It's been a crazy, kinda overwhelming week. On Monday I had an appointment with a new neurologist. I'd been mildly freaking out about it to a friend on facebook and she ended up offering to go with me. I'm really glad I accepted the offer because it ended up being less scary with someone there that was asking questions about treatment options and was thinking more clearly than my freaked-out, migrainey self.
The appointment itself didn't go to badly. I was given three choices: stopping Inderal which is actually helping me and trying a similar-acting drug in the hopes it'll have even better results, starting Gabapentin which is an anticonvulsant and as a result has a load of annoying possible side effects, or getting the Botox protocol for migraine which involves many (31) small injections. I completely refused to stop the Inderal (it's the only thing keeping me in uni!) and couldn't decide between the Botox and Gapabentin during the appointment. So I was given a prescription for the Gabapentin and told that if I wanted to have the Botox all I had to do was make an appointment.
After the appointment I went shopping with the friend which was nice. I didn't particularly want to be at home doing nothing after that appointment. We went home after we ran out of stuff to look for. I went home and after about an hour doing nothing in particular on the internet I got an email from my mum. My mum went to Poland a few weeks ago to give her family there a break from looking after her sick father. The email was to say that he'd died, and asking us to ring the next day. I never got a chance to know my grandpa too well since we are half a world apart from each other, so I mostly just felt sadness at how he died and that my mum and her side of the family were now grieving, and a bit of regret that I'll never get a chance to really know him.
I spend the remainder of the week trying to finish my online course (and failing since I really wasn't in any state to do that), and being overwhelmed at everything. I went to choir practise (twice: the uni a Capella choir and the church Christmas choir) on Wednesday which was nice, and I went shopping with friends in the city on Friday. I managed to submit everything for my course by the end of Friday, and by Thursday night after much googling and asking on this online group about people's experiences with the two treatments, I had pretty much decided that I was going to go with the Botox. Friday morning I actually made the appointment so now it is set in stone (well, I can technically cancel it but as far as I'm concerned it's happening). So I guess it's been a crazily emotion-filled week with lots of up and downs, and I think that makes any things I've accomplished this week, however small, all the more awesome.
It's been three days of uni and already I'm exhausted. The idea of studying triggers an extremely definite 'no' from my brain. My subjects all look interesting (and kinda hard) and I am slightly intimidated by the workload and how much thinking I'll have to do in such a short space of time, but hopefully it'll make my brain better at processing things. I know last year did.
Currently it is 7pm and I am still at uni since I used up all the internet at home and my mum has an online lecture so we're both here doing various things on the internet. These last few days have all been like that. I've been trying out some new clubs since I actually want to do non-studying things at uni too! Monday was Debating which I left at 6 so I got home kinda late. Tuesday I tried out the uni choir which I don't think I'll be going back to, mostly because I get the feeling that it caters more for the people with 10 hours a week of classes. I got back really late from that; I was home at about 9 and then proceeded to watch tv for another couple of hours before getting up at 6:30 the next morning. I guess that's probably the reason for my recent exhaustedness and even more of a reason to be more sensible and not take up too many things at once. This whole pacing thing never gets easier, even though I am extremely aware of my limits. I always feel like pushing the boundaries.
Today my wish for a choir that doesn't have ridiculous rehearsal times was answered. I was meeting up with a friend today and she had an impromptu choir meeting so I ended up coming along. Technically the choir is supposed to be only for medicine students since it's part of their student society, but I guess they really don't mind if I come along as long as they aren't suddenly overrun with non-med people. It was nice to sing high again, but since it's been so long I don't think I was much good.
I keep thinking about how much work I have ahead of me this semester and I keep doubting I'm up to it. It's going to be quite a battle trying to learn all these new concepts, a battle I'm not really used to. I think the thing that really does it is the thought of six exams at the end of the semester. Having to do all the prep and having to sit so many exams, even some of them aren't worth much is kinda intimidating. I think physics freaks me out the most. I'll have five hours of exams (though not in a row) which is a lot of time to be spending on the one subject, especially when I have two more (and possible three but I don't know yet) demanding subjects to study for too. I guess I should have known it would be like this considering my subjects, but somehow physics took me my surprise. Five hours of exams is a lot of stuff to remember...
'Why me?' That's a thought that's been going through my head quite often in these past few weeks. I'm not even 20 and I take more pills than my father (who's in his late 60's). I think I even take more pills than my diabetic uncle. I almost feel like my life is over when really it's just beginning.
They say that there are five stages of grief when someone dies. Well, no one I know has died and yet I seem to alternate between all of them. I'm still partly in denial of this my-brain-is-really-sensitive-to-changes thing. I can't seem to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. I feel sad whenever I do and strangely victorious when I stay up late even though it makes me feel horrible. But at least I take all my pills now. Some days I seem to feel angry all the time, which is frustrating because there is nothing to direct my anger to. Apparently all this 'why me' stuff counts as bargaining, and sometimes I'm just sad, and I wonder if I'm depressed but it doesn't last long enough to count so I figure it's kinda normal.
But surprisingly, a lot of the time I'm fine. I'm just trying to live my life the best I can. And I have no idea how I do it. I suppose I have to because I don't have a choice. I really resent that right now.
Why the hell did this have to happen to me? Why does it have to be all the time? Can't I just have a break? For a day, even an hour?
I don't want any of this. I don't want to have to go to neurologist appointments where I have to make decisions that could potentially impact the rest of my life. And I am so terrified that one day some medicine I take will wreak my liver, or my stomach, and that I'll be in even more trouble. I'm scared that my brain will learn that pain is normal and I'll just keep getting worse and worse. So I have to take the drugs to try and control it. But there's always the question, what if I never get better? How the hell am I going to do this for another fifty or more years? With so much uncertainty it's not wonder that I don't want to make any defined goals for the future.
The annoying thing is that I have no idea if this is normal or not. No one told me to expect this emotional side effect from being in pain all the time. Not one doctor has ever thought to tell me about it or to even ask how I feel psychologically. Between that, and being told that my only problem is stress with an implied 'go away' something is seriously wrong with the medical system. Something is wrong with the way doctors are taught, because some of them still think it's appropriate to put their ego ahead of a patient's welfare.
I could keep ranting for ages and ages about this and that, but ironically I have just about ran out of energy and can't think straight anymore. This never used to happen...*sound of annoyance*. So, end of rant, sorry about the randomness of the stuff if you read this, but everything is just too much at the moment (probably doesn't help that it's holidays and I have so much time to think), and I just have to vent somewhere.
It's a new year, and a chance for a new start. I'm determined for this year to be different, to be better. That doesn't mean that 2013 wasn't an alright year, it necessary and full of new experiences and life lessons, but it certainly had a lot of room for improvement.
2013 was a year of new things. I was finally able to study the things I wanted to study and nothing else. I met lots of new people and made quite a few new friends. I found a strength in myself I never knew I had. And most importantly, I stopped being frustrated at all that is wrong and out of my control, and started focusing on the things I can improve and succeed in.
As this new year starts, suddenly there is so much more enthusiasm and motivation for making changes in my life for the better. People normally make new years resolutions, but I think I'll just name one area in my life I want to focus on improving. And with no contest, it would have to be my health. I think it's time to take it more seriously. To make sure I always take my medicine, even if I don't want to. To finally make that appointment that I've been putting off for four months. I need to tell more people about what's happening so I have the option of talking to people when I start wondering what the point of trying is, because nothing is changing. I need to consciously commit to changing my life for the better in all ways, by sleeping regularly, eating the right foods and adding a bit of exercise to every day because every time I've tried doing that before I stop doing it after a week or even a few days. I need to take time to relax every day so that I don't get too stressed by everyday life. Isn't it funny how one word, health, can involve so many different things and more.
It's going to take so much willpower and strength to actually follow this through, and I have no idea if I actually can. But a new year somehow brings new hope and determination, and right now it all seems possible and I sincerely hope that it is.
So today my body hates me. Normally it's just my brain that hates me so this is a bit out of the norm. Although I suppose it could still be considered my brain hating me even more than usual since the brain controls the body. My brain has turned my body against me :(
Anyway, now to get back at the lot of them I'm refusing to sleep. Which is kind of stupid since my brain and body are me. But somehow it makes me feel better (emotionally).
Yeah, I don't get my logic either.
So, apparently I think too much. At least according to this personality questionnaire that I did as part of a leadership workshop at uni. It's supposed to be a 3D assessment which gives a better picture than most quizzes that are a 2D assessment, or at least that's what they said.
According to this workshop, to be a good leader you have to understand yourself first, hence the quiz. My results told me that my main motivation in life was supposed to be Wisdom, I have an extremely optimistic outlook on life, and apparently my IQ is way stronger if you compare it in ratio with the other intelligences. We spent quite a few hours learning some of the theory behind this stuff which I won't go into here, but the website is here and there is a free version of the questionnaire there although it does take a bit of effort to fill out.
For the Wisdom motivation, the strengths were supposed to be being able to understand the full situation and get the best outcome for all others in the long term. This sounds awesome. Apparently overdoing it may make me 'appear too hypothetical'. I wasn't sure what it meant at first, but discussed it with the guy I was sitting next to (who happened to get the exact same results as me for this section) and we came to the conclusion that it means that we think too much. So then we thought about how to think less and realised that this was probably not going to work out...
Another thing I found out, is that contrary to what people have been telling me for a while, I am actually really really optimistic. Optimism isn't about 'looking on the bright side' or anything like that, although positive thinking like that is probably quite good for your mental health. Optimism is all about the way you approach a hard situation. It's not about ignoring the bad, but accepting it and doing everything you can to change it into something that suits you better. I suppose in that regard I've had a lot of practice recently... I guess that explains the high score in that area because it's supposed to be one of those things you can improved with training.
The thing that I really find strange is that the ratio of my IQ score was a lot higher than my EQ score. I always thought I was reasonably good at reading people although I have been feeling that that ability has been slowly diminishing over the years, probably ever since I decided in year 7 that I couldn't just keep being overly sensitive and reacting to everyone else's emotions. So now I'm starting to realise that I never actually solved that problem (assuming it was a 'problem' that needed solving) and to have any improvements in that area I'll probably need to start all over again.
I get the feeling that I'm just thinking too much about everything. They say that ignorance is bliss and I completely agree, but somehow I just can't help thinking and learning and reaching for knowledge about things that I probably would be happier not knowing about. I can't help wondering if maybe ignorance may not be worth the temporary bliss it produces, because things keep changing and there's always something to shatter your bliss in the end, and what're you going to do if you're not prepared?
Wow, this post has been all over the place. It's strange how my thoughts can feel so clear and I can see the big picture when I apply it to something external, like uni or other people, even if there are unanswered questioned and I don't completely understand it, yet when I try to puzzle out what's happening in my own life that I'm actually living I come up lost and confused in the maze of my own thoughts. It never used to happen. When I was younger I could see the 'big picture' in my life. Things were so simple then. *sigh* I suppose with external things I don't have to factor in any thoughts and wonder in depth about a variety of thoughts and feelings. I guess that makes it official
At the moment I am in the middle of my mid-semester break from uni. One week to rest, catch up with study and with friends. A week away from the relentless pace of uni. A week with a chance to think.
I'm beginning to realise that I am not as fine and I'd like everyone to believe. The workload of uni is really getting to me. I can't seem to balance it and I don't know why. I don't have much time during the week and on the weekend I never seem to end up doing anything. Half of the holidays have gone by and I have barely done anything.
Most people I know seem to be able to do uni and keep a job, still having time left over for various parties and social get-togethers. Sometimes I can't help wondering if the reason I can't is because I'm lazy. Maybe I should be forcing myself to study even if I feel completely drained. Maybe what I call drained other people consider normal.
But that's the problem. I don't know what's normal anymore. Is it normal to be this tired all the time? Is it normal to randomly have no appetite some days or to have some days where everything is an effort?
What if it is? It would mean that I'm just acting stupid all the time. But if it isn't normal, it would mean that something is seriously wrong with me. And that's just too scary to consider.
I'm too tired for all of this. I'd say I'm too young for all of this but then there are eighteen-year-olds in worse situations than this. Which almost takes away any right I have to feel sorry for myself. Sigh.
I've been thinking about using an elimination diet for a while to try and improve my general health (meaning the migraines and random headaches that might be weird versions of migraines, since other than that there is nothing wrong with my health). An elimination diet works by eliminating the food groups that are potentially causing me problems and reintroducing them for a day and waiting to see if I feel worse or the same. If I feel worse I'll know I should stay away from that food group and if nothing changes I'll know that it's pretty much safe. The original plan was to start the diet after June exams this year but with school and everything it was a bit much to change my diet so drastically. Plan B was to start it after exams. Hasn't happened yet, so I'm going to break it up into smaller pieces and use the new year as motivation.
The plan is to make one change a week, starting from the new year. Firstly, I will take a week to get into the habit of going to sleep between 9 and 10 each evening and waking up at 7 or 8 in the morning. Then I will take a week to get used to finding time to exercise each day. Then I'll start with the elimination diet, eliminating one food group a week, starting from the easier ones and getting to the harder ones in time. I'm going to go by the suggested food groups to eliminate here (put in order of how I plan to eliminate them) which are food colourings, artificial sweeteners, high sugar products like lollies, chocolate, peanuts, dairy, wheat, soy, corn and gluten. After a month or so I'll start reintroducing the groups by eating them one day and waiting to see what happens. So, I'll probably finish sometime in June. It's definitely going to be hard but I'm determined to see it through. It probably also helps that by writing about my intentions here, the plan becomes more real.
So to make it official: I vow as my new year's resolution to start and stick with this elimination diet until the very end as well as to keep a regular sleeping pattern and exercise at least a bit each day.
I think I may be guilty of being mean to myself. I expect myself to be able to do the things I'd planned to do that day, no matter what. If something does get in the way, I try and do everything normally anyway and get frustrated with myself when I fail.
Nothing seems to be a good enough excuse. If I'm sick, well, it's not like I'm in hospital or dying so I should be able to do it anyway. If I'm in pain I should be able to ignore it. If I'm just too tired and can't be bothered I wonder if I'm just being lazy.
Does this sound a bit harsh? Because for some reason it's what I expect of myself, even though it sounds absurd when I write it down. And that's probably because it is absurd.
The weird thing is, people I know expect similar things of themselves. They try to do a million practise exams and get upset with themselves when they don't do them all. They compare themselves to everyone else and don't seem to get that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, that everyone one of them has something great and wonderful about them.
Writing that, I realise that it is so easy to tell people that they do too much and should not compare themselves to others, but in saying that I am technically a hypocrite because that is what I do myself. So, I need to make a conscious attempt at changing my own habits, because I can't tell anyone to change theirs if I am not making an attempt.
Be nice to yourself.
Let yourself rest when you are tired.
Put your health and well-being first.
Remember that sleep is not optional, but compulsory.
And make sure listen to your body and your inner voice.
Please, take care of yourself.
Holidays are almost over, and so my final term at school will begin. I can barely believe that I have just over two weeks of school left and then am never going to take a school class ever again.
While I'm happy that I'll have this huge break from studying after November, I'm going to miss my school. It is such a wonderful environment to be in, and unfortunately the world seems to be its exact opposite.
I have so many plans for after exams that I don't know where to start. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to actually do the exams before it's considering after exams but I really wish I could do everything now. I'm wondering whether I should get a part time job somewhere, but then I wouldn't know where to go or how to start going about that.
At some point I have to find out about the music opportunities in my area. My school has a great music department with a lot of events which I've been part of in the last 4 years. Leaving means I can't do that any more, and I want to find some sort of activity to replace it. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens with that.
Only 48 days of studying left. Now, that's kinda scary.