As a note- I thought about it and have come to the conclusion that I need not post every day. A lack of posts does not indicate failure or a lack of things that have been done; at a better hour, I can look back at the previous week’s work and feel satisfied.
It started on Monday, with Answering The Phone.
Student Counseling finally got back to me, and I was informed I needed to speak to Financial Aid. They gave me some contact information, including a phone number, and then transferred me. The transfer didn’t go through correctly and I lost my nerve.
On Tuesday, I grit my teeth and called Financial Aid. I waited on hold for fourteen minutes and twenty seven seconds; Skype has a timer. I had the correct data at hand- SSI number, student ID number- and I was told I needed to submit an Academic Appeal. Something along those lines, anyway- for the term that I had Failed all my classes because I didn’t drop them.
I had a big No moment, I almost froze, because it was hard enough to contact the college, to do what needed to be done- but this bit of paper had to be submitted ASAP. So I clenched my teeth and left the house before I could change my mind. I spent the entire way there trying to calm myself down, because there really was no reason to be feeling the way I was- it was not something to panic about.
When I got there, I filled out the paperwork with a knot of apprehension in my belly, before speaking to the woman at the counter. She was very helpful, and told me right then and there that the policy had changed since I had had my aid suspended- one term was no longer grounds for suspension, but rather, a warning. She changed my status right then and tore up the paperwork I’d agonized over; she answered my questions and Everything Turned Out Much Better Than Expected. Now I’m just waiting on the reevaluation of my aid prospects. We’ll see what happens. I am still concerned I made too much money last year.
However, when I finally got home again, I gave myself permission to blow off a raiding obligation. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, and the thought of dealing with my raid anxiety was just too much; I’d much rather save my emotional fortitude for handling Real Life Important Things, than just barely coping with a hobby.
I am not one to blow off raiding, though. Not ever, if I can help it. I take myself very seriously. Yes, it’s just a game- but it’s one of the things that brings me some serious joy, makes me feel competent and in control. Unfortunately for me, the new raid group I joined a few months back is the best group I have ever encountered- and I feel constantly anxious while raiding with them as a result. I feel inadequate, regardless of my performance. I feel awkward. I feel like I don’t fit in, like everybody’s judging me. For me, these are… pretty normal feelings, in anything I do. Usually, they pass once I feel like a part of the group or team, though they frequently return in any and every social circle I frequent.
Part of what I love about this raid team, is the sheer amount of organization that goes into the raids. These are exceptionally well planned, well run events; everything is smooth and almost… business-like.
And unfortunately, that means my absence was definitely noted. It would have been different if I’d just… left a message on the forums, at least informing them that I wouldn’t make it. But I couldn’t bring myself to do that, and, at the time, it seemed less important than the fact that I had managed to do other things that Needed To Be Done.
I got a message that night from the raid leader, which I should have responded to pronto. Instead, I haven’t checked it. I am pretty sure it says something along the lines of ‘Hey, you signed up from the raid, why weren’t you there?’ I doubt it says ‘Hey, you signed up for the raid you piece of shit why didn’t you come- you suck and we’re throwing you out, we hate you and we were all secretly really relieved when you didn’t show. We hope you’re dead.’
I’m making things worse and worse by not responding, but the more time passes, the deeper it builds. This is just one incident, but it’s the beginning of a build-up.
Even if- no, when, I go back and take responsibility for my absence- which I refuse to explain with the truth on the grounds that it makes me seem neurotic, something that I don’t feel the raid group needs to be aware of as it is personal- I will still feel self-loathing for having failed on so many counts. Even though this is ultimately a very small thing, it acts as a force that draws all negativity to it.
This one, isolated incident is something my traitor brain can point to and say ‘Aha. You are terrible. You are flaky. You are weak. You are unreliable. You are irresponsible.‘ And every small failure since gravitates to it; and now it is three fifty seven in the morning and I cannot sleep because every time I close my eyes all I hear is a litany of self-loathing and I don’t know how to make it stop.
I breathe and review the things I have done right and well, but it’s never enough to keep my mistakes from overcoming them. The only thing that sort of works is putting my mind somewhere else; read a book, watch a movie, write fiction, focus on some task that holds my attention and keeps my mind from wandering. But it’s worst at night, as I drift to sleep and cannot… defend myself. Can’t distract myself.. can’t keep myself from dwelling on all the things that are horribly wrong, no matter how ultimately small or trivial they may be.
The raid went on without me, I guarantee it; they have extra healers, and people with off healing specs. The biggest consequence was that I capitulated to my fear of inadequacy, and, if I had to choose between getting my Financial Aid shit done versus attending a raid I had signed up for, in a pretendy-world video game that I play for fun- I will choose Financial Aid every time. It’s silly, to feel so horrible about something so… small.
In the span of this week, I did laundry, I went to Freegeek, I stuck to a very limiting diet for- going on six days, now, and this is the first time I’ve ever tried something like this. I’ve kept the one room clean and made incursions into the others. I’ve maintained, mostly, in spite of the growing knot of tension I carry. But now it’s four o’ three AM and I can’t sleep and I can’t make the fear go away; the nights have progressively gotten worse as the week has worn on. I have to be awake in two and a half hours and my eyes are heavy, but even as I lay back and close them- I feel overwhelmed by everything.
It’s incredibly frustrating. And it will only get worse.
It is very hard for me to talk about the negative as it happens. My impulse is to say that everything is fine, that I am fine, that I will always be fine. To admit otherwise is to admit defeat. I am not defeated- not by this, not today. But sometimes, it sure as hell feels like I am. I catch dangerous murmurs in my internal monologue, things I don’t really believe or want to hear inside myself; it scares me, a little. It makes me feel out of control. It taints everything I do, casts uncertain shadows on every aspect of my life- and no one deserves these thoughts. As a human being I can recognize this is all so illogical, irrational, infuriatingly wrong. But it persists.
It is four eleven AM and I still can’t sleep.
No matter how far I come, no matter how hard I fight, there will always be times like this. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m exhausted.
I am full of doubt.
If I can barely handle things as they are right now, how the hell am I going to be successful in school, too? Why do I have to be so god damn damaged?
Why can’t I just- cope?
At least I know this, too, shall pass.