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Illness, Mr. Self-Destruct


So if this blog is supposed to be honest and real then I suppose I should highlight some of beautiful highs and lows of the last couple months. Let’s just start with the most serious first: I flunked out of my classes this semester. Was taking an English class and I couldn’t get my head right—months passed and the research I was supposed to be doing never got done. For a while there I didn’t even want to admit it—I kept telling myself I had time, could turn it all around and still pass, but I never did. So I had to drop out. The other class was an accelerated Math class. Should have never taken it in the first place. But I tested for it before the semester began and my placement scores said I was good to go. Again, took me about nine weeks to finally see how things were really shaping up. The class is designed to skip along and highlight the salient points of Algebra, as a refresher, but very quickly it got into territory I wasn’t at all familiar with, stuff I’d never learned before and couldn’t be refreshed on. Funny thing is I hung with the class all the way up until the end, the second to last week, earning a decent grade, and then I kind of had a meltdown and stopped checking in.

Last year this time I was carrying a 4.0 and had been carrying a 4.0 for an entire year. I was focused. Had strong goals. An unwavering sense of purpose. I was never a good student in high school—my vision of the future was myopic, blind even, my goals nonexistent. I was too concerned about inconsequential things, my loyalty, my energy squandered on bad friends. But I was making amends for all of that in college. The only other time I had to drop all of my classes like this was in the fall, 2011, when Flare #2 kept me in a bed for a month and I was officially diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis). And I flunked out of this semester for pretty much the same thing: feeling sick.

This entire month I’ve been having to deal with nausea in the morning and other hallmarks of the disease, including a general lethargy. The last time I remember feeling good was around January 14th, the day I finished one of my longer stories called New Kowloon. I only remember that because I keep my wordcounts logged on a desk calendar, and the 14th was the last day for that particular story, followed by a long stretch of blank days—no writing, nothing productive. And then about seven days later is when I returned to work, no longer a seasonal employee but one of the (so-called) lucky ones called back for a permanent position. I remember driving to work that morning, the 20th, feeling eager, hopeful about the future, only to be pulled down into the muck once again—disciplined for the previous months lackluster sales. Even now, a month later, I still don’t think I’ve recovered fully from that head-fuck.

Since then I’ve been out to sea. In so many ways merely drifting. Flunking my classes this semester has me feeling sad and extremely disappointed. It’s not something — Funny, I was about to say it’s not something I do—flunking out, quitting—but it kind of is. I’ve done it before. Maybe in another post I’ll let myself get lost in the myriad ways I’ve quit, but not now—it’s enough to say that I have, that I’m kind of a pro. I guess I just thought I wasn’t doing that anymore.

But losing this semester might have some serious effects. If I’m accepted, I’ve got only two semesters—spring and summer—to finish my pre-requisites before Radiology school begins in the fall. I lost time that I didn’t really have. But like I mentioned at the start of this—meltdown. It’s like what you hear all the time about sick kids: they give and give and give, fight fight fight, until they have nothing left to fight with. They’re there and then they’re gone, like a snap of the fingers—just like that. And I didn’t have any fight left for school, this semester. It’s like I stashed a bomb in one of my days and let it wipe out whole months of work. A lot of the time that’s how it feels: a terrorist of my own life. I have good days, beautiful days even, and then days when I can’t tolerate my reflection, when all I want to do is erase everything I’ve accomplished.

The pendulum swings, as always—out from the shadows, into light. But it’s never long and it never lasts, and it’s always back into the shadows again.



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