The past few months have been rough. It's dawned on me that part of the reason for that is losing my therapist. I think I am still in a grief process over that, because she was such a big part of my life, every week, for three years. She was someone I trusted as much as I can trust a person, someone whose advice I valued, someone who I could talk to about most of the things I needed to talk about, and someone who invested time in a therapeutic relationship with me. My therapist continued to see me for about a year after Medicare stopped paying for my therapy. I have no idea how she managed to get by with that, but she did. And it was only when the mental health center hired new therapists that Medicare would actually pay for me to see that I had to stop therapy with my therapist.
Nobody else can measure up to my former therapist. Nobody is going to replace a three year history or be able to get to know me as well as she did. I don't really want to bother trying to develop a relationship with a new therapist, because I doubt it will help much, but I have gone to see the new one several times. It's hard to get appointments with him. His schedule is not as flexible as my former therapist's, and so I have only seen him once every couple weeks. He seems genuinely friendly and has a sense of humor, so I like him, but he doesn't know me. And it would take a really long time for him to get to know me. In the meanwhile, I'm floundering here by myself, and things are not working out too well.
I've been trying to make up for my lack of therapy with Alanon meetings lately, especially since a particular family member has had issues that made me want to seek such meetings. I have a long history of alcoholism in my family, just like many other families, and it has had effects. Those effects are by no means my major issues defining my life, but they cause me to behave and react and think in ways that are not necessarily healthy or worthwhile. Or so says Alanon. I have never been a big fan of twelve step groups, because I'm not much of a conformist or group person, but I have met some kind people, and listened to some insightful words in these meetings, and they have been worthwhile.
In the meantime, my apartment is a disaster again. I've been in a mode of not being able to deal with it for a few weeks, and it's starting to get pretty bad. I've also been in a mode of not knowing what to do about my future, so that's pretty bad too. I've decided I don't think that I can do the social work program I wanted to get into. So I have to do something else to get some kind of bachelor's degree. I also don't want to move to Tampa, and so I'm wanting to stay with the little community college I've gone to forever. But I'm lost. There are only two bachelor's degrees offered there that I'm remotely interested in, and it's not guaranteed that I'll be accepted into either one. And, beneath all this lies the fact that I really do not know what I "want" to do with my life (read: what I am actually capable of doing with my life).
I've been sick to my stomach every day for three weeks. I am full of anxiety. I can't relax. I don't know what to do. I know that if I still had my old therapist, I'd sit down and talk to her and we'd figure out something for me to do. But on my own, I feel like nothing is the right choice. I feel like I am getting depressed to the point that I can't make a choice, because I have no desire to do any of these degrees nor do I believe I can do them. I am scared about the future all the time.
A former professor I've kept in touch with for the last 15 years has told me many times that I do a lot for someone who has the illnesses I have and that I shouldn't compare myself to other people who have done more with their educations or careers. But I always compare myself to relatives, or just people in general who have bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, great careers, husbands/boyfriends/whatever, houses, cars with air conditioning, something they can say they "do" for a living. And I don't measure up to those people at all. I come up short and I hate myself for it. It's stupid to hate yourself. It's not productive. Nothing good comes from thinking like this. But I'm being honest here. That is how I feel. Like I haven't accomplished anything worthwhile.
I don't know what is wrong with me that, even when I do accomplish things, I still think that I have done nothing that matters. I don't know why I can't just be satisfied with my life as it is. I just always want to be more, do more, live more, know more. I am not satisfied with stasis. I am not satisfied with me. I don't trust myself to make it, to become who I want to be, to do what would be worthwhile to do. I have this foreboding sense of imminent failure and it makes me freeze in place, paralyzed by insecurity and fear. I don't know how to get past this.
To try to clear my thoughts:
What is Unknown:
whether I will ever by mentally (and physically) capable of working full-time
what kind of job/career I would be successful at
what I would be happy doing
when I'm going to take the time out to write a book and how I'm going to finance that (if ever possible)
whether my medication will stop working, and there won't be another one that I can use without horrible side effects
whether I'll always be obese thanks to the meds and end up with diabetes and other health problems that will be limitations, since I am already pre-diabetic
whether I'll end up getting worse and be hospitalized and not able to function
whether or not there will be a cure
where I should live
how I'd afford to live if I did move to Tampa to attend a university there, or somewhere else where there's another university
how I'm ever going to pay back all my student loans, considering I may never be able to work full time for years
how I'm going to survive when I "retire"
how I would possibly manage to go to school full time as is required in such programs as the social work program I wanted to enter, which would not be possible for me to do and work at the same time
how I am ever going to get out of poverty
which degree would land me a job that would get me out of poverty and allow me to do some of the things I'd like to do before I die, like travel
how to figure all this out
What is Known:
Right now I cannot work full time and manage my illnesses
Right now I have the psychosis under control but this might not last long, unless I'm lucky
I'm smart enough to get a Bachelor's degree in something
I've got enough credits for an A.A. degree, and will apply to graduate with that in the fall
I have some "work" experience doing advocacy work with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and activist work with the National Organization for Women
I can type (note: sarcasm)
I've come a long way since five years ago when I was homeless and psychotic and had no idea what was real but had to focus each day on basic survival