Week 3

October 17, 2011

It’s the start of Week 3 at University and so far I’ve survived, just. Although today I attended my morning lectures, came home, ate lunch and slept for two hours. Academically, for the first week and a half or so I was fine. I’d either studied the stuff we’d covered before or had a good basic grounding in it. One and a bit degrees plus several health science based OU courses mean I have a good working knowledge at a low level of an awful lot of stuff. Plus being on fortnightly prescriptions since my first overdose, means I have spent an inordinate amount of time in pharmacies so have a fairly good idea how they function and the legal basis behind prescribing and prescriptions.

The last few days though, it’s started to get away from me.I feel like I’m plowing all my effort in, just to function at the lowest possible level. It takes all my time just writing up  and understanding my lecture notes, I haven’t touched any of the additional reading and at this rate, I never will. I simply can’t make time for it. The quetiapine has me in bed by 9pm, and I leave the house just after 8 for morning lectures. That’s three hours of sleep on top of the ‘normal’ 8 hours. Another 1.5 – 2 hours is occupied with commuting by three forms of transport (bike, train and on foot).  If I had those extra hours, things would be different. I’d have time to do the reading, and more importantly the time for myself that is currently very much lacking. I feel I should understand the stuff we’re being lectured about if I could just catch my breath. I find it very difficult to concentrate for the sometimes hours on the trot that are required particularly first thing in the morning when I’m still partially sedated. You can see on my lecture notes the passage of my mind. At the start of the lecture, they’ll be annotated all over with useful colourful scribbles. These then tail off to a few slides of nothingness which eventually picks back up but by then I’ve missed too much to fully understand. Some of our lectures are recorded, which theoretically means I can listen back through the material I’ve missed. But again, it’s a matter of time. A one hour lecture requires nearly two times that time to get written up and if I don’t write them up I know that by the time revision comes round, my scribbles will be meaningless.

Socially, I am an incompetent. Boyfriend keeps asking me if I’ve made any friends and I’m starting to feel ashamed that 3 weeks in I’m still saying no. The best piece of news I’ve been able to give him, was a few days ago when I worked with someone in a practical. What I didn’t mention was I barely said a word and worked as quickly as possible so I could run away. I find myself consciously avoiding people I’ve spoken to before in case they try and engage me with conversation. At the start of lectures, the general hubbub is so loud and overwhelming that it takes every ounce of my strength not to run away screaming. Sometimes I sit there with my hands over my ears rocking backwards and forwards like a mad thing waiting for silence to fall.

I suppose the most important question to answer is am I enjoying it? I don’t think I know the answer. I am putting all my effort into just existing and I really have no time to consider any other emotions. Having some structure to my day is good, it helps me to function and to achieve. However, there is just too much of it. Too much information, too many people, too much concentration required. If the work required was just the time spent in college, I think I’d manage. A few less 9am lectures would be a big help but somehow I’d get there. It’s the fact there’s so much to do aside from the taught content, I end up bringing it all home with me. That and the all permeating exhaustion which means that even if I did have free time, I wouldn’t have the strength to use it. In the evenings all I’m good for is to sit staring vacantly at the tv. For me, that is so out of character. I’ve usually got some crafty project on the go while I’m watching the box otherwise my thoughts get too big and loud but now there is nothing but numbness. I am intensely frustrated that in the past few weeks, I’ve got into my craft room for a grand total of 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes were awesome and freeing but tinged with so much guilt as I could sense the work piling up behind me.

For now I suppose I’ll keep struggling along, not depressed, not happy, just being. Maybe that’s what everyone else does, they just exist. For me though, that will never be enough. I’d rather have nothing than this.