Classes started yesterday. My third semester of graduate school, which is a little weird to think about. It feels like I just started; like I just graduated with my bachelor’s in psychology. People kept asking me if I was ready to go back, and while part of me was — I’m lost without school, aimless, drifting from day to day with nothing to anchor me — part of me decidedly wasn’t. I thoroughly enjoyed my summer. I didn’t do much of anything, which I like to think was rather the point. But I wasn’t ready for fall yet. I could’ve easily done with another few weeks of laziness.
School has started, though, whether I like it or not. I went to therapy today for the first time in weeks and saw several school buses during my drive downtown. The air is crisp, cool, bringing with it the promise of change. As much as I’m dreading the additional workload, I do love this time of year. There’s just something about it. Spring is usually associated with renewal, but fall has always functioned as a kind of reset button for me.
I’m only enrolled part time this semester, so I’ll have space to breathe. My main goal, though, above everything else, is to slow down and focus on managing my headaches. Increasing my water intake seems to be helping, but it also affects every other part of my life. I’ve had to completely re-evaluate how I approach toileting, which isn’t fun for anyone involved. But it’s working, I think. I hope. Next up is massage and physical therapy, which will hopefully address the tension part of my supposed tension headaches.
I’m finally learning to live with my anxiety. I told my therapist today that, a few weeks back, I journaled through a hypothetical scenario in which I was actually dying of cancer. I asked myself what I’d want the last few months of my life to look like, and what I want my life to stand for when everything’s said and done. Ever since then, my days have felt clearer, sharper. Less cluttered. Whenever I’m anxious, I look in the nearest mirror and tell myself I’m not dead yet. I have time. And I’m not giving up.
Tomorrow, I see “Hamilton: An American Musical” with one of my best friends in the world. This weekend, my parents and I are going to stay at our cabin in Wisconsin. In a few weeks, the leaves will begin to turn; I’ll wake to my mother’s laugh, and the creases at the corners of my father’s eyes when he kisses my forehead. I’m seeing my favorite poet perform in October, and in November I’ll get to work on my book again. December will bring with it the holidays, Dungeons & Dragons with my favorite people, a vacation to North Carolina. And as for 2019 …
We’ll see, I guess. I don’t know what the future holds, and that’s the beautiful thing. Not everything is up to me, but I’m responsible for doing what I can when I can. For making magic wherever I go. And I’m ready.
For the first time in a year, I think I’m ready.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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