Humbled…and Tired

First, let me say how humbled I am that y’all are still reading. That I’m still getting emails from folks wanting to connect. That my stories and experiences are making a difference. I’m totally and completely humbled.

Second, as you can imagine, I’m exhausted. Tired. Writing a dissertation in a year while nurturing a marriage and raising three energetic and complex children, moving from one home to another, preparing for teaching a summer class, getting geared up for working full-time …yeah, I’m tired.

But I’m also very happy. Because I’m in the final stretch. In two weeks, this long journey comes to a wonderful conclusion. In two weeks I’ll be surrounded by my family and friends to celebrate my graduation from Stanford University with a PhD in Sociology and a JD from Stanford Law School. It’s unreal, but it’s so real.

As my friend said to me, “Doors open for God’s children.” Please don’t take this to mean that I think nonsense like the prosperity gospel is legit. I don’t. I believe, though, that God opened this door not for my fulfillment, but for what this will allow me to do for His kingdom, here on earth, according to His will. And I can’t wait to get started.

I hope to be back writing with regularity after I’m done. Until then, I’m retreating to my cave known as my dining room table to finish writing this dissertation. See you when I get to the other side!

Go shortay…it’s ya birthday…we gon party like its ya birthday

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Well, it was my birthday. And it was fabulous. Baseball game with kids and fellow 30-something’s in the backyard. I was obviously the MVP — got on base at every at bat. Then followed by karaoke at what I thought was going to be a happening bar but what turned out to be a little sad. Misfits and me and my friends. I don’t know what that says about us.

I sang “Let It Go,” dedicated to my daughter, even though I got totally lost in the middle. And “Ni**as In Paris,” dedicated to me and my girls as we are on our dissertating grinds. There’s just something about that song, the hype that comes over me as I hear these words:

You are now watching the throne
Don’t let me get in my zone
Don’t let me get in my zone
Don’t let me get in my zone

I’m in my zone. I’m doing what I love, even though dissertation writing sucks. Hard. But this is my zone. When I’m in it, I’m alive. It’s not easy. God is forcing me to live my values, and while it doesn’t feel so good right now, I know that it’s all good. I got disappointing news over the weekend, but that’s all it was — disappointing. Not catastrophic. Not unbearable. The worst case is still a good case.

And my children are healthy and happy. Some days I think they are straight up nuts, but beautiful anyway. My husband is a gem. A diamond not in the rough. Just sparkling for everyone to see.

I’m 33. Jesus was 33 when he died. I think God wants me to remember that. Jesus did his job. I need to do mine. I’m here to do my job. Five years ago today, the day after my 28th birthday, I checked myself into Stanford Hospital’s psychiatric ward. I was despondent and felt so lonely. I believed in God and Jesus as my savior but I didn’t have a relationship with him. I was floating — really fighting — through life alone. My illness had me.

It’s been up and down since then. But I’m still here. That is a victory. I am victorious. Because five years ago I didn’t think I would be here. Standing. Thriving. Worrying, but trying not to. Confused, but reassured. Down but hopeful. Knowing every day is not going to feel like this. Not taking how I feel today as indicating how I will feel tomorrow. I’m stressed out. No doubt. But I’m in my zone. Watch.

It’s the final stretch on this part of my life. And right now, at this moment, I have a smile on my face.

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ABD #19: Daily Bread

Hi. It’s been a minute (well five days.) I really wanted this to be every day, not counting weekends, but that’s too much to expect of myself. So it will be regular, but not necessarily daily. And that’s okay (says the reformed perfectionist).

The depression has lifted. Thank God. I don’t feel constantly pulled underwater anymore. I’m not swimming, but I’m treading water, bobbing, but mostly keeping myself afloat. Or rather God is keeping me afloat. I keep reaching for Him, and He keeps giving me my Daily Bread –  what I need to get through the day. Not more, not less. Only what’s needed to get through the day – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and that’s all that I ask for. Whether it’s the energy to run, the willpower to eat, the patience to parent, the humility to ask for help.  I got unsettling news about one of my children, and I was blaming myself for her challenges. But some wonderful women prayed with me and lifted me and my family up, and I feel better even though I don’t know what to do. The anxiety, though, is still there. It’s sitting in my chest.   And while I know it’s not His will, I do know He will use it, together with all in my life, for my good. So I will continue to pray persistently, consistently, and expectantly.

In the meantime, I’m going to get some blood work done to see if there is another cause for the anxiety, like a thyroid issue. I’ve had low thyroid issues in the past, so maybe that will be it.*

Work is going good. I’m dissertating with my closest friends. We talk a lot when we should be working, especially me. Even though I’m supposed to be the regulator. But once I get started with the yapping…what’s done is done. I’ll do better tomorrow. There was so much to catch up on from the weekend! I ran this morning, although I didn’t run yesterday’s 5K I signed up for. But I haven’t been eating so I just didn’t feel strong enough.

I made another painting. What’s here is the pencil drawing. I may have time to start another tomorrow. But likely not. This will need to hold me until Wednesday or Friday.

Tonal Sketch - Big Boy A

Tonal Sketch – Big Boy A

But I’ll talk to y’all before then. Until tomorrow (or Wednesday?)….

* It could also be that I drink too much coffee. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I love coffee too much to give it up without definitive proof that it is the cause.

ABD #13? The Tyranny of CVS

Me and CVS (or more properly, CVS and I) have a tenuous relationship. They often don’t have what I want, especially when it comes to my prescriptions. As someone who lives on meds in order to survive, this relationship is hardly convenient. But they are so ubiquitous, and I enjoy convenience (i.e. I can’t do a mom and pop pharmacy), although at this point they really aren’t convenient so we must really begin to question why I continue to put up with them. Sigh.

In better news, I think I found a great survey I can use for my dissertation. The survey is available for use from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and measures parent perceptions of engagement and involvement. I can add my own questions to tailor it to special education. There seems to be little downside to this, except I have to actually administer the survey and do the analysis. I am proficient in statistics and can do simple regressions. So really not a lot of downside. (Oh right, except modifying my IRB.)

But the reason for me bringing up CVS — I’m suffering from withdrawal and am having a hard time working. It’s hard to know if this is the withdrawal or just the depression and anxiety haven’t gone away. So I’m in a holding pattern until I work this medication stuff out.

But what I can do is draw and paint. So that’s what I’m doing.

Baby A

 

ABD Day #3: Psalm

I woke up this morning with a pulsing of my heart. Something unsettling, so unsettling that the beating of the shower water simply intensified the feeling as the water beat upon my chest.

I’ve been suffering from anxiety for about a month now. I wake each morning with this trembling, this fear of nothing, this foreboding of something bad happening, although I can’t say what. I dream of car accidents, of my brakes failing, of driving in the dark and hitting someone. When I’m awake, I worry about nothing, and then find I can do nothing. The though of making lunch or packing the baby’s bag fills me with such a feeling of stress that I feel paralyzed. Today, I push through, but only barely.

My husbands presence calms me. He is strong and stable and most importantly, understanding. His love is security. When he’s around, I can rest in his strength.

This morning, he was a bit late to work to stay with me to get the kids out the door and to school on time. We had lunch together, because in times like this he makes sure that I eat. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I’m another child he has to worry about. And then of course that makes me worry more.

Today, I made no progress on the dissertation. I got up to take my kids to school, and after the baby was picked up, I took an anti-anxiety pill. I’m thinking I need a different med, because this one makes me sleepy, and does nothing for the actual anxiety when I’m awake. I got up to eat lunch with my hubby, just some soup, and then went back home to take the mini me to two hours of dance class. I’m writing this as I sit there.

So what do I do?

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Psalm 31:2 —

Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
Be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.