Catching Up 2011

I have a lot of things going on in my mind these days.  That's what happens when my mood stabilizes or goes manic, whichever.  (I got back on meds in December).  When that happens it feels like I am waking up from a hazy sleep, from not being fully alive -- a sort of sleepwalking.  It's creepy. And stressful, because when I wake up I have to clean up the mess I made by sleeping. This post may be boring, but I need to review things. 

I don't want to waste one more year of my life rotting away in my stinky apartment living on the edge of ruin. So I've  made plans.  I'm trying to hedge all my bets, to give God lots of opportunity to make something good happen.

Plan A. My PhD: At the beginning of last fall I had new plans to write my incomplete papers, with help from others, so I could get myself back into the PhD program I dropped out of a few years ago.  Plan A. To continue what I started.

I also tried this in the fall of 09. After 6 months of struggle and no completed work, I decided it was impossible. My emotional baggage was greater than I could overcome. (I fainted one night while trying to work.) So, Plan B.  At the last minute in January of 2010, I applied to new schools to start over.  It was a very traumatic process, facing the demons of my failure, reading my old work, and asking for recommendations.  It took a few nightmarish weeks but I did it.  It was a massive triumph.  Though I missed some deadlines which meant I didn't qualify for funding for the program that accepted me.

So it didn't work out. And I turned back to Plan A in August 2010, to finish my Incompletes and grovel myself back into my old program.  I started two papers.  I felt great, I was excited.  Then my insurance was canceled, my medicine ran out and I fell apart.  No more work.

At the end of December I started getting better and I started getting ideas.  It was probably time for me to give up this PhD thing.  There was a reason I haven't been able to do any work in 4 years.  Either I didn't want to do it, I couldn't do it, or God didn't want me to do it. If that's the case, then I needed a new plan.

Plan C: Get MSW and LCSW to become a therapist.  I can have my own practice so I won't ever get fired. My friends have always said I would be a good therapist.  I have 20 years of practice on the wrong side of the couch, making me an expert. And, here's the weird part.  My Patriarchal blessing said I should help people in the way that a psychiatrist does because I have the gift of healing. That horrified me when I was 16.  But I always planned to do something with my PhD sort of in that vein on the side.  Maybe that wasn't good enough.  Maybe I've been acting like Jonah and running away from my responsibility?  Every time I started to get things together for my PhD, something went wrong.  For years. So maybe I should swallow my pride and give up. Fine.

The last week of January I made the final decision to do it, to apply for a social work program. That was on a Tuesday.  I found one nearby that was affordable, and checked requirements and deadlines, Feb. 5th.  I  started it that night. Then, on Wednesday I came across an ad for a studentship in my field, at the school that accepted me last year.   I popped over to their website and checked their deadlines. Feb 1.  I already had all the work done, it would be easy to send it all in again.  They accepted me once, maybe this time I could get funding.  And while I was at it, there was another school in London similarly ranked that I might as well apply to too.  I started those on Wednesday night.

Which puts me back on Plan B.  The PhD apps were due first so they took priority.  I spent the next week working on them, sending emails for recommendations, revising my writing samples, writing a personal statement, and re-working a research proposal.  I didn't sleep for 3 days before the due date.  I enjoyed it.  This is what turns me on.  I don't expect to get funding, it was probably a waste of time.  But it was good for my self esteem to see my qualifications all in once place. And, I'll know that I tried.
Now it was time for Plan C again, the MSW app.  Groan.  I didn't know what to write for the personal statement.  I put it off until one hour before the deadline. I didn't know who to ask for recommendations and procrastinated that too.  Saturday afternoon I painted my bathroom floor instead of working on the app.  I finished the floor at 10pm  and told my friend I wasn't doing the app.  I just didn't want to.  But I said a prayer that the Lord would help me do it if that's what He wanted.  I sat down at 11 p.m. and whipped a personal statement from my rear, then entered the names of referrees I hadn't heard back from yet.

After hitting the submit button, I found out the fee is $125!!!  I don't have that!  It's extortion!  But I checked the box saying I would mail in a check.  If this is what the Lord wants from me, then He can make it work out.  To better my chances, I spent the early part of this week looking for other MSW programs nearby.  There were some with open deadlines but they require work experience I don't have.  And the fees all range from $60-125.  Plan C isn't looking good.

Then there is Plan D.  I started this in December.  I'm applying for disability.  My shrink and my therapist have wanted me to do it for years.  I didn't want to.   I'm not that sick.  I don't want to be that person.  But it would qualify me for Medicaid, which I need.  My meds cost almost 2k per month at retail price.  Maybe if I go on the subsidy, I'll have the stability to finish my research.  Or, it could put me in a situation to go back to school for a few years and get the MSW.  And/or, give me the opportunity to continue with Plan E. 

Plan E is my novel. I worked on it all summer.  Then, after I had 70 pages I realized it was crap.  I don't know how to write fiction.  I got discouraged and quit.  But over Thanksgiving I was inspired and wrote a new first page.  I started over completely.  I made an outline of the whole book this time.  It was much better than the mess I had before.  It's going slowly, I have to re-write, re-write, re-write, because this is a new skill and I'm learning as I go.  But I think I might be able to make something good with enough time. 

That's what I've been doing the last two months.  I also started dating, but that was by accident.   And that's for another blog post.


SavvyD said...

Girl, you gotta take care of yourself. There are alot of free/low cost clinics in NYC. When I was temping and trying to break in as a singer there, that's what I used. They even have dentists. Alot of the docs there feel like they are on a mission to save the world, so you even get compassionate care.

Not sure where you live, but there was one near 46th and 10th or 11th in Manhattan.

Miss365 said...

Did I read that right ? Your meds cost $2000 a month?!

J.L. said...

Yes, you read that correctly. In November I went to the ER and checked myself in as a suicide just so I could get some medication. It worked. I had to spend a hellish 12 hours under suicide watch and they nearly committed me to the psych ward, but I got 2 weeks of free meds. I had to apply for all these discount programs that took months to get approved but now I get the most expensive drug for free from the manufacturer, I get the 2nd for 10% of the retail price but I'm still paying $130 for the generic version of one of them. My medication is what drove me into debt and now bankruptcy. Hooray for for-profit health care.

SavvyD said...


Stephen said...

Apply for disability. Stability and medication should come first. If you are paying a therapist and investing time with them, make use of their advice.

City JL said...

I got denied for Disability. I've heard that they deny everyone the first time, the only way to qualify is to hire a lawyer. That's not going to happen.

Emily said...

I am not a lawyer or a law student or a New Yorker, but I dated a lawyer who said that 3L (3rd year) law students are able to provide advice and maybe representation under supervision of an attorney.

Cardozo Law School Clinic (Cardozo is Yeshiva University's law school) in NYC

Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic
email: rlevites@yu.edu
phone: 212-790-0240

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue, Room 1103
New York, NY 10003

NYU may also have a legal aid clinic.