My Doctor Was Right, Dammit!

A week ago I was pretty upset. I had planned to up the number of classes this Fall semester and become a full time student. My pdoc thought otherwise. He told me I should only take 1 class and I fought him on it. Later, based on my respect for him, and on feedback from friends and family, I decided he was right and cancelled 3 of the 4 classes I registered. It was a humbling experience.

Today I am more humbled because I now know, without a doubt, he was right. Yesterday, in my communications class I did my final speech and today we have our final exam. So far in this class I’ve made an “A” on every speech and a “B” on every test. Not too shabby for a guy who hasn’t been in school for 30 years. So, what’s the problem you ask? I’m a complete basket case.

I’m fretting about my speech yesterday, even though I briefly saw the comments he wrote down and all the ones I saw were positive. Thinking about todays exam is making my brain spin out of control and is making it next to impossible to study. I’ve found that the best studying I do is at coffee shops so yesterday I tried to study at Starbucks for awhile. I sat there looking at my notes and none of it looked familiar. I tried to do a self test with flash cards and I wasn’t able to answer a single question correctly. I just stared blankly at each card.

I realize that the week of final exams nearly everyone gets nervous, but I’m way beyond that. This 1 single exam is affecting everything I do. I want to just curl into a ball and pull the sheets over my head until tonight. I can’t imagine what it would be like to take 4 classes and have 4 exams in a week. I would not be able to handle it. I finally realize that it’s going to take longer to get back on track. I don’t like it, but I accept it. It’s just the way it is.

Wish me luck.

  11 comments for “My Doctor Was Right, Dammit!

  1. August 9, 2013 at 16:15

    I am so proud of you! I don’t know if I could handle going back to school. Prior to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder I was making money hand over fist. My mania made everything better, including work performance. I haven’t worked in over 4 years. After a manic episode at work that made me suicidal, I committed myself to a psych ward. I’m glad you’re moving forward.

  2. August 8, 2013 at 18:33

    Hang in there – if you’re still really just getting back into the swing of studenthood, this is really more normal than it might seem!

    Practice some deep breathing whenever your exam starts getting you worked up. It only takes a few deep breaths to profoundly improve our ability to handle stress – really!

    • August 8, 2013 at 18:45

      Thank you, DeeDee. Breathing exercises really make a difference. The problem is that I don’t even think about it when I need to. I agree that it is probably normal but, of course, I have higher expectations for myself that only make me feel worse.

      • August 8, 2013 at 18:54

        I can totally relate – for some reason, I always feel like I should meet expectations that I would never level on anyone else.

        It takes practice to learn how to treat yourself with compassion, but if you keep at it, you’ll get there. And then the deep breathing will happen when it needs to. It’s all just a matter of practice, so keep trying – you can do it!

  3. Lora
    August 8, 2013 at 12:56

    You’re doing great Brad. You’re sober. You have a life partner who loves you dearly, through thick and thin. You’re surrounded by a community that is there for you. You have a therapist and a pdoc who know you and give you good advice. We live in a amazing pharmacological age when there are actually drugs that can help – something folks a generation ago couldn’t count on. For me I find even in the horrible downs I learn something that makes me manage the next time better – that’s how it works for me anyway. Love you and thinking about you today. How you do on the test aside, I hope YOU do OK. May the force be with you.

    • Bradley
      August 8, 2013 at 16:34

      Thank you, Obi Wan. I do have many wonderful things in my life, I can’t deny that. I don’t know if you read it, but I did a post about my mom many years ago on mothers day. I commented that all she had was valium. That’s pretty much what they gave everyone for awhile. I wish they had the drugs today back when she was alive. I’d like to look back and see that she was happy. Unfortunately, she was not.

      I’m not sure how my exam went. Grades should be posted by tomorrow.

      • Lora
        August 8, 2013 at 21:10

        I wish that for my father too. When he committed suicide in 1971, on a visit home from the mental hospital, there was almost nothing for folks then. Even Litheum was a year or so from being used in the US. We really do live in an amazing age, and I think it will just get better.

        Let us know how the grading goes.

  4. August 8, 2013 at 09:40

    When the blackout comes is when it is time to close your eyes’ take some long deep breaths, and picture your happy place to a count of 20. Then take one final deep breath as slow as your can manage and try to study again. That will slow your heart rate downso you can focus again.

    • Bradley
      August 8, 2013 at 09:52

      I did some prayer and chanting this morning. It has put me in a better space. I figure I can chant in my head when I take the exam, if necessary. Heading out now to get a little study time in the library before the exam starts.

  5. Betty
    August 8, 2013 at 09:25

    I had a “black out” reaction on a statistics final exam—couldn’t understand any of the problems, sat staring at the paper for some time, finally just plunged in and began to write something and suddenly things seemed to make sense and I got through it. Sometimes we just have to trust our brains, that the proper file drawer stuck in there will open and let the contents emerge. Good luck today!

    • Bradley
      August 8, 2013 at 09:50

      Basically, let go let God. That’s pretty much all I can do for today. Thank you for the lucky wishes.

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