Catching Up Again

It has been roughly 5 months since my last post.  I definitely did not meet the last goal I set for blogging regularly.  Looking forward, I can only do better.

I have made a lot of progress in the past 5 months.  The biggest thing: I finally finished my thesis and submitted it, all I have to do now is wait for my MSW to come in the mail in August.  I cannot describe the overwhelming sense of relief at finally having that off of my shoulders.  If I had not finished it by May 30th of this year, I would have run out of post residency time and all my work would have been for nothing.  I seem to have a great knack for finishing things right at the last possible minute.  This probably doesn’t help my anxiety and is definitely something I need to keep working on in the future.  For now though, I finally finished my thesis! Every time I think about it, I want to jump around and celebrate.  I am done!

I have also lost all of the pregnancy weight from having Saoirse.  I still have about 30 more pounds that I would like to lose, but today I am just celebrating the progress that I have made so far.  I also think that I have been doing better in terms of managing my anxiety.  Cal and I are engaged and going to Ireland to get married in two weeks.  I have so many updates that I want to share on this blog, and I plan to do so over the next week or so.

When I first started blogging, I was being crushed by an overwhelming amount of anxiety.  It felt like such a struggle just to get through the little tasks.  Things have improved so much over the past few months.  I feel like I can finally start to breathe again.  My anxiety is still there, and it is still very much something that I need to work on.  However, I feel like there is finally room for me to exist as a person, not just a giant bubble of anxiety.  The love of a supportive partner makes such a big difference, but I think the biggest thing that has prompted this improvement is that I finally finished my thesis!

When I started graduate school 5 years ago, I was so excited.  I was optimistic and ambitious, and ready to move toward my goals.  Everyone warned me that my social work program was incredibly rigorous and it was described as social work boot camp.  I wasn’t scared, I made it through Georgetown University as a single mom, I felt like I could handle anything.  I was wrong.  I definitely underestimated the struggle.  It wasn’t just the increased workload.  I moved to a new place and I lost the support systems that I had in place at Georgetown.  At Georgetown, I had this great community and support network that was there to challenge me, but also genuinely wanted to help me succeed.  I would never have made it through without that support.  In grad school, I was just like every other student.  The fact that I was a young single mom didn’t matter, after all I had made it that far.  It was time to show them what I was capable of.

I struggled to connect with my classmates.  I struggled with the work load and the demands of a highly problematic field placement where I did not find the support I needed (my second year field placement was exactly what a field placement should be, my first year field placement had many problems).  I struggled to navigate coparenting and eventually a relationship with Cal, who suddenly resurfaced in our lives.  I struggled to support Ryan, as he encountered so many difficulties in preschool and we slowly came to understand that he was autistic.  I struggled to navigate the system involved in getting Ryan the supports that he needed to thrive, as it was all so new to me.

With all of that struggling, I broke down.  I couldn’t handle it.  I was doing the best I could just to make it through the day.  I knew my limits and knew that adding a thesis into that mix was not the right decision for me in that moment. I had enough on my plate already.

So I entered post residency.  It was the right decision for me at the time, but it also dragged out the stressful experience of graduate school even longer.  For three years now, post residency has been hanging over my head.  For five years, my mind has been trapped in super stressful grad school mode.  I am finally done! That weight is finally off of my shoulders and I can finally breathe again.

I made it through grad school, an experience that brought me to the point of breakdown many times over.  Now it is time to heal and move on with my life.  Now I can focus on my family, my writing and self improvement.  This journey is looking  a lot brighter from here on out, and I cannot wait to share it with the world.