I think I’ve mentioned that I’m planning on starting school in January of next year. While I’m excited and looking forward to this, I’m also scared out of my mind. I’m not precisely sure just what I’m afraid of with regards to going to school, though. It could be I’m afraid of change. Or maybe the specific change of going back to school, which I feel I’ve never done well in, no matter how much I know otherwise on a conscious level. Or it could be fear that I’m afraid I just might succeed.
I’m a pretty scaredy person. Have been since my breakdown after the Navy. I didn’t used to fear things like this. I just went out and did what I thought I needed to do with my life. I thought I should go to college after high school. So I did; didn’t get far, but that was in part, I think, to my living situation at the time. I needed a job, so I went out and got work (even though my mom at the time thought I didn’t want to work). I wanted to make writing my career, so I devoted most of my free time to it and sent short stories I managed to write out to markets. All this was easy to do with confidence before I had my breakdown. I wasn’t even afraid of the prospect of being homeless and left North Carolina to try and make a life in Colorado before I joined the Navy, and I dealt with homelessness with confidence and courage (and a great deal of fool’s luck), until I entered the military. And I threw myself into my Navy career with confidence I could make it my life.
It’s as if my failure with the Navy colors my entire outlook on success now.
But I’m not content to sit at home all day, living off the government. I need a change, and while I’ve been able to institute some minor changes which have helped me a great deal socially, I need to do something drastic to change my life. Getting a job is that change. But I don’t want just any minimum wage job. I could probably do retail, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. I don’t want to go back to dishwashing, though I think I would if I had to, because I do well with repetitive tasks that I can hyperfocus on with little risk of being distracted by the unexpected. I can’t do fast food—my mind isn’t quick enough for it; it processes things too slowly, and I take too long to think things through, get flustered when there’s a rush on, and am generally my flakiest when I’m working fast food, so that’s completely out.
So that means I need to go to school to make myself more marketable. And I’m terrified. I laugh at myself, because I know once I’m going and I’m in the middle of the situation, I’ll be happy I started. And that’s what’s helping me look forward to going to school.
Part of my fear stems from what I can expect of myself. While stabilized, my bipolar does fluctuate at various times, and it interferes with my life to some extent. I’m quite nervous about how I’ll do on days after nights when I haven’t slept due to the mania keeping me awake. I’m not sure I can consistently get up in the morning, but I do know once I’m used to the schedule, I’ll be able to do so with ease because I thrive in a structured environment, another thing helping me anticipate school. I’m not too sure of the classes, depending upon what I end up taking (I have a couple ideas), because I’ve never been academically confident, and civilian schools, especially in mathematics, tend not to teach at my level (that slow processing thing again).
But I already have plans for how to handle things. I’ll hit the State Street branch of the community college for a prep folder in late November or early December. I’ll get my entrance exam done as soon as I can within the time range they require it be done prior to enrollment. I’ll keep working on my fears about college in therapy and ask for advice every time I think I need the littlest bit of help. And, once I’m in classes, I’ll focus on school.
This means I’ll have to give up writing. Maybe only for weekdays, maybe the entire time unless school’s out for holiday. I’ve done this before, when I entered the Navy. I’ll try to work on my writing, but school will be my main priority.
I’ll face my fears and succeed at something, even if it means I have to drop out and get a minimum wage job. I can’t live like this much longer, because my biggest fear is that the life I’m living now will drive me crazier than I already am.