Not one semester

I haven’t gone one semester without issues.  Those four years for my first degree were full of problems.  Last semester, I had to drop art metals.  This semester, I’m taking an incomplete for contemporary art.  I’m tired of this.

Hopefully, I can finish all the work for the rest of my classes before Thursday.  I just have so much to do.  And I’m so bad at doing it.

At least my professors have been nice and accommodating.

Let’s see…what do I have to do?  Well, I have to finish my giant drawing (mostly just erasing and fixing stuff) and assemble my portfolio for this afternoon.  Then, for tomorrow, I have to write a reflection and email it with another reflection to my teacher.  I also have a short paper for that class due tomorrow (really, due last week).  Then, for Thursday, I have to finish making a video, take a test in which I have to explain every answer, write a paper, write another paper, and assemble a portfolio.  Should be super fun!

I don’t really even have anything to write.

Things I learned in School Today

School is, basically, a game.  At least, that’s what I got out of the presentation.  I think the point was that games are better than school, but, based on my experiences, school matched his definition of a game.  So….yeah…..

Also, overmedication for ADHD is a huge problem.  Now, I’m not going to say it isn’t, but what I will say is that there are a lot of kids who do benefit from medication.  Yes, there are cases of improper use, but making broad generalizations stating that it shouldn’t be used ever and is really not for the kids, is, frankly, stupid.

Also, debate club in high school must be really easy.  ‘Cause these kids in my class who claim to be champions aren’t very great.  Well, I guess the one was good at reading quotes quickly…but that was about it.

We had presentations in two of my three education classes today.  It was, overall, not very exciting or purposeful.  I could have stayed home and slept.  But that would have been bad.  And I need to talk to my professor about my late papers.  So…guess it’s good that I’m here.

Going back to the ADHD med guy, one of his main reasons for not medicating kids was that then they can’t “be themselves.”  This brings up an interesting discussion that I don’t think he was meaning to get at.  Should anyone be medicated?  Does being on medication mean you’re not yourself?  Am I not myself because I take medication?  Who am I?  Am I supposed to be depressed and anxious and unable to function?  Or maybe the medication gets other things out of the way so that I can be myself.  Or maybe something in between.

Personally, I’m depressed and anxious enough on meds; I don’t think I would “be myself” if I were more depressed.  Then again, how do we define who we are?  Maybe being myself isn’t desirable.  Maybe the meds help me be myself, or maybe they make me “someone else.”  Or, maybe I’m myself whether or not I’m on meds.  After all, they become a part of me.

Really, saying no one can benefit from ADHD meds, or any meds, bothers me.  A lot.  I couldn’t sit through his presentation very easily, because I was upset by the implications of his generalizations and his lack of understanding.  But whatever.  There was no time for me to ask a question or anything (not that I would have), so it’s over now.  I’m probably the only person who will think about that presentation.

In an hour and a half, classes will be over, and it will be time for me to talk to my teacher.  I don’t know…I don’t know what to do or ask her or say.  I just know I haven’t been able to do the assignments and don’t know when I’ll be able to.

I have a drawing due tomorrow.  I haven’t started it yet.  Guess that’s what I’ll be doing tonight.  Even though I’d rather not.  There’s just so much to do and it’s so unnecessary.

Can’t I just give up now?

I have so much work to do.  I do not like it.

Yesterday, my friend messaged me on Facebook, saying she was depressed and had a bunch of work to do.  So we talked and encouraged each other and we actually got some work done.  Well, I wrote two pages in an hour, which was good, but that’s pretty much where my productivity stopped.  I still have to write at least three pages for that paper, plus a bunch of others.  I also have to make a video.  I did recording for that last night, since I couldn’t get any writing done.  That was good, I guess, but there’s so much to do.  Today, in my six hours between classes, I will try to write some papers and work on the video.  I’m already feeling super anxious, so I doubt that’s going to go well.  More likely, I’ll just sit here and not get anything done.

Right now, I am going to get something done.  I’m going to write the voiceovers for my video.  Basically, my video has two parts:  a breathing exercise to kind of give viewers a sense of what anxiety can feel like, and the video of me doing nothing while Matchbox 20’s Unwell plays.  That part, I think, will also flash statistics of mental illness, especially anxiety in kids (it’s for my education class), and have some voiceovers of me saying things that kind of give a glimpse of what I think about sometimes.  It’s sort of a performance art/public service announcement, ideally.  I’m really nervous about it because I don’t know how my classmates will receive it, but I think it will be okay and I don’t have to deal with them after this semester if I don’t choose to, probably, so that makes it a little better.

Anyway, I’m thinking of doing snippets of voice during the song, layering the audio and visual components to sort of reflect how there’s always so much going on in my mind.  I guess I’m trying to give them the feeling of being overwhelmed while not detracting from the message.  What’s the message?  I guess I’m just trying to bring awareness to mental health issues so that they can be sympathetic to students who are suffering and not make it worse.

So I’m going to type snippets now…yeah…I was also looking back through some blog entries for quotes, but I didn’t like doing that too much and it takes a while, so I think I’ll stick to this process.

I don’t know.  I just don’t know anything.  Except I do.  I know a lot.  I just feel like I don’t.

I’m stuck.  I can’t do anything.  I want to, but I can’t.  I can’t decide what to do or how to do it.  There are just too many options, too many possibilities.  I’m stuck, even when I know what to do and how to do it.  I know exactly what I want to get done, I just can’t.

I sit here for hours, doing nothing.  This is not fun.  This is not relaxing.  This is horrible.  This is painful.  This is not productive or comfortable or desirable.  This is pathetic.  I am pathetic.

I am hopelessly depressed, inexplicably anxious, and painfully aware of the ridiculousness of it all.

When I see you, my first thought is not to say hi.  It’s to hide.  To get away so that I don’t have to interact, so that I’m not expected to talk to you or look at you or have you look at me.  It’s not that I don’t like you, ’cause I do.  It’s just that it hurts me to say hello.  It’s just that I feel like I don’t know what to do and I’m afraid of doing something not right.  I’m afraid of hurting you and of you hurting me, so I avoid you.  It’s just better that way.

Well, with what I already had, that’s a page of typing.  Should be enough for snippets in my less than four minute song.

I emailed one of my professors, the one who teaches the class the video’s for, about not presenting it tomorrow, but on Thursday instead.  She said we can push it back however much I need.  So at least that’s good and I don’t have to worry about it too much.  Now, I just get to worry about it because that’s what I do.  And I can worry about everything else, because it is due (or overdue)…yay.

I’m so lucky

I just don’t feel it.  I know I am.  I just don’t express it.  Even if I do express it, I don’t feel it.  I feel horrible.  I feel like my life is crashing around me, even though I know it’s not.  And I can’t make it feel better.

It’s a difficult thing, having feelings and thoughts not match.  I often wonder how other people think and feel.  I know I’m not the only one to experience this, but what about those people whose thoughts and feelings match?  How do they function?  Much better than me, I suppose.  Not having to constantly remind themselves that the world is not, in fact, coming to an end.  That everyone doesn’t hate them.  To just wake up not even having to think about whether you’ll be able to make it through the day without wanting to cry for no reason.  To just wake up and not have to think about things you don’t want to think about.  It must be nice.

I had two papers due for two classes taught by the same professor yesterday.  I have a poorly written paragraph done for one.  That’s all.  I was able to write my teacher an email explaining the circumstances, and she’s agreed to accept the papers late.  Not everyone who doesn’t finish their papers get to turn them in late.  I’m lucky.  I suppose I’m happy that I have another chance, but I still feel bad.  I don’t feel relieved.

I have so much to do before the end of the semester in two weeks.  I have papers and projects and lots of stuff, plus my house is a mess and I really should clean up my stuff.  I would feel better if I did.  Maybe.  And I’d be able to work better.  Maybe.  But it’s just so hard.

I think I’m going to go to my volunteer position now.  I’ll be early, but I guess that’s better than sitting here complaining.  I don’t know what art project we’ll do today.  I have lots of ideas, so I guess I’ll see if they got any new supplies and then decide.

After volunteering, I’ll Skype with my cousins for their art lesson.  That will be good.  I like them.  Then, I’ll have to do homework, because there’s so much of it to do.  It will never be done, it seems.  I should probably just give up.  But apparently I’m not allowed to do that, according to my mother.  Giving up is not an option.  Fine.  Be that way.  See if I care.  I do care.  I care too much.  It hurts.

I guess I’ll go now.  Hopefully, I feel better later.  But probably not.  That’s just how it is.

I didn’t go to class this morning

I was far too tired for driving to be safe, so I stayed home.  I will go to my afternoon class in about 40 minutes.

I am also feeling very anxious for no apparent reason.  Yesterday, I was feeling very depressed, almost to the point of having tears streaming down my face, which hasn’t happened in a while.  I try to do everything I’ve been taught, all the healthy coping skills and breathing exercises and what not, but it doesn’t help.  It doesn’t get better.  And I don’t like it.

My psychiatrist was in a car accident and is closing his practice so he can recover.  I have about a month of meds left, but I need to find a new doctor.  I also need a doctor to write a note or something for school so that I can substitute another class for art metals, because I am certainly not taking it again, even though it’s required for my degree.

The semester will be over soon.  Then, I will be at camp.  That should be fun.  At least, parts of it will be.  I’m not in a very hopeful mood right now, so I’m not even close to thinking that everything will be better over the summer, though I’ve certainly had those thoughts at other points in time.

Last week, I started a post, but I didn’t get very far or really say anything.  I just couldn’t decide where to start.  Some of the stuff I was going to write about was going to maybe be happyish.  Well, not today.  Oh well.

The worst part is, I don’t know why.  If I knew why, maybe I could fix it.  I do everything I’m told to do to make it feel better, but it just doesn’t work.  Sure, there are moments that are fun or happy, like when I was coloring and gardening with little kids yesterday, but it’s still there.  Always.  If I stop, just for a moment, it gets worse, and then it’s hard to restart whatever I was doing.

I’m so indecisive.  I can’t choose what clothes to wear or what to do, so sometimes I just sit on the couch half-clothed and stare and think and worry.  But, of course, I resist any suggestions anyone gives me to try to help.  Oh, you’re bored?  Why don’t you play with the dog?  Or make a Mother’s Day card?  Nope…there’s something wrong with every idea.

I am kind of hungry.  I would like some ice cream, but I don’t think there is any in the freezer.  I guess I could stop at McDonald’s or something on the way to school.  But that’s maybe too much social activity right now.  I don’t know.  I don’t know anything.

I still have 20 minutes before I need to leave, and I do have much more I could write, but I feel like nobody would want to read it anyway, so why bother.  I guess I’ll try to find something to do, like work on homework or something.  But, probably, I won’t.  And I’ll just sit here, idly clicking and refreshing tabs, hoping for something to happen or someone to talk to me.

Words from a teacher and Person-first language

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am currently taking a class on special education.  It’s an introductory course, and I already have background in a lot of the topics because of my psychology and art therapy courses.  This makes the class rather easy but still informative (in the specifics of educational laws and functioning).  The professor has years of experience in the field of special education, teaching children in public schools and education students in universities.  She seems fairly knowledgeable on the subjects we discuss and doesn’t generally make mistakes.  Until today.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that people aren’t allowed to make mistakes or misspeak.  However, basic understanding of the proper use of terms one is using to teach is, I think, a fairly reasonable expectation.

Today, our lecture was about emotional and behavioral disorders (also known by many other terms, but that’s the gist of it).  When we got to the definition part, which was quite early in the short class, the professor began talking about the federal definition and other definitions of various organizations and such.  Well, the federal definition, apparently, includes an exclusion for social maladjustment, such as “conduct disorder–aggressive, disorderly, antisocial behavior.”  Besides that wording and punctuation being a bit odd, the professor’s explanation did not properly address it.  Maybe I’m misinterpreting the statement, but it seems to me that, especially with that combination of words (conduct disorder, aggressive, etc.), the antisocial behavior mentioned is just that–antisocial behavior.  My professor, however, seems to think that antisocial behavior means social awkwardness and avoidance.  Although this is a popular interpretation of the word antisocial, it is an actual disorder, with a specific set of antisocial characteristics and behaviors.  It is my understanding that, when discussing diagnostic things, one should use the correct diagnostic definitions.  In this case, antisocial behavior is obviously behavior that is against society, not simply unsocial.  My professor did not address any of the other words in the exception of the category.  It bothers me that people don’t understand things like this and perpetuate such misunderstandings in their teaching.

This wasn’t a major incident, but it did remind me of another post I’m working on, so I thought I’d talk about that topic now, too.  That topic, which this particular professor seems to enjoy emphasizing, is person-first language.  Basically, person-first language means that, when describing someone, you should put the person or humanizing adjective before a disability or disorder.  For instance, instead of saying something like “The autistic boy went to McDonald’s,” you would say “The boy who is autistic went to McDonald’s.”  The purpose of this is to emphasize the human aspect and deemphasize the label, reducing negative connotations and focusing on commonalities.  This seems fine and dandy, but I’m not convinced.  First of all, from a purely linguistic point of view, the wording is, well, off, and seems to emphasize that there is a difference.  In our language and culture, we generally say things like “the blonde girl,” “the good lawyer,” “the fat man,” “the distracted child,” while person-first language makes us think about this and, only for specific cases, makes us change the wording.  It is less common and more cumbersome to say “the girl who has blonde hair,” “the lawyer who is good,” “the man who is fat,” “the child who is distracted,” and people just don’t do it.  Moreover, it’s not suggested by person-first language.  At what point do we draw a line in rewording our descriptions?  Is “The German boy who has autism” better than “The German boy is autistic” (is versus has is another issue altogether) or “The boy who is German has autism” or “The boy with autism is German” or “The autistic boy is German” or any other combination of those words?  I think it depends on what one is trying to say, but I don’t believe any of those is inherently dehumanizing.  Should we say “The young male person of German heritage exhibits behaviors commonly associated with the set of symptoms known as autism”?  This rewording, to me, while well-intentioned, actually puts unneeded emphasis on the condition being discussed.

In addition, some communities, such as the Deaf community, do not approve of this type of language.  Deaf people, according to literature, would rather be called “Deaf people” than be called “people who are deaf” because they have a culture, a community, a language all their own, and it’s not dehumanizing to identify them as being a part of that.  In fact, it is empowering in many cases.

I’m not suggesting that every possible wording is okay in every circumstance, but I do think that the wordings we use should fit what we are trying to say.  There are also differences between saying “The depressed girl” and “The girl with depression” and “The girl who is depressed” and “The girl who has depression” but I don’t think one is inherently wrong or dehumanizing.  What can be dehumanizing is how people use the words.  “That guy is sooo bipolar,” for example, puts the person first but is still demeaning, while saying “The bipolar man shared his lunch” is not.

Anxiety is the spice of life

Right?  Well, no, but…nope, can’t even pretend.  I was late for class this morning because, after I got up and started getting ready, I was feeling very anxious and decided to “rest for a few minutes”…a few minutes turned into almost an hour, and it wasn’t even restful.  I do not like this.  The anxiety I had was a carry over from yesterday and worry about today, plus just general anxiety about nothing in particular.  You see, in my art metals class, I have two projects due on Tuesday.  We’re not allowed in the studio on the weekends, so that leaves this afternoon and part of Monday afternoon (and possibly Tuesday morning for a bit, but not enough to count on) to finish.  I worked for four hours yesterday trying to cut a fish shape out of brass to fit inside the same shape cut out of copper.  I just could not get it to fit.  Besides this being quite frustrating, I’m terrified of what I have to do next, besides finishing the fish-cutting:  I have to solder.  As I’ve mentioned before, soldering (and annealing, which I also have to do) requires the use of an open flame, a torch that I will hold and control.  I do not like hot things; not campfires, not ovens, not hair dryers, and certainly not torches.  I have been putting this off for the past month, not working in the most efficient ways because I was avoiding the flame.  Well, I’m past the point of avoiding now, and I didn’t even ask anybody for help, so it’s all up to me, today, to start/finish the work.  I’m going to start with annealing and see how that goes, since it shouldn’t take too long and doesn’t require as much control and directing of the flame to draw the solder around the seams.  But I’ll still have to solder today.  Yay.  Honestly, I am so scared, and, if I could drop the class without it showing on my transcript, I probably would.  But it’s past that point and I just have to get through this or fail, and I really don’t feel like failing one of my first classes at this school.  Plus, it’s something I should know how to do in case I ever need to teach it or want to use it in my own work, and I really want to work on getting over/through this fear.  In my last art metals class (which I dropped when we got to soldering), I did handle the torch and solder a bit, but I was scared then and don’t really remember any of it.  So it’s like I’m doing this for the first time.  And it’s scary.  Very, very scary.

I also have two writing assignments to do for my special education class that are due at midnight tonight.  I was going to do them yesterday after I left metals, but I was still quite anxious and couldn’t concentrate, so I didn’t.  That means I have to fit those assignments in today, too.  The metals studio closes at 9pm, so I could have an hour or two to do the assignments tonight (if I stay in metals all day), but I don’t know if that’s enough time, if I’ll be too anxious, or if I’ll be too tired to do the work then.  So I should do that this afternoon, maybe as a break from metals, like while my soldered and annealed copper is in the pickle solution (to clean it after touching fire).  Or maybe I should do it now and avoid the flame a little longer.  After all, it’s already past the time I was planning on being in the studio, so what’s another hour or two away?  Actually, I wasn’t going to be in the studio until about now, but my class ended early, so I’ve been ready to go to the studio for an hour or so.  Except I’m not at all ready…but I can’t wait until I am, because that time will probably never come.  So here I am, sitting on my computer and trying to type through my feelings to…what?  make it easier to go and do the work I need to do?  I don’t think that’s going to happen, but maybe that’s my hope.  I don’t know.

 

Well, I just spent an hour and a half on the internets, mostly Yahoo Answers, answering questions, which is odd because I haven’t done that this much in about six years.  I must really be trying to avoid something.  Now that I’ve closed that tab, I guess I’ll start packing up and go confront the art metals room…Yay…