31 January 2010

From the castle to the fields

Once upon a time, I packed up and moved, and ended up here (geographically speaking). Some stuff happened, I got a lot of therapy, busted my ass some more, studied, and now I'm here (in terms of both time, space, and academics). A man's home is his castle, right?

When I walk into my apartment, it's like I've escaped the entire world. I know it's out there, but my blinds are closed and I can't see it and it can't see me. Home is a castle, a fortress, a place of safety. In my home, I am king and ruler.

That's how it works, right?

I'm almost never at home, except to sleep-- and sometimes I don't even do that here. I leave home in the morning around 0730, and I'm not usually back until 2230 or later on nights I work and not at all on many weekends. I decided a long while ago that sitting inside my apartment all the time wasn't getting me anywhere, and I credit much of my success to that decision. Sitting at home doesn't do a person trying to heal a lot of good. You have to get out into the world.

I've written before how I can't seem to get any studying done at home. As soon as I walk in the door to my apartment, it's over, my brain shuts down, and I'm in relax/escape-from-the-world mode. Now that I'm at a (much) more academically challenging school, I really need to study when I'm not in class or at work (I do study at work-- but I'm talking serious study time with no interruptions). My apartment is that of a student, but maybe I'm at the point where I need to admit that it's not a place to study.

I am blessed, however, with lots of places to study on campus. Hmmm.

It should be noted that it's about 40 minutes of bus riding to get to campus, or back home. So I have to plan ahead-- if I forget a book or notebook, it's a 1 1/2 hour round trip to go home and get it. Depending on my schedule, I have to carry the books and notebooks I need for the classes I have today, and whatever studying I have to do for other classes. I also have a laptop, coffee, food, pens/pencils/etc, and clothing to consider (this being the upper midwest in winter). It's a mission possible, though it has a price and requires some adjustments.

(Note: my campus has a lot of nearby stuff-- it's in the middle of the city, so there are stores, places to eat, etc. nearby. But those things cost money, and it's a lot cheaper if I pack PB&J sandwiches and avoid Subway.)

What about my castle, my safe place, where the world can't see me and I can't see the world? What about PTSD during the day? It's better lately, even though I'm in a situation where people who don't have PTSD have trouble adjusting. But there are still moments and I know I'll still have those days. Where do I go, and what do I do then?

Truth be told, when I get off the bus in front of my apartment building at night, I feel very remote and isolated. It feels like I'm a million miles from home. Again, hmmmm.

The answer is an adjustment to a new situation. I have to admit to myself that I a) cannot study at home and b) am not a bad person as a result. I need to stay on campus to get my studying done, which means I need to plan ahead and make sure I have what I need to survive "in the field" for a day. I also need to spend some time finding friendly castles on campus-- places where I feel safe and comfortable-- to study. I've already found a couple of them, libraries that aren't so crowded and student lounges with comfy chairs.

So if I'm doing all of my studying on campus, I'm not going to be home much-- but I think I'm okay with that for now. I have the option, of course, to come home instead of staying at school for that time after my last class of the day, if I need to do so. Options are good things.

I often ask myself-- am I healthy? Am I better? Am I doing okay? Some days and times I wonder, and it's hard to answer those questions. I can be demanding of myself. I try to remind myself that if I wasn't doing things right, I wouldn't be sitting here writing about making positive adjustments to my life.

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