These last few days have had on me on edge in a serious way. Yesterday I dodged what would have been serious bullet to me. My “Cold Feet” and anxieties were spiking up. It made it difficult to do stuff that needed attention like paying my tuition.
I admit that I’m a bad procrastinator. I own up to that. But I had neglected my student email for I don’t know how long. And I didn’t want to log in and check on anything. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but I was afraid of what I might see. As if I was afraid that some Babadook-looking monstrosity was going to leap out from the computer screen and eat my face off. The same is also true for paying up the tuition online. That same fear was just crushing and consuming me. My insides were tied in painful knots, my head felt like it was being smashed against a rock, and my joints were aching like I had been beaten to the floor by my so-called Babadook.
I didn’t understand the logic behind any of it. I had to coach myself into logging online to get the stuff done. I had to psych myself up as if I was getting ready for a WWE title match inside a steel cage. With extreme rules and no disqualification rules. And in my mind I already felt and thought I was looking like this….
So I finally said, “Fuck this noise! Let’s do the damn thing already! Get it over with!” And then I find out that I’m too late. I missed the payment deadline by just one day. At that point I went to my student email. I had like 80 something unopened messages. No monsters except for the ones occupying my mind came leaping out the screen, so put that in the plus column. I see the email that says my schedule was cancelled. But in that message it read, “If you want to re-register you can at 12:01 AM.”
I looked up the classes and I saw that there were still seats available. Which meant that I still had a shot. It was 9:00 PM. So I set up a timer for midnight. I put on a little Netflix binge to kill the time and relax. I scolded myself for taking so long to pay up and for being a neurotic mess.
“Dude, get your shit together man!”
“Stop being such a giant panty waist!”
“You can fix this! You can handle this! It’s not a monster, it’s not a failure, it’s just a hiccup.”
“I will not lose my shit. I will not lose my shit. IwillnotlosemyshitIwillnotlosemyshitIwillnotlosemyshit….”
The alarm goes off. I take a few deep breaths because again, I’m psyching myself up. I even did stretches. But THEN…..it turns out I’ve got a hold placed on me. Then came out my new catchphrase, “Motherfucker, WHAT?!!”
The hold was placed on me by the EIT (Early Intervention Team). I go back to my email. Turns out they sent me two letters. That hold had been put into effect since early this month and I didn’t know anything. So even if I payed before the deadline I still would’ve been blocked off. My Babadook is clawing right at me. I feel the wounds, my blood pouring out, the battlefield is a mess. I opened up the letter and the way it read went something like this;
“Hi. A caring faculty/staff member alerted us about you. We want you to know that we’re here to help you. Please get in contact with us. Until you do a hold has been placed on your grades and registration. Please call us during our business hours between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.”
At this point I’m really fighting in my mind and I do my best calm myself down in reality. Deep breaths in, deep breaths out. I make a new battle plan.
“I’m gonna get some sleep now. When I wake up I’m gonna fix myself some breakfast and coffee. I call these guys the minute that office opens up. Explain to them what’s happened. Get that hold removed.”
So I do get some sleep. But of course it wasn’t a pleasant sleep. My parents always wake up early. And of course I wake up when they do…..at 5:00 AM. And then I can’t go back to sleep. I don’t leave my room. Nobody knows the situation, I don’t want to tell anyone about this. I want to handle this on my own and I was already having a hard enough time maintaining a decent poker face. Both my parents aren’t gone until 7:30 or so. I get up and I do what I say I was going to do. I set up a timer on my phone so I don’t wuss out.
Babadook wants to go a couple more rounds in my head. I’m somewhat more rested. He’s going low and I’m going high with everything I got. We exchange dialogue…
You’re going to fail….everything has already fallen into ruin…you have no more hope….
I’m hollering back, “Says you ugly!! These people want to help me!@ It proves that not everyone is some heartless robot like you’ve always told me! They want me to continue my journey!!”
The alarm goes off. I brace myself. I say, “Give it five more minutes. Let the guys in the office get settled in. You might get a machine anyway…”
It’s 9:05 AM. I talk myself out of giving them ten more minutes and I make the call while I still have some nerve. One ring…two rings….three rings….
“Hello you’ve reached the Appalachian State’s EIT office. This is Belinda how may I help you?”
I bite my tongue to keep myself from saying, “Holy shit!! She’s a live human!”
I then explain to Belinda my situation. She was nice, she was calm, she wasn’t being a hatchet faced bitch about anything. I’m still on edge though. I’m nervous. I even fumbled when she asked me what my phone number was so she could get back to me again. I said, “Hang on!” Five seconds pass and I remember. I felt like I had to dig out the info from a shallow grave in my mind.
Belinda elaborates that EIT is there to give me help. I tell her I’m not in Boone but I can be there Monday to meet with them, but I needed that hold taken off first.
I let her know, “I’m in a tight enough spot as is and this is not helping me at all. I’m not placing blame on you or anything, I’m just voicing my frustrations.”
Belinda is understanding, she says she’s going to discuss this with her people, we’ve got a schedule down for Monday and Tuesday in the afternoon. I’m told to expect them to reach me back soon either by phone call or e-mail. I say, “Thank you”. She says, “Happy to help. Please have a nice day.”
So now I had to play the waiting game. I’m doing my best to keep calm and not focus on the negative and convincing myself, “They just want to help out. Let them help. They are not going to meet up with me to expel me or execute me.”
I’m listening to music, I’m watching Netflix, I make a post called “The Happy List” trying to accentuate the positive so that the negative can stop having power over me. It did help, but the hours are flying by. There’s no new messages in my inbox. Oh but I’m getting news about the new house and the manager is preparing the lease. So if I wasn’t sure about getting the house before it’s looking like I am now.
The clock reads 4:00 PM. One hour until the EIT closes the down. Phone goes off and its another lady from App State, not Belinda, but she was nice and cool to me. She’s confirming the appointment time and she’s lifting the hold temporarily so I can go ahead and re-register and pay. The hold would be lifted for 24 hours. I can finally breathe, the knots in my stomach are being untied, and I’m pretty sure that I just beat the shit out of my Babadook.
I didn’t need 24 hours. All I needed was five minutes. I jumped right on it. I punched in the CRNS for a quick registration. I got them. My spot in those classes weren’t taken. I rush to the checkout. I put in all that information and confirmed payment. The deed was done.
But then I still felt a little bit of unease. Normally I get a receipt emailed to me. I read the net balance, it’s say zero. But that wasn’t enough proof for me. Something in my mind was just not processing and registering the information. I even sent an email to the student accounts office to double check if that payment went though without any problems. And they got back to me. I even got a PDF that showed off everything.
Finally I calm down. I drink a nice glass of wine to relax and I start playing The Legend of Dragoon on my Playstation 3. I feel like I just won a serious battle. But now that the smoke has cleared up in my mind I’m just now realizing how ridiculous my reaction to all of this really was.
I thought I understood everything there was to my depression. I thought I understood all my main cognitive distortions and all the things that trigger them. I thought I had good strategies to countering those triggers.
Finally I just said out loud to myself, “What the actual and existing fuck is up with me? I’m getting triggered by the silliest tiny shit ever!!”
It’s not easy for me to share the exact details about stuff like this. But this is what I deal with. That Babadook analogy I made isn’t a joke. It’s bad enough when I interpret things as a failure, but more often I turn things into a monster. Then I battle them tooth and nail with whatever is handy. I don’t share this part with anybody. Anytime I say I’m fighting my demons I make sure everyone knows I’m speaking figuratively. But there are times when the figurative feels literal.
I’m sharing this because I need to be real about everything. I need to put it all out there. Because it helps me take a good honest look at myself and gives me a good idea on what I have to do. It was a horrible mistake to keep quiet about anything. The last time I showed this much candor my so-called friends I had at the time kept calling me an “attention whore” or “drama queen” or “playing the victim” or whatever. And those are the g-rated labels I’ve had slapped on me. They think that they’re being helpful, that they’re showing tough love, but it’s not. Even if they thought they’re intentions were good all it did was stigmatize things which pretty much just placed a gag order on me when all I was doing at the time was something that was helping me. It was therapeutic for me, but it was just too much for them. And it was annoying for them. Which is ironic because they’re into a lot of shit that is several times more annoying, stupid, and tacky like fucking CakeFart videos (I shit you not, that’s an actual thing).
I never wanted to be “that guy” who talks about mental health problems and everything that comes with it from the lows of bad days to the highs of recovering from failures and trying to live a better life. But if being real with my shit, doing what I believe is helpful for me, and blogging about it here or sharing it on a Facebook post or whatever makes me in “that guy” then FUCK IT. I am “that guy”.
I know I’m not always right about things, but at least I’m always real. If I’m going to have any shot at leading a life with better mental health and reaching my goals I need to be real about my shit. I need to own up to it. I need to face myself. I have to play the hand that’s being dealt to me.
I’d rather be real then be fake as all Hell.