I turned this in to my professor (currently in my final semester of graduate school with a major in Gerontology) to fulfill a “journal entry” requirement… hahaha… I refused to say “OMG This course meant so much to me because of ABC and I learned ABC and I plan to use this shit in my career because of ABC. Yay I’m so fucking happy because of ABC” because… I didn’t feel like lying, quite honestly. Anyway. Long read. Sorry in advance.
Journal Entry Assignment Attempt…
I read the syllabus as to what the requirements were for this assignment. The first two entries are supposed to be in regards to my experience completing the project and the final entry is to reflect upon completing the Capstone. This babble will fulfill the requirements of the two entries, or so I hope. The final entry I will have to complete whenever I’m finished with my project…and yes, I wrote that there for my own reflection to make sure that I address the requirements…otherwise, I’d forget, every 34 seconds.
Experience completing the project? Someone should do a phenomenological Capstone project addressing the experience of a mentally ill graduate student, attempting to complete a Capstone. Wow, would that be a riveting read (although mildly confusing…). I really think it would be. I have tried so, so hard to do well in school. School was always my solace growing up and up until recently, I have completely excelled. I’m not sure what changed but school has become my trigger for anxiety and depression. Every…single…time… I do ANYTHING for school, I don’t get more than 3 minutes into it before I’m panicking. I have no idea how or why that started…but it’s SUPER discouraging. I’ve even tried to complete this simple journal entry assignment 10-15 times over the last month. No one wants to hear the same played out excuse of “waaaah… I’m mentally ill” (minus the “wah”, I try not to cry like a baby in front of strangers or cyber-classmates).
So, what’s my experience been? Absolutely terrible. I can’t afford an extra psychiatric appointment so I’ve been waiting until my scheduled 3 month appointment to tell my doctor what’s been going on. Lucky for me, that was this entire semester. Woot woot. I see my doctor in the middle of August (I think, I lost my appointment card and have to call his office tomorrow). I know I need a meds change. I tried going to counseling (it’s free through the school) but the drive killed me (hour and a half each way). I started picking up more hours at work and having money to feed myself and my animals takes precedence over trying to participate in counseling. I think I mainly just wanted to go so I could feel as though I was doing something right in life, but whatever, I had to stop going.
I wanted so terribly awful to finish this project on time, get it out of the way, and FINALLY be done with school. But, my brain is backwards and now I’m stuck in it for, what?, another 10 weeks? I feel as though I don’t learn the same as how the mainstream curriculum of any school expects students to learn, nor do I present learned information in that way. That’s why it’s difficult for me to look at a cookie-cutter syllabus which lists exactly its expectations and requirements and say “I can do this”… why? Because it’s like I have to pretend I’m not me to do well in school. I spoke to my friend yesterday about this and he said, “you’re in your last semester of grad school, you should be used to this”. In a way, yes I am “used to it” but because of the chemical changes as of late, I am incapable of responding to these expectations as the world deems appropriate. But I have to suck it up and just do it because… I’m still alive and I have to graduate or I’m never, EVER, going to make it anywhere in life. I need a piece of paper that says “Master’s Degree- Marci Kmosko” to ever be taken seriously, especially because of my bizarre chemical makeup, thought processes, and quirkiness. This, by no means, should be taken as a negative critique about the program, it’s really just the nature of the beast. There has to be criteria met to graduate… I’m just weird.
I’ve been battling suicidal thoughts. I had my suicide planned out 3 days ago. I ensured that I completed a living will in regards to the care of my animals after my demise. I researched the correct way for a “successful suicide”. I was to the point of picking out a date and time, to ensure that I was alone (Ben was at work), I wouldn’t “make a mess”, and I wouldn’t be found in time to be “saved”. Yes, it’s completely irrational and morbid… but that’s my chemical make-up and I suffer greatly. I became more balanced in the last few days and am not currently considering suicide. I feel that maybe I can positively impact others like me, even if it’s just to be an influence in their lives so they don’t feel like they are the only ones who don’t quite fit the mold. There are lots of positive things in life, sure, and great things to experience. But when you simply feel as though you do not belong anywhere, why be here? It’s a real feeling. Hopefully being as open as I am, I can be a part in helping the topic of mental illness to not be so taboo. I love damaged people. They know… what real life feels like. Not the pseudo-life people “live” when all they see is rainbows and puppy dogs and happily live in dreadful complacency. They’re just afraid to admit that they have real feelings of anxiety, fear, self-doubt, depression. They feel as though they wouldn’t be accepted by the world, not be taken seriously, not do well in school, not get a “real job”, HAH, everything THAT I AM. It’s OK to feel crappy sometimes and maybe with an education, I can be taken more seriously. It didn’t happen with my BSW but maybe it’ll happen with a Master’s. Because, well, I’m not changing my personality at any time and I’ll always be an open book. Most choose not to read my kind of book haha.
I relate to older adults, especially those with a diagnosis of dementia, because I know what being trapped feels like. Some older adults are trapped in a world of nostalgia, extreme financial burden, abandonment, in a facility when they’d rather be at home, or even within their own minds. No matter the situation, most feel trapped in some way, even if it is the normal feeling of not being able to physically do what he/she used to be able to do. They are being held captives by their own lives and not only can I related to that, I can also guide someone so that they know that it is OK to feel like this and talking about it and knowing that you aren’t alone, can help. Maybe not “fix it” (leaning more towards PROBABLY not), but it helps. Talking about these topics and hearing the actually words (or even reading them, like in this blog) can make you feel REAL again. It doesn’t help when you talk to someone and they say “hey, stop being like that, look at the bright side”, it helps when someone says “I’m happy that you have found words to express your inner emotions, I’m sure that takes some weight off of your mind”. I think that’s what older adults long for. And that’s why I’ll be a good gerontologist… as soon as I can pull my crap together and actually finish my education. J
In a nut shell, my experience has included battling my own mind in order to suffice the expectations of a world that doesn’t allow for the intricacies of a mentally ill person. I do like that “Ask a Librarian” chat option, though J.