I’ve moved, to neonanonymous.com. You can catch me there!
It seems strange to say, but sometimes I forget what it’s actually like to be me.
I mean, to be me without the medication, without the support, without the blind faith that stuff is going to work out. Occasionally I get a glimpse of that person, the unadulterated and unfiltered me-ness of me. Now they are just glimpses, like someone pulls back the curtains at the exact moment that you look up into their window and for a moment you are watching each other. I get the feeling of being outside the person I used to be.
But even that is a fallacy, because the person I used to be is still me. It’s just that I now control me, rather than the other way around. Not that things don’t ever go wrong in that confusing equation.
And that’s why I started running again, and that’s why I think I need to keep running, because there is clarity and power is making yourself suffer like that. I forgot that making myself feel bad could actually feel great, because usually when I’m making myself feel bad it makes me feel like I want to evaporate into nothingness.
But I don’t. I won’t. Ever. Because I like being corporeal.
Things have been bad for the last few months. It was bad before that too, but not as much.
I’ve been ill. Things started happening that I didn’t understand. I went from being able to comfortably run for 10, 15, 20km to barely being able to run 5, then 3. Then I stopped. It was easier while I tried to work out what was wrong. I haven’t run for 371 days.
For my birthday this year I was given an activity tracker. I am going to start again. I miss running. I miss feeling tired. I miss it.
I recently read an article about being a high functioning schizophrenic which ended with the sentiment ‘I am high functioning with a condition that is very low functioning’, the implication being that in those cases it doesn’t actually take much to go from high to low function, and that change can happen really quickly.
What I took from the article is that I don’t respect my condition (bipolar) or myself enough. I don’t think I’m ‘high functioning’, merely functioning. I know things about myself, my triggers, the first signs of decline, the consequences, but I do nothing. I have already lost a significant amount of time, life, happiness, love, and many other uncountable things to this condition. I say I am not willing to lose any more but I don’t know if I am acting in a way that backs up that desire.
I have always considered myself to be strong, but I am not. I am very fragile. I am susceptible to words, a lack of words, actions, lack of actions. I need to get better at that because it is making my path through life very difficult – more difficult than it needs to be.
I do not know where to go from here.
I thought I’d just follow up from my last post, although I am not going to give all the context for this.
My corrections have (finally) been accepted, almost three months after I submitted them.
4 years, 6 months, and 22 days after I began; 8 months, 8 days after I submitted, and 5 months, 9 days after my viva I am finished (also, I am a bit obsessed with time counting, just in case you hadn’t figure that out).
I will have to wait until my uni ratifies the result. I hope this will happen at the end of this month, but it might be the end of next month. It means my degree will be ratified in time to graduate this July. Which is just as well, because my parents have already organised their trip over.
Anyway, there’s not too much else to say. That’s it. My part is over. Finally.
I recently read an article which advocated multiple celebrations in the lead up to the end of the PhD: submission, viva, submitting corrections, and final ratification. I am now at the last of those steps, and have been for several months, and I have not celebrated once. And that’s okay (I think).
It’s now just over eight months since I submitted, and I think most people are done and dusted by this point. I know that all things take time (probably more time that you initially imagine they will take), but my guess is that most people who receive minor corrections, as I did, have had their degrees ratified by eight months out (maybe not, maybe I am just imagining that). I feel like everything has take a long time and then a little bit more, and many things were late coming in. It feels like an age ago that I told my supervisor that I wanted to be finished by the end of the year (in fact, the end of that year was nearly five months ago now), so you can imagine that I am disappointed. I eventually submitted in August, and my viva was set for November. I assumed that with the three-week deadine for reports I would receive them at the end of December, but they were late and I didn’t get them until the end of January. I submitted my corrections in early February and now, nearly three months later, I am still waiting. You can imagine that I am disappointed.
In fact, the whole thing has really made my PhD experience, well, a bit shitty.
At the start of last year I assumed that I would be a doctor by the end of the year, and yet, eight months after submitting my thesis I am still here waiting. And, the worst thing about it is that I can’t do anything.
And other people have wanted to celebrate, but I just can’t. Celebrating was the last thing I wanted to do when I submitted. I was angry, sad, frustrated, and I just wanted to be rid of the whole thing (I still am, and still do).
My viva was a high point, and I am really pleased that went well, but I didn’t really feel like celebrating, knowing that it wasn’t the end yet.
When I submitted my corrections I thought it would be a waste to celebrate, as I assumed I would be celebrating having my degree ratified at the end of February. Then the end of March. Now it’s almost the end of April and the deadline for ratification so I can graduate this July is fast approaching.
I am angry, hurt, frustrated, disappointed. I feel a lot like I have been let down by other people. I’ve done all the things I was meant to do, and in the time frame that I was meant to do them. But I have been held up by other people. I know that sounds a lot like I am trying to lay blame, and I’m not. I’m just trying to come to terms with the fact that there is actually nothing I can do about the situation that I am in, and I just have to wait.
So, that’s it. I do not think I will ever feel like celebrating getting my PhD. I know what I am like, and I think that memories of this time in my life will always be punctuated by anger and sadness. And, that’s wrong. I feel like I have been wronged by that.
But, as I said, there’s nothing I can do about it.
What I miss about running is not what I thought I would miss.
I miss the feeling of freedom, the dappled sun on my face, running along the river for hours.
I ran again yesterday for the first time in over a month. It was hard, and I only managed 2kms (I know, right…) before I had to call it off. But one thing was great, and that was I am just unfit! I am just unfit, but that’s something that I can fix! I can run more and get fitter, and stronger, and faster again! It’s not like it was before I stopped running when I physically couldn’t run because my body felt like it was made of stone. Instead, I am just unfit. And I can fix that (as I have said).
I have been on the new medication for a few weeks now, and I am starting to feel a lot better. It’s not 100%, but I have come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever be 100% now. There will always be a something, but I would rather that something be from medication, and something that I have a bit of control over, than from my own brain attacking itself, which I have no control over.
Looking back over the past two years I realise how much I have lost and gained, and I do not want running to become a casualty of an illness that I cannot control. So I am going to control it, and that will be a struggle. An uphill battle. And, I always hated running hills.
But, at least I can train to get better at it.