Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fair -- so far

I got an A on my first assignment for Dr. Jerk, a short paper diagnosing a famous fictional character using the DSM. Most people seemed to get A's, although one person was asking what we thought the average grade was, leading me to think she didn't do so well. (She's very immature and narcissistic, I find her tremendously annoying, and it doesn't surprise me at all that she's not getting good grades.)

Of course, this paper is only worth 10% of my grade. And he didn't write anything more than "Very thorough," although he scattered a few check marks next to important points I made. More significant will be the grade I get on my midterm, which he hasn't given back yet.

Also, the constraints that the testing library has set are no longer a problem; I ended up signing out the test with a classmate who happens to live near the person I'll be testing. One less thing to stress about.

Speaking of stress, Dr. Jerk lectured today about the toxic roles anger, anxiety, and hostility play in the development of mental and physical pathology. These emotions increase autonomic arousal -- your heart pounds, your endocrine system secretes more cortisol, your blood releases more platelets -- which, continuing unabated, fatigues you, decreases your immune system's efficacy, and drives your cholesterol through the roof.

I can no longer look Dr. Jerk in the eye after learning he told the faculty that my comments in class cause other students to sigh and roll their eyes. My heart pounds and my stomach churns when I sit in his class. And my knees hurt more. Significantly more. Angry/anxious/hostile people have a much lower threshold for pain, he told us today. No kidding.

Yesterday I was feeling even worse. I was so frustrated at my classmate's refusal to commit to taking the WAIS out with me -- I took it much too personally, but it felt like she was distancing herself from me, a rat deserting a sinking ship, another betrayal. It was a three-tranquilizer day -- normally I try to limit myself to two, but I couldn't do my reading, I was sobbing, I felt utterly alone and helpless and besieged on all sides.

I wrote to my friend Tovah that I was considering re-applying to some of the schools that didn't admit me on my first go-round. She wrote back,

Wow, it’s really bad enough for you to change schools? I didn’t realize that; I actually thought maybe things were looking up a little.

I responded:

It is so bad that I can see myself going into the ladies' room and taking all the tranquilizers and painkillers in my handbag. That is how bad it is.

Please don't tell anyone about this. I'm not going to do it. It's just that I am so stressed out, between the horrible treatment I'm receiving from the faculty and the inability to plan ahead that the testing library imposes on us, because we have to check out the WAIS in pairs, that I'm extremely stressed and miserable.

Tovah immediately responded:

I won’t tell anyone, but you have to promise me that you will take care of yourself. Get whatever support you need, do what it takes to get you feeling better. Is there anyplace you can let off steam so you won’t take it out on yourself?

Is school maybe taking over your life too completely? It seems like you need something to put things in perspective in order to mitigate some of the stress.

I wrote back:

I promise I will not act on this. And I took 3 tranquilizers. My doctor won't give me stronger ones, so I have to take more. I'm also diffusing lavender oil in my apartment in a more holistic effort to soothe myself.

The problem is, school pretty much is my life right now. Even though I love spending time with Ruchama and her family, downloading videos from youtube, getting mani-pedis, etc., school is the most important thing in my life. And it sucks on so many levels that it's making my life miserable. I try really hard to focus on the other things I have going on, but it's very difficult. I have a lot of social support, but being single and alone and solely responsible for my financial support and health care is really getting to me.

I'm feeling better today. Of course, I had to take three painkillers and a tranquilizer in order to tolerate the four hours I spent with Dr. Jerk.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I am so glad you got such a good grade! I am sure you will excel academically as always and that will provide you with some of the vindication you are seeking.

    Have you talked to your doctor about how you are feeling and what doses of the medication you are taking? If you are feeling as bad as you say you owe it to yourself--and your many friends!--to get the help you need.

  2. Bravo for getting the good grade! "Thorough" is a great statement to get on a paper. Be proud of yourself. Your work speaks for you. You realized that you too quickly assumed that students were avoiding you when in fact they are too preoccupied with their own concerns to pay attention to yours. Try to relax a little. Everything will work better then. Can you get any talk therapy rather than relying predominantly on chemicals?

  3. Congrats on your A--I know how hard you worked on that project! You totally deserved it. At least he didn't give you a bad grade oon your work just because he doesn't like you in person.

    I know what it's like to have stuff taking over your life because it's the main thing you spend your time on. For me it's work--I hate it, but I need to pay rent and expenses, so what else am I supposed to do? I'm really sorry to hear that it's making you so desperate and depressed, though. You sound truly miserable.