Memories are just a memory (Things are looking up)

Memories

There! You see I did get to use the title after all… sort of 😉

I may be a little hyped up on coffee right about now. I had some after waking up from a nap feeling really yucky and while I do still feel sleepy, the coffee and food helped a lot. So instead of heading to bed here I am right now writing a pretty damn perky blog entry. The positive mood is not just down to the caffeine though; it’s a general feeling that hit me yesterday when I realised how much better I was feeling. Physically I’m not doing so good – ear/sinus infection & my dodgy knees playing up – but emotionally I’m good. It’s the first time since the start of this god forsaken year that I have felt happy and confident. I still feel guilty considering what happened to Az… how can I be happy when something so horrific has happened? I am still mourning him, I probably always will because the loss of a loved one – human or animal – never truly leaves us.

But you have to go on living, looking to the future rather than the past. That has been a very hard lesson for me to learn, especially as I have a photographic memory and can picture unhappy memories in a flash. It isn’t a flash back, it’s just a memory in great detail. I remember the first time I was bullied when a kid stuck pencils through the hole in the school chair when I was 5. I distinctly remember 5 years later when I stepped oddly on a stone while walking to Churchfields park and had my first hypermobility caused injury; a hairline fracture in my ankle. What I don’t remember is which ankle it was because that was the first of many ankle/foot related injuries that eventually stopped as my foot became strengthen through years of physiotherapy and wearing sports support bandages for years on end. My first day at St John Rigby and the years that followed, making crazy friends who are still with me to this day. The good memories and the bad memories. Then Hayes, Leeds and the last six years with my amazing fiance.

I’m tearing up as I think back over all this – but they aren’t tears of sadness. It isn’t my depression raising it’s ugly head. They are tears of joy, of understanding of being able to lay some demons to rest. Why has all this suddenly happened recently? It’s been a stepping stone of different stages, of long term and short term events that have built me back up from rock bottom. I’m far from perfect, far from healed and as I have always known, my depression will still be there. You can’t wash away all the bad things, you just have to learn to handle them with the help of others.

I’m probably feeling even more philosophical tonight because I just watched the first episode of the new Rizzoli & Isles series which starred the actor Lee Thompson Young. For those who don’t already know; the actor was found dead this week from apparent suicide. The details are still a mystery but it does seem that it was depression that led to his death. I know how it feels to feel that bad, that alone and that powerless. I am fortunate that people have been there to help me up, to support me and kiss away my tears. I will always be grateful to those people. When I hear that someone was unable to stop the pain and felt that their only option was death… it breaks my heart. It’s one of the reasons why I always offer people a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and I speak openly about my problems. I’ve even heard someone crying before in a toliet at university and asked if they were ok. I know it sounds stupid but my hope was that the girl might register that even a stranger could care about her, that she wasn’t alone.

Since officially being accepted for honours I’ve had to sit and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for my academic profile to be progressed onto the next year. It has apparently been fixed, however, until mycampus (the system) has been updated after a major error happened, I won’t know for sure. It means I’m stuck waiting to find out what classes I actually have as no one has confirmed anything with me at all. I know I have creative writing both semesters and in semester 2 a course called “humanities in the classroom” which includes a work placement. I only know this because I had to apply separately for both of these. So I have no reading lists, which is a good and a bad thing. It means I get to read whatever I want to read – currently the Iron Druid Chronicles – but it also means less time to read stuff before the beginning of term. I’ve also heard that one course – the vampire literature one – may not even be happening this year *cries*. This means I may need to find another course from somewhere as well… but I will know nothing until mycampus is sorted. I am hoping – just like everyone else – that this will be the start of next week.

Wow.. this entry is going on for ages. I still have two more points to get through before I finish and head to bed. The first goes with the general feel of this entry; the future. Next wednesday I have my first physio appointment and I’m hoping praying that they can actually offer me something useful. This will be the third time having physio on my knees… having is actually the wrong term as the previous ones didn’t actually do much apart from show me how to do exercises and send me off to do them. The one in Leeds spent most of his time lecturing me on how I wasn’t standing/bending/moving correctly. Dude, you try having this condition and then tell me it’s easy to re-teach your entire body to stand/move/bend differently. Guilting someone into fixing their body when they cannot help it – my body thinks what it is doing is the natural normal behaviour of a body – doesn’t HELP. Anyway… rant over 😛 I was supposed to be talking about how I noticed this week my sudden vocabulary changes from “if I do creative writing, my novel/protagonist will be…” to “my novel/protagonist is going to be…”. No honours went losing out on the chance to start down the official creative writing road and while it is scary, it is damn exciting too. I can’t wait to get started!

And the last point finally; work and how well it has been going, and then that rant stole the show. Everyone is really friendly, and the only down side is the lack of stuff to do sometimes. However, the next few weeks will see that changing and I’ll probably find myself wishing for the good ole quiet days.

It’s official!

Our Cat; Az

I got my resit grade yesterday, a B3, but I wanted to wait until I got the official notification from my department. I don’t know if I got the classes I asked for yet, might need to wait a few more days for those. I should definitely have creative writing as that was a separate application. I worked so hard for this and I am just so happy to have done it. So to the dear anonymous who left me that nice message on tumblr; what have you got to say now? Clearly as the resit result has shown I am more than capable of getting the grade when “healthy” enough (it’s in quotation marks because my average level of healthy is well.. poor anyway).

I also got a job, it’s temporary and due to some people stalking me online I’m not going to be specific. I had the training for it this week and it seems good and they are very understanding about my disability too. It’s a bit scary, but it’s only temporary so if it ends up being that terrible at least it is only for a while. Despite being temporary it means I’ve gotten my foot in a door and a good amount of experience, both of which will help me in the future. And to be honest I think I needed this; it’s forced me to get some parts of my life sorted rather than letting me just sit back before classes start.

I had hoped that due to these pieces of news that the title of this entry would be something like “Things are getting better”. Instead yesterday’s joy was met with devastating news. Our first cat, Az, who Chris and I left in London as he was settled in, was hit by a car yesterday. He didn’t survive. I managed to get through today’s training, I don’t know how. I spent yesterday on a complete high – until I got this news last night – and now I just can’t even muster a smile at the good news. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy, I’m relieved… but.. anyone who’s ever lost a cat so suddenly will know what I mean. He was only 5 and he is the second cat to die this year, third in less than a year. The other two who I still miss terribly, were 17 and it’s odd for a cat to live older than 15, so yeah… Az was so young and no one could have seen this happen.

 

Hypermobility, thy name is pain

Spoonies R Us

As mentioned in my previous entry, my hyper mobility was one of the major health related problems that caused me so many problems in Term 2. In the past week I’ve been to see my doctor about it, had a physio assessment and had an asthma review by the nurse. All of these were steps in the direction of getting myself healthier in terms of pain, weight and mobility. My doctor examined my knees and straight away saw the problem; my left knee is very hyper extended. To quote a dictionary this means; “extend a joint beyond its normal range”. That is basically what my entire body does, but my left knee apparently just “looks wrong” :-/ The right knee I’m not sure about as it’s pretty banged up from me falling over the week before, so that may have obscured stuff or it may not be as bad as the left one.

I have admittedly been putting off seeing my doctor because as many hypermobile people know, there isn’t that much that can be done about this condition. Doctor’s don’t know what to do with chronic illnesses, and physios can’t solve every problem at once. I wasn’t hugely happy with the assessment I had for physio which involved a whole lot of talking and no actual assessment of the physical problems. I would have expected them to at least LOOK at the problem area. Plus as soon as I mentioned ‘weight gain’ it seemed as though everything else I said lost legitimacy. It’s at least a 4 week wait on the waiting list, so hoping that with my new diet and exercise that I can start to shift the weight before the actual physio begins.

My new diet – I hate diets. I feel that there is too much social pressure to be a certain weight and by saying you’re dieting you are enabling it. As highlighted by the physio’s tactless ‘well that won’t help’ comment, my weight needs to lower considerably. Not just for my HMS but to stop other health problems from arising. Plus I am not comfortable in my current form. This diet is unlike any I’ve had before, it’s very strict which I usually avoid as they are very salad and fruit heavy. I can’t eat either, however, the one we’ve put together for me is easily tailored to me, helps prevent cravings and got the thumbs up from my doctor. It’s called a low-GI (glycemic index) diet and if you google it, you’ll find more information. It aims to work with your body’s natural processes by maintaining your blood sugar levels so that food energy is released slowly. I’ve only been on it a week, but the cravings seem to have gone down and I’ve already vetoed some foods that I just cannot stomach. Namely cottage cheese (looks like vomit) and skimmed milk (looks and tastes like wee wee). The hardest part has been the lack of coffee and I’ve tried some stuff which I was surprised to find very yummy. Once I’ve gotten a settled meal plan I’ll post it up so people can be nosey.

It has been hard starting a diet while concentrating on my resit, but I think it has also helped though. It’s helped me remain positive, by sticking to the diet I’ve been able to feel like I’m succeeding at something difficult and I’ve funnelled that into my academic work. I handed in the resit essay yesterday and I actually feel pretty confident about it. I put everything into that essay and if I don’t get a good mark then I don’t deserve to be studying honours. I also went to an exam workshop yesterday which was very very helpful and explained a lot about what I did wrong last time. I basically regurgitated every fact, scared of all the big fancy names and techniques and thinking that I needed to prove what I knew. I do a bit, however, the markers are looking for our own ingenuity and view point. What we notice and can put together. We went through a lot of questions and themes as well so that helped me to understand the last exam better.

 

The exam is next week and then that’s it. I’ve either done it or I’ve not. It’s a scary prospect and also a bit relief as I’ll have my summer back again. I can’t think of anything else right now except this resit and I feel guilty if I spend my time doing something else worth while. So I’ve primarily been watching tv, reading and playing little games on facebook during my study breaks.

TOW the exam results

Uni Updates

How do you write a public entry in which you admit your own failure? Why am I writing this at all? I can answer the second question; catharsis to remind myself of the facts. Fact #1 – I was very ill this term, fact #2 – I didn’t fail anything. Unfortunately neither of those facts helped me to feel better.

I guess the best place to start is with my actual grades: C1 for Comparative Literature, C1 for English Literature, D1 for English Language. The English Language is actually ok; I dislike C’s and D’s but I just needed a pass in a subject I was forced to take and hated every minute of it. English language is just not my subject. It’s the C1 for English Literature that is the big thorn in my side. To get into English Honours a B grade is required in term 1 and term 2, I got a B1 for term 1 and term 2 is the C1. On average I have a B3, but they do not accept the average and I thus have to achieve a B grade for term 2 to be accepted into honours. I went through the appeal process and today I found out that I’ve been given permission to resit the exam and resubmit the essay.

On the one hand I’m glad that my health problems were taken into account, that the appeals committee did agree that there were adverse medical conditions and that I deserve the chance to prove myself. I had been worried that because my main issue was depression and anxiety, that it would not be taken seriously. I am very grateful that my university continues to be supportive of all health problems. Now I just need to focus and prove to myself that I am capable of reaching the required grade. I have everyone around telling me I can; that doesn’t magically stop me worrying because I’m not that sort of person. I’ll only be happy when I actually achieve what’s required of me and that is a B. I’d already started planning some of my resit studying, and have library books ready for me. I’ve also formulated a plan of attack, so to speak, aka what texts and what essay question I’m planning to do. The essay questions are the same ones, which isn’t great, but it does give me an opportunity to write a feminist based approach which I feel will provide a stronger essay.

The exam is what worries me the most. I felt like I hadn’t done badly in that exam, or maybe I was just glad it was over with or didn’t want to recognise how bad the questions were. This was our first glimpse of the new questions, and despite being told that we’d be fine looking at the previous papers, I did feel like I’d been thrown through a loop when I first saw the exam paper. This time I have a copy of that exam paper – thank heavens it is already on the library website – so I have something concrete to work from. Hindsight also means I can change the texts around as well. I can do whatever I want provided I don’t redo topics I have already done, so changing texts makes sense.

I have a month basically; until 6th August which is when the exam is held. I had hoped for a nice relaxing summer, one without resits, but I need to remember one important thing – I am only resitting one subject, not 3 like last summer. There is a lot more weighing on this one subject, but I only need to remember one set of texts, one type of exam themes rather than everything I had to cram into my brain in April/May. During July I have a holiday with my parents and Chris which I’m really looking forward to, and I hope I’m able to enjoy it without overly stressing too much about the exam and essay.