Hope is a dangerous thing

…but I have it (to quote part of the new Lana Del Rey song.)

Ever since I realized I felt well enough to go back to school and that the disease-modifying drug is indeed making my brain clearer, I suddenly feel so much hope. I’m looking forward to my future in a way that I haven’t felt since I moved down here almost exactly five years ago.

In truth, I never wanted to get disability. Even as I was applying for it, I felt like it was the only option I had. After all, I failed epically when I tried to work full time last year. A lot of it was that I just wasn’t getting enough sleep. The job itself caused me anxiety, which in turn caused me many nights of insomnia. Several nights I only got 2 hours of sleep (sometimes even zero sleep) because of it. And while I worked there, I also had unwise weeknight late obligations like a previously scheduled concert and a friend’s wedding that was a far drive on a Monday. Those activities further prevented me from getting enough sleep.

Essentially I was still living like a freelancer rather than someone with an 8-5 job. But I think if I could change my habits, that’s able to be overcome.

The job was also a bad fit. I came to quickly realize that a marketing department that runs itself like an agency is too high-stress and youth-oriented. I need a calmer environment where people are actually nice to each other.

But disability seemed like my only way out. My brain was foggy and my thoughts weren’t clear. And besides, what could I go back and do? I was 100 percent sure that I didn’t want to be a freelance writer anymore. And having a full-time staff writing job wasn’t the holy grail I thought it would be.

Now, I’m on medication that’s actually clearing up my brain and depression meds that are making it easier to function. I’ve figured out my Plan B (or Q or R by now), which is not new but what I was planning to do when I had my last major relapse.

That gives me confidence again. Many other people have pigeonholed me as a writer since I was a kid because I was good at it. But I didn’t actually want to be a writer. In college, I changed my major from English to sociology because I actually loved sociology and its related fields like psychology and social work.

What that tells me is almost revolutionary. It means I can trust my instincts. When I pursue what I actually want to do, not what everyone else wants me to do, I’m actually good at it. I’m excited about it. I feel alive.

And for that reason, I finally have hope again. I’m not too worried that grad school will be a bust or that I won’t be able to work full-time. I don’t show any disease activity on my MRIs and I haven’t had a relapse in 18 months. I don’t have a lot of symptoms and am not in a lot of pain.

I just need to take care of myself and not shortchange my need for sleep. And I need to listen to my internal guidance about careers because I do actually have reliable insight about myself.

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