February 2018

February is over! I can’t believe it. I know it’s the shortest month, but really, it absolutely flew by. One of my goals for 2018 is to write more, so here’s how my February has been so far…

Spring term has started and I have had to hit the ground running. We have at least one lab a week for the first… what, seven or eight weeks of term? A long time, in any case. Every lab needs a report written for it, which is due in three days later. Coincidentally, I had two labs last week, and have three this week. I am exhausted – and making it to lectures in between sitting on the toilet and standing up for hours in the lab has not been easy. Still, I’m chugging along, and I can’t complain. I just wish I didn’t feel like I was sprinting and getting absolutely nowhere: working so hard all day, every day, just to barely keep up with everybody else. Classic “it’s not fair” moment.

I’ve been doing alright on this front, surprisingly! I dragged myself out of the house after a long week to go into town with my friends. We spent an amazing evening together – chatting, laughing, playing board games and generally just enjoying the company. I tried seitan strips for the first time and nearly cried with joy – who needs real chicken nuggets when these are exactly the same? I only thought about needing the bathroom once or twice – amazing! – and I had such a good time that I fell asleep as soon as I got back indoors, so actually went about 24 hours without a BM. Cue celebration! Maybe I should go out more often…?

I miss my family a lot. That’s no surprise, since I’m struggling so much with my health, but sometimes it hits me with knee-buckling force: the desperate desire for a warm blanket and cup of tea made by someone who knows exactly how you like it, a soft hug, being asked how your day went. Being away at university with a disability is isolating, and you forget how much the minutiae of living with people you love matters. But Easter isn’t too far now, and with its arrival comes a two-week vacation. Just a few more weeks, and then I can escape back to my bolt-hole for a bit.

Seriously, where am I going with these subheadings? I have no idea. But I don’t really know what else to title this section. How am I doing, in myself? Well. My first counselling appointment is booked for the evening of the 15th, and my mental health is doing okay since starting escitalopram (expect a blog post on the mental health saga later!). The anxiety is hanging around, but the medication is helping the depression, which, in turn, helps me to think more clearly. On the other hand, I’m getting itchiness and occasional nosebleeds, and I can’t concentrate on one thing for very long, so it might need some tweaking. Either way, my head feels a little bit better: instead of an unfamiliar cavern, with every sound echoing off the walls and darkness in every corner, it’s more like… an empty room in the house. Familiar. Empty, but not ominous. Just peacefully silent. I’m looking forward to my first counselling session, because I’m determined to take back some control over my body. I can’t do anything about my intestines, but with a lot of hard work, I can do something to help my mind – and so I will.

So that was February. Exhausting and exhilarating by turns, I think. Here’s to trying more new things, conquering fears and feeling more comfortable with myself in March!

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