I Don’t Want To Talk About It

Lots of people want to know what I am going to do once I graduate in May.  I don’t have an answer and I don’t want to have an answer.  May is 6 months away.  May is in an entirely different year (an odd numbered year even!)  Graduating in May means that I’ll have gotten through another entire semester successfully.  It means that I’ll stay sane enough to avoid being hospitalized so many times that I need to drop classes.  That’s just the long term aspects of things to be considered about getting to graduation day.

Let’s try the short term aspects.  Getting to May means I won’t kill myself tonight or tomorrow or any time before May.  It means that I will pass all the classes I took this semester.  It means that I won’t listen to The Pressure and run off to LA to be a homeless person.  (Explanation: The Pressure is a voice in my head that pressures me to do things I don’t want to do.  So far I am successfully ignoring it.)  It means that I will make it through tomorrow and every day afterwords as a mostly functioning individual.  It means that all my worries about dying in horrible ways and similar tragedies will not come true…I won’t be involved in a lethal car accident, I won’t be kidnapped, a plane won’t land on me, I won’t be murdered, etc.

So I don’t have an answer to what I’m going to do once I graduate.  I don’t want to have an answer.  I have too much to worry about before that happens.  Just considering it now scares me and makes me anxious.  That doesn’t mean that I need to spend more time talking about it or thinking about it…I don’t need to be desensitized to the idea of graduating.  It means, very simply, that I know my limits.I say this over and over…I function at the level I’m at because I manage my stress.  I keep my life very structured…almost as if I were still in a psychiatric hospital.  I have classes at certain times.  I eat dinner at a certain time.  I feed my dog at a certain time.  I feed my fish at a certain time.  I watch tv shows that come on at certain times.  I go to bed at a certain time.  I crave structure because when I know what to expect from the day, stress and anxiety are manageable.  A structured day is the opposite of me…specifically my brain.

Not only do I have to deal with delusions, hallucinations, The Pressure, anxiety, etc…I have to deal with the way my brain works.  How does it work?  Fast…really fast…NASCAR fast.  My thoughts are like Niagara Falls on a roller coaster.  Therapists like to ask, “What are you thinking about?” and my typical answer is, “I don’t know.”  That isn’t too far from a lie.  To really answer that question, I have to focus my thoughts onto a smaller track and then pick out one of the thoughts falling over the edge of that waterfall.  Want an example?

I’m thinking about snow.  Several of my friends have experienced snow recently.  Its been forever since I made a snow angel.  Snow angels sorta look like butterflies.  I want to look up pictures of butterflies because they really are quite beautiful.  I need to go through my collection of zoo photography and find a picture that would be good to paint.  I need to finish the pointillism toucan project that I’ve been working on for months now.  I wonder if my markers are all dried up yet.  I should probably buy a new set just to be safe.  I need to go to Hobby Lobby and see if they got Christmas cookie cutters in that I could use with my soap making.  I need to see if my dad’s friend can still make me a website.  I need to check my websites and make sure everything is okay on all of them.

I could go on and on, because my thoughts go on and on.  I seriously just jumped from snow to websites.  If I hadn’t have focused on typing all of that out, it would have happened within a couple seconds.

Now relate that to plan 6 months into the future.  It doesn’t work.  I can’t process all the thoughts that go into that.  Additionally, it isn’t necessary.  When I graduate, I won’t be printing out resumes and plastering them around town.  I won’t be preparing to go off to grad school.  I’ll simply wake up and find a new way to structure my days.  Actually, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that I’ll be hospitalized within the weeks after graduation.  School for the past 5 years to no classes at all is a huge change.  Huge changes cause huge amounts of stress.  Huge stress causes (come on, you know this one)…more symptoms!

When therapists or just people ask me something I don’t have an answer for, I usually shrug, say “I don’t know,” or lapse into silence.  It all works for me.  It deflects the answer and usually gives me a few seconds of peace because the answer (or lack) frustrates the person that asked me.  That is another way my brain works.  Because my thoughts are so fast, I can move into silence and being non-verbal with ease.  I can get lost in my waterfall roller coaster of a brain and just listen to it.  I don’t get that “awkward silence” that apparently occurs when there is a lengthy period of no communication between two people.  I straddle the line of my brain and this world.  If this world isn’t engaging me enough…I lean more towards my brain and I’m comfortable with that.  I can get and have gotten lost in it plenty of times.

But not right now.  Right now, I am tired of people asking me what I am going to do when I graduate.  So, I’m doing something uncharacteristic and stating how I really feel about the topic.


Category: Schizophrenia
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2 Responses
  1. Michelle says:

    I think a lot of people could probably benefit from the “one day at a time” approach. I’m working to be more in the present than I currently am. One thing that I find really difficult in managing my anxiety, though, is boredom. I need predictability and structure to not get myself into a state, but I get so bored with it! The irony of wanting to travel the world and be agoraphobic. Sometimes I wonder why I have desires that I physically can’t seem to follow.

    I wish my brother, who struggles with schizophrenia, was as self-aware as you are. I’m so worried about him right now.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

  2. Clarissa says:

    Hello Katherine,

    Well done you: I think you’ve got to a point where many of us need to be. You recognise your limitations and what is important to you in the near future. I think sometimes in the madosphere, (and in the realosphere) we suffer with the pressure to be “heros and heroines”. The pressure from many sources for all of us to conquer our mentalisms and frailties is immense – and sometimes just not doable. I often find that in the face of this pressure I end up feeling harassed and inadequate because I can’t pull out all the stops at once. This of course is not really about making ourselves feel better: its usually about placating and reassuring others…

    On the point of not talking about it, I also agree. What I mean is that I think there are times when one should just learn to stand on the most current stable platform you have created and stay there a while to reinforce a sense of security. Sometimes, talking about the future can be really destablising – unless there are imminent decisions that need to be made for future practicality. I normally endorse the view that none of us have the time to mess about – especially when we are young. However, when a person doesn’t have the solidity of immediate family and friends to rely on, I think it is really important to keep one’s own council at times so that you own your decisions and nurture a sense of control.

    So, that little corner of security that you’ve found and the bits of your psyche you are learning to control… you stick to those things you can manage girl; and sod everyone else!

    Big hugs from Snowy England.

    X Clarissa X

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