On Managing Expectations
When dealing with an illness, doctors tell you it's all about managing your expectations. Keeping a healthy perspective. I find the same could be said of most things in life.
There's a lot going on in my life right now. School, work, writing, family and publishing; possibilities and opened doors. Some of it is very good; some it, of course, is very bad. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between these two concepts, the good and the bad. They're differentiated by meager degrees of separation, and even that is subjective. What matters are the expectations you're bringing to the table, I think.
I've had dentures for two months now, which has been a rollercoaster in and of itself. I've also been in therapy since September, and it's been a constructive and heartening process so far. After some delays, I'm moving forward with my edits as The Crashers gets ready for publication. I recently got hired part-time as a technical writer at the university library, which is the first proper paid writing gig I've ever had. My new boss is really excited to have me on, and it looks promising so far.
Then I found out that, for all my planning and scheming and hoping, I wouldn't be able to graduate school in the spring. It's a minor setback, at best; a puzzling spring course schedule that won't allow me to take the classes that I need until summer and fall. Even my academic adviser and professors are a bit baffled by the upcoming schedule. I'm sure it would seem like a minor inconvenience to a lot of other people, having to graduate in the fall instead of the spring. To walk the stage in December rather than May. To move into a full-time position a little later than expected - a career, rather than the day-job that threatens to turn their anxiety and chronic pain into a weapon against them - so they can finally support themselves.
But other people aren't in my situation. They're not living with the family that has relentlessly gaslit them their whole lives. They're not surrounded by people who have done and said horrific things, and then hid behind "character building" as a means to sleep soundly at night. They're not economically trapped in a house fraught with tiny cruelties, like knives strewn about the rooms, that must be gently navigated. They're not living every day faced with all the compounding reasons why they're in therapy. "In recovery." "Healing."
Or maybe other people do. Maybe other people don't talk about it. Maybe other people should.
When I have so much to look forward to - like publishing the book, and getting my feet wet at the library - things like this make them hard to recognize. After nearly three decades of being left to drown by people who found my mental illness unsavory, it's often difficult to see anything but darkness. To manage my expectations, and react proactively rather than from a place of fear.
But I'm learning, a little bit every day, to keep my head above water.