For some time now, I have felt exhausted frequently, and had little desire to do anything. It has been difficult for me to get things done.
I met with my ex not too long ago. He appears fine despite the fact that he is from a tropical country and sometimes gets depressed during the winter. He now lives in a northern climate with lots of snow and less sunshine.
Our conversation was going well. We were talking about current events. I was talking about work, which dominates most of my life until about a week ago. He talked about his work situation.
Apparently he met someone. She wanted to introduce him to her parents during the holidays. Wow. For the uninformed, meeting the parents is a big deal.
What shocked me was my lack of emotional response. What do you do when you find out that your ex has moved on and is dating other people? Surprisingly enough, I did not cry. I think the reason for my lack of emotional response is due to one of the following:
- Maybe I have been so busy that I have not processed it emotionally.
- Complete denial.
- I have processed it, and think it is about time he moved on.
- A combination of all of the above.
Maybe it is about time I got a personal life of my own. Someone I know told me all my stories involve my students.
Finding the Perfect College/University
This step will not be easy, but it is very important. You need to investigate what college is right for you. A college may be ranked high in US News, but it may not be a good college/university for you to attend. To help get you started, you should come up with a list of goals that you want to do with this new degree.
- Physical Layout of the College – If it is difficult for you to get around, then this will be a big factor for you. Online pictures of the college/university can help give you a good first impression. However, you may want to take a tour of the college to find out how easily you can get to your classes. A tour may also give you a good idea of how easily you can get to the nearest medical facilities.
- Talk to the Disability Office – From my experience as a professor, the people working in this office are dedicated to making sure students get a quality education regardless of health condition. However, not everyone’s experience may be as positive. It may be a good idea to talk to them during your campus tour if you can.
- Talk to Professors/Advisers – Talk to any potential advisors/professors that you may have. This step should not be skipped under any circumstances. If your health starts to deteriorate due to stress or other factors, you will need a good adviser who will support you. A bad adviser will be unsympathetic of your deteriorating health condition and will only make things worse.
- Potential Support Network – A nearby support network may be critical. Some colleges have support groups for a variety of different things. Your support group could be also be a group of friends, or the local support group specifically for your chronic illness (for example: the local Epilepsy Foundation). The stress will get bad and you need to make sure that there is help.
- Field of Study – Last but most important, you need to make sure they are an accredited college with a decent program in the field of study that you wish to pursue.
While this is not a comprehensive list, it should help you make an educated decision on whether this college/university will help you meet your goals.
What are your epilepsy fears?
I believe the photo above does a great job of illustrating the main ones. Some people who do not have epilepsy fear “catching” epilepsy. It is not contagious like the flu, and that will never happen. Strangely my fears are a little different:
- Missing time-lapse – I had a particularly bad seizure one time when my tonic-clonic seizures would not stop, so we called 911. I woke up at the hospital thinking that I had only been there for a few hours, when I had actually been there for two days. I had lost two days and don’t remember a single thing that happened during that time. My ex was there and filled me in on all the stuff that I missed.
- Medicine effects – I am also afraid of the long-term effects of my medicine. However, I know that I must take them. If you have ever read that long list of medicine side effects than you know what I’m talking about.
- Job loss – My job doesn’t pay a lot, but I’m still afraid of losing it because of seizure-related activity. I haven’t told my employers about my chronic illness, so an incident would cause some conflict.
What are your epilepsy-related fears?
As Valentine’s Day approaches…
As Valentine’s Day approaches, the holiday only reminds me of my crushed American dream. When I was younger, I had the dream that I would grow up and have a home of my own along with a husband, children, and pet. Epilepsy had no part in this dream. Valentine’s Day is the holiday that reminds me that I am now single and no closer to attaining these goals then when I was 16.
For the moment, I have scaled my American dream down a bit.
- home of my own – I have done some extensive research into home ownership by observing others, and it is not always the joyful experience people want you to believe. Since I am terrible at fixing things, I think that I dodged a bullet here. I prefer calling the maintenance guy and asking them to come fix the problem.
- pet – This is just a matter of finding a pet friendly place and getting a cat.
- financial stability – Although not specifically stated, I thought I would have a job that I loved and would not have to worry about financial problems. Although I like helping students with their issues in math, my job comes with no health benefits. At the moment, it is extremely difficult getting a full-time professor position without a PhD (at least in physics & mathematics), so I have worked as an adjunct for many years. I am trying to break out of this trend and get a full-time job in higher education, which should resolve my financial stability problems.
Is there a Positive Side?
Due to Valentine’s Day, I now have a good excuse for buying large quantities of chocolate without any judgmental reactions from supermarket employees. Every now and then my mood is a little negative, but I already have a strategy to help me with my ‘financial stability’ goal. I have even met someone who got a full-time job, and their boss was completely comfortable with the fact that they had epilepsy.