Yesterday in therapy, I had to give myself permission not to be the perfect student.
Up to now, I haven’t been anywhere near perfect, but I’ve beaten myself black and blue over it, speaking metaphorically. It took me saying to Jessica, “I have to take care of myself first” and Jessica and my mother witnessing and affirming that statement for me to finally relax and feel okay about this semester.
I’m not going to pull straight As, but I hope I’ll pull out of this depression. Looking back on the last twenty-four hours, this is probably the most hope I’ve had since I sank into the deep. With every completed task, it gets easier, yes, but I have to be able to complete the tasks. Instead of the paralysis of my usual avoidant/ashamed response, today I felt good enough about myself as a student to sit down and finish the hated note-taking exercise for Chapters 1 and 2. I established an approach that I can manage in less time than I needed, and I can do my actual homework as well. What larks.
I also got a critique from Dr. T., the first feedback I’ve had from any professor this semester on a finished assignment. Holy turnaround time, Batman. I sent her my essay a couple of days ago. She guided me firmly but gently in a better direction for the next three essays. Yes, I was overly personal this time in my reflection, but I demonstrated my understanding of the material. (Which I can’t help but understand. This course is perfect for where I am right now.) I have ideas about how to work with the illness narratives I’ve read, and though it hurt so much to read, I want to take on Borrowed Time first. I gave myself a context with “How To Survive A Plague” and now I’ve got research ideas for more context — drat me, I have to keep these papers short!
But for now I am going to rest and be happy I did something, because I feel that old guilty “now DO MORE” in the pit of my stomach. No. Eat, enjoy life, relax. I’m okay.