment?
My options are as follows:
1. extensions are pretty easy to sort out
2. change from full to part-time study and hand in my dissertation and other assignments next year
3. pause completely and take a sabbatical to get a grip on pain management
I’m seeing my consultant on Monday, when we’ll discuss what is left on the table, up his sleeve and under the rug. Hopefully that will give me a bit more to go on. Right now, I have a lot to think about.