Table Talk Tuesday: College Mama pt 2

Last week I posted about my then upcoming Weekend of Welcome at my university & my concerns about how immersed I felt I could or should be because I’m older & a mama.

Well, my ex agreed to stay at my place and watch both boys so I could attend all the festivities I wanted. (I know, even though he’s my ex, he’s awesome) So I attended various events last Thursday-Saturday. The mandatory ones were tedious & boring, my academic meeting was informative & gave me the dose of reality I needed (I’m going after a dual degree program), & some of the fun festivities were pretty rad.

Thursday night,  I wrestled over mattresses Steal the Bacon style with people 10 years my junior, got rained on repeatedly, & leap frogged the entire length of a soccer field during a crazy long relay race. My thighs started cussing me out halfway and were dead by the time I low-crawled over the finish line. (My team came in third place-GO BLUE! AUGUSTIVUS WOOOOHOOO! PBU! PBU!)

Friday there were more meetings and I was still barely able to move from the night before. When it came time to go home, I stayed home with the boys instead of going back out for that evening’s social activities. Besides, Irene was on her way, so I had to prepare, grocery shop, you know, do Mama stuff.  Speaking of Irene, I should have listened to my gut Saturday morning when it told me to stay home instead of go to Philly with the rest of my incoming class. It was just a bad idea. Irene started pre-gaming in our area with lots of rain that left us all soaking wet….which pissed me off. Plus I’ve been to center city plenty enough this summer-I was less than enthused to be staring at the Liberty Bell & slogging my way to Reading Terminal dripping wet. The icing on the cake and perhaps the biggest indicator that I should have stayed home was the fact that I was in a reflective state of mind. Not really anti-social, but just withdrawn. I wanted to read & stew in my own thoughts….not really what I needed to be Socialite Sally for the day.

All in all I’m glad I was able to partake in pretty much everything. It gave me the chance to meet people & myself the chance to exercise some gut following. I automatically started to see what would work for me, what I could be involved in, & what I couldn’t. I learned that when it comes to something like this, it’s always best to follow your instincts-I know mine will tell me where to navigate to as I move forward this year.

Speaking of moving forward, let’s skip over Irene & just stop at yesterday: my first day of classes. It was hectic, it was usual first day stuff, it was even surprising-some of the classes I thought would be heavy hitters & require hundreds of hours of writing this semester actually aren’t. I was able to tie up loose ends around campus (like parking passes & financial aid)…but here’s the thing. It all felt like a blur. Like it wasn’t really happening. By the time I got home and fed the boys dinner, I couldn’t even remember how I had managed to do so. It was only then that I realized my heart was pounding and that my thoughts were racing-had been all day. That I had been moving (and probably speaking at) the speed of light. The frantic pace and anticipation that came with the first day of classes had raised my anxiety to a certain level & I hadn’t even realized it, because I felt so great the whole day. (Which, sound a tad like the euphoric feelings of mania, does it not?) And even though my body was tired, my mind was wired & in a very weird space, a little panicky, but I don’t even think I can articulate it actually. I just know that I didn’t feel right. I could also tell immediately that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. But that’s just what I did. I put the boys to bed and then forced myself to sleep….at 6:30.

This morning I woke up and realized that I’m a little scared about what it’s going to take to tackle this semester. It’s going to take me being on my A game, and I know I’m not. Not mentally. I’m still trying to get there. Medication is starting to help, and I start therapy next Tuesday….but trying to manage college life, motherhood, life in general, AND trying to get a manageable hold on a mood disorder (meds, exercise, therapy, etc)? MAN. That’s alot. And I didn’t even mention blogging…..

Can I do it. I believe I can. But the question, is how? I think my therapist will be able to help me develop some strategies (she’s a cognitive behavioral therapist), but do you have any suggestions on how I can approach this? How do you balance it all & stay afloat? Especially you readers who do or have battled a mental illness, how did you take care of everything but also manage to take care of yourself at the same time? Any advice you can offer a mama?



3 thoughts on “Table Talk Tuesday: College Mama pt 2

  1. I wish that I had the magic answer for you Addy.
    Truth is, you are inspiring to me. ME…because I had such a hard time dealing with my mental illness that I had to back away from work…life…but here you are jumping into it. That? Is awesome. Give yourself a giant hug pat on the back and happy dance because a lot of people can’t do what you’re doing. It just shows your immense strength to move forward and to not let this awful illness hold you back.
    I think that one thing to remember is that it’s ok to not do all and be all. And to give yourself permission to step out and come up for air when you need to.
    You have a world of support behind you too. Don’t forget that.
    Also, first week of school was always stressful and exciting all at once and that was BEFORE I had all this mental mumbo jumbo junk to deal with. So you’re probably experiencing that only 10 fold. Just stop and breathe and re-center yourself when you feel like you can’t control it. And try your hardest to get a lot of sleep. Sleep is so important.
    Love you girl and I am so proud of you for all that you’re doing.

    • See, that’s why I’m afraid. My fear is rooted in the fact that I’ve been noticing myself getting worse-especially on the anxiety side. I can’t even take driving sometimes now that’s why I’m worried that while I’ve backed off of some things (like responsibilities at church and letting go of consulting/having clients) I haven’t backed away enough. I don’t know if I’m forging ahead out of some grandiose thought that I can really accomplish all that I desire to or because I really have the tenacity & strength it takes to do so. I’ve jumped into the pool, but I’m realizing how heavy this weight is around my neck and I’m not sure how to swim with it. Or if I even can….at least right now. I do know that being a single parent, my income is limited. Going to school gives me pretty much the only income I have outside of disability (from my military service). Going to school will also give me a degree which will help me get a job (hopefully) so I can take care of my boys, but will I, can I get there, dealing with this illness…ON TOP of dealing with life & it’s stresses in general?

      The littlest things throw me off and trigger my anxiety…which triggers my mania….which after a couple of days swings me back to the depression-only my depression manifests as irritability, anger, & lack of motivation. I’m not really sad necessarily.

      I’m just freaking out because like I said, I see that it’s going to take me being on my A game-and I’m sooooooooo very far from that. I don’t know how to be the mother my boys need me to be (nurturing, loving, attentive, PRESENT), a college student, a freaking adult lol, and take care of myself all at the same time. And that is terrifying. Because honestly? As much as I want to succeed, I want to back off. I want to get out of the pool. I want to retreat. But I see that I can’t….so I’m just running into the battle praying to God I can hold my ground, fight with all I’ve got, and make it til it’s over. Does any of that make sense? Sorry-my fears just came tumbling & rambling out….forgive me for sounding all over the place-I am.

      You’re right though. Your comment pretty much hit it on the head-I do have support. I do have to remember to give myself permission to come up for air & step out. And it is ok to not do all & not be all. I’m always trying to overcompensate & put way too much on my plate. I have to remember not to do that going into this phase of my life. And SLEEP. Yes, I need to force myself to sleep. I haven’t done a good job of that the past months.

      I don’t feel strong. Or awesome. Or inspiring. But it’s comforting to know that I am inspite of how I feel. You saying that tells me I should keep fighting, keep going, keep trying. It also tells me that this illness, that emotions period can be deceiving little devils-they tend to lie & make you believe things that aren’t true, especially when fear is feeding them. So thank you, so saying all of that. I needed the reminder, the truth. Love you so much for that, you just don’t know 🙂

  2. Don’t forget this: It’s good enough to just be good enough. Nothing more. You don’t have to strive for perfection in every aspect of your life. Just strive to get by. Forget your A game–settle for your C game if that will help you juggle it all. Even though you don’t feel strong, the rest of us can easily see it. So let us remind you when you need reminding.

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