Sunday, April 20, 2008

Raising the Training Wheels

I recently graduated from biweekly to monthly counseling. After about a year, with the antidepressants working really well, and the emotional boost from successfully applying for my MPH program, I started to think that I wouldn't have much to talk about every two weeks, and it would help my schedule to scale back too. My counselor brought it up as I was preparing to start classes, and I agreed.

When I first sought counseling (well, the first time since moving to San Diego), I went only once a month, and it was useless. So much was going on in my life, and my emotions, that I'd have some crisis at the two-week point, struggle through it, and then be too distanced from it by the time I got back to see my counselor to figure out what had caused the emotional crash. My sessions would turn into "well, I was having a horrible time two weeks ago, but I'm FINE now..." So when I decided to approach counseling as a however-long-it-takes proposition, we started weekly, quickly found that was too often, and settled into a biweekly routine. My sessions would send me off in a positive frame of mind, set up well for the week, then as challenges presented themselves, my next meeting with the warm, ironic woman in the rainbow sweater was only (at worst) 10 days away, and I would picture myself telling her about what was going on, and it helped me get through without a meltdown. Often it got me through without even getting close to a meltdown.

Now the monthly cycle (not THAT monthly cycle) seems to be working, I am still getting a bit more harried at about the two-week point, my emotional stability must have a 14 day refractory period or something, but I am spotting problems in time, and while I am still able to force myself to take a look at what's really going on. I have to take a bit of time to myself to calm down and sort out the negative thoughts. I feel like the training wheels are still there, I can ( and do) wobble more but there's something there to prevent me from falling completely over, so I can stand the wobbling while I learn to balance by myself.

I am stressed out, but less depressed/anxious. I also know why I'm stressed out: I'm busy and working hard! I make more sense to myself than I did this time last year.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Job #1, Job #2

I'm in the process of lining up "fieldwork" for the summer for my Master's program. I know this conjures up images of wellington boots, butterfly nets, fishing rods, mud, and...fields, but in my case it's more likely to mean an office with a computer, a pile of reports, surveys, or case studies, and a big fat database into which I distill the important information contained in the pile. The prospect of the office having a real window is exciting, my current office is in the basement, and the lab is in the interior of the building, thus windowless.

Right now I'm hoping I end up in a County program addressing domestic violence, run by a DPH (Doctorate of Public Health) whom I have heard speak twice, as a guest lecturer on the epidemiology of violence. It won't be a lot of hours each week, probably two mornings, a little less than a full working day per week, but it will mean I start work work at about noon on those days, then head towards home about eight in the evening. This sounded crazy until I compared it to my current schedule, where I get home around nine two nights a week. On those days I head out the door in the morning carrying five bags: purse, small briefcase, gym bag, lunch bag, and second "lunch" bag, an insulated one with a cold pack in it, to preserve my evening meal until I arrive on campus after my workout.

This new schedule will have me home just before nine two nights a week, around 7 another two (after working out), and at about 5pm on Fridays, which will also be the day I carpool with my husband. Not to mention NO HOMEWORK for internships. Practically a summer vacation now I think of it.

Humans can talk themselves into anything.

Friday, April 04, 2008