Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Semester Ahead

Classes start up again tomorrow. I'm wavering somewhere between full-on vacation-end doldrums and excitement about having new courses that should be better than last semester's. Normally I like being busy and having a set schedule everyday but, I gotta say, these past few weeks have been SO nice and SO relaxing. I think being in a better place emotionally helps; I no longer feel like I have to obsessively fill my time to avoid being alone with myself in my head. At the moment, I am perfectly content to just sit with my own thoughts and not freak out.

I feel a little better prepared to tackle the craziness that is graduate school this time around, especially since I've got all the little stuff (parking, scheduling, expectations, grades, general atmosphere) figured out. And the little stuff tends to stress me out most, which is dumb but inevitably the case.

By this point, I also have a great relationship with my advisor and am super happy to be working with him. I LOVE the research we're doing and really believe in it, which is a definite difference in the way I felt about most of my fall classes. Plus, I am learning so much. Like, every time I walk into his office, I learn something new. So even if some of my classes this semester turn out to be duds, I've still got this source of intellectual inspiration, which is really important to me.

Along with the coursework and research, this semester I am also starting my internship placement. I will be working at a health clinic in a really poor section of College City, which should be a mix of eye-opening and depressing and informative all at once. And hopefully I'll enjoy it! It should be a nice change of pace from sitting in front of a computer all day.

If you're wondering when exactly I'm going to fit all this in (and don't forget my job, which is how I pay for, like, rent and electric and groceries and all that), you would be onto something. Right now I'm scheduled for 12 hours of class, 10 hours of internship, 10 hours of research, and 20 hours of work per week. I had thought that by dropping down from 5 classes to 4 I was giving myself a break, but somehow the hours have filled up again. We shall see how this goes...

Which brings me to my next dilemma. I haven't seen Dr. P in about a month because I was totally swamped the last week of the semester, then I was out of town, and then I got over-scheduled at work last week so I had to cancel again. I feel really guilty that Dr. P is saving me a spot on her calendar when I am totally NOT making therapy a priority these days, but lately it seems like there's always a headache involved in finding time to carve out an hour for an appointment. And the other elephant in the room on this issue is that I just don't feel super compelled by therapy anymore. I mean, I'm doing well, you know? I'm not even sure what I would talk about with Dr. P at my next appointment (whenever that ends up being). Eating/food is same ole same ole—not perfect, but to be honest, I don't know that talking about it much more will make a huge difference. Like I've written about before, therapy has never made a huge dent in the ED for me. As far as the recovery mindset, I'm there, and now I just need to keep chipping away at all the old bad habits day by day.

I still have anxieties and insecurities, but I'm not depressed or suicidal or anything like that. For the most part I am pretty happy. So, what do people talk about in therapy at this point?? I don't want to waste either of our time.

Random sunny Sunday facts to close:
—It is sunny AND over 30 degrees for the first time since I've been back in College City. Incredible.
—No rain or snow in the forecast for a whole WEEK.
—Four days into my self-imposed weeklong running ban, and my hip is definitely feeling better.
—Coffee. That's all.


  1. Whats your take on phone appts? I'm a phone-phobe, but given my crazy schedule it's just so much easier to not have to travel to/from appts. I've switched to going every other week, and if I'm busy I just try to cancel with a least a couple of days' notice so someone else can take my slot. It's a nice safety-net, one that I'll probably get rid of almost entirely when I start at the actual medical school and am working in a non-flexible situation. I'm crazy busy right now, but I can step away for a 40 min phone call w/o asking anyone permission, you know?

    So that's me voting that you not nix it yet-- it's a pain, it's $$, but as long as you might get something outta it it's worth keeping it on the calendar, however infrequently, IMO. Because a phone call or visit every few weeks is about infinitely less time wasting than possibly relapsing, you know?

    1. I would definitely consider phone appts, although I kind of hate talking on the phone too and worry that it would just be another excuse for me to clam up in therapy. Luckily my therapist is a gem and tries her best to be as understanding as flexible as possible schedule-wise. And yeah, I do think I'm probably still getting something out of therapy, even if it's just the knowledge that someone is there looking out for me. No hurry to pull the rug out..

  2. Yikes, sounds like quite the busy semester! Even if you have to schedule it on your calendar, make sure you take some time for you. As far as therapy, I agree with JS that touching base would still be a good thing. It might be that you don't need to keep seeing her six months down the line, who knows. But it might be good to try to meet with her every three or four weeks, just to be sure things are still going smoothly, especially with a busy semester coming up. A very busy time might trigger anxiety/depression/old feelings. That might not be the case (I certainly hope it isn't!), but it would be helpful to be able to call her up and schedule an appointment if there are some bumpy times. That's just my take on it, but it wouldn't need to be a weekly thing, but it's at least nice to have someone there if you really do get into a jam.

    Glad your hip is doing better! Enjoy the nice weather!

    1. you are totally right—the start of a new jam-packed semester would probably not be the greatest time to nix one of the bigger safety nets I have in place... I actually just talked with Dr. P on the phone and scheduled an appt for this week, and I'm already feeling more relaxed just having that on the calendar. Thanks Alie!