Slow-moving progress – Impatiently waiting for change.
February 20, 2023
It is a Monday night here in the heartland of the United States.
Where I live, things move relatively slowly, and people never seem to be in a hurry.
Then you have someone like me, a highly motivated, goal-setting person with anxiety and depression. This means I am very impatient when it comes to waiting for things to happen. I push and try to get things moving faster or make them seem like they are.
I have been unemployed since May 2020 due to my previous rotator cuff surgery. There were subsequent complications including a frozen shoulder, a tremor, a hand impairment, and a limitation to how much weight I can lift. All of these became barriers and kept me from going back to my previous jobs. These mobility issues also prevent me from completing some goals.
All of this coupled with the PTSD, major depressive disorder, and anxiety has made the last 3 years unbearable at times but I kept moving forward. I never gave up hope that my financial situation would change and level out.
Last summer, I signed up for the Veteran’s Administration’s, Veterans Readiness and Employment (VRE) program. This is an educational benefit afforded to me through my military service. It would pay for me to go back to school and finish my degree. This would hopefully lessen the barriers to employment and help me obtain at least a part-time job position. I was very positive about the outcome but then we ran into issues. I still owed a balance at my previous college that I was made aware of by the school.
I was temporarily removed from the program until I could pay the balance off. This seemed like such a huge, impossible hurdle to overcome. I was already struggling with just maintaining monthly bills.
Then at the beginning of January of this year, I found out that I could be enrolled in a different degree or technical training program than my current bachelor’s program. I started contacting different organizations, did some temporary enrollments, and maintained constant contact with my VRE counselor about the progress.
On Monday, February 13th, I started a new program consisting of bookkeeping and accounting. This is so I can find a better part-time job after I finish and then start paying my outstanding balance to finish my degree.
In all of these challenges over the last three years, I never gave up hope, faith, or belief that my situation would change.
It was a rollercoaster of thoughts throughout this whole process. The anxiety and depression would show up, causing me to doubt myself or that I could do this. I began having these self-deprecating thoughts that I was too old and that I was too slow to keep up. Then the anxiety would go up causing stress.
In the meantime, I was fixing the strained relationship with my family, and starting a new relationship over the last nine months. I also began having insomnia more than usual and was waking up with anxiety or stressed in the mornings.
I knew that I had to change the way I was thinking or I could start spiraling into depression again. It has been almost nine years of therapy to get me to this point. To feel okay and to be able to just deal with things in a more productive way. I did not want to lose any of the progress that I had made. The self-doubts had already caused me to withdraw from some of my therapy sessions.
A month ago, I started developing a morning routine that consists of meditation, deep breathing, stretching, prayer, affirmations, visualizations, and daily gratitude. It is the first thing I do before getting dressed and fixing the bed.
This newfound routine has changed how I feel in the mornings, the stress and anxiety has been lessened. I am calmer, more peaceful, and more positive. This shift in focus has made me more apt to complete and stay on task.
It has not fixed the sleep issues, yet. I know the bouts of insomnia are a constant in my life but I have been able to manage it.
This first week of school was challenging because it is solely an online course which means I have to manage my time. The one thing that I have been good at during some points of my life. I know how to break things down into more manageable chunks of time and create a workable schedule.
The only issue that I had this week was a brief moment of self-doubt sprinkled with a little self-pity. The instructor, my peers, and I only interact through our online discussion forum. We had several assignments where we had to post to the discussion at a minimum of 150 words and then reply to a peer’s post at a minimum of 100 words. I did not think it was that difficult. I am used to writing on this blog and my posts are well over a thousand words.
I did the assignments and waited for someone to reply. I was getting notifications and seeing all the replies and posts that were occurring between the other students on the discussion forum. As of Sunday, the last day of our grading for the week, the only replies I received were from a staff member of the school and my instructor. I did not have one interaction with one peer. I felt so defeated in those moments of realization. I felt alone and like an outcast because I had not been acknowledged.
I spoke about these feelings to my younger kids during a chat and as well as to my person. Each one of them came back and reminded me that I was not doing this for the people in my classes, I was doing this for myself. They asked me “Is it really important for these people to like you?” The answer was no, but it would have been nice to be acknowledged by at least one of the peers who are in my age group.
I finished the week strong and currently have an “A” grade in the course so far. Some of the other students did not do so well on the assignments per the discussions. They thought we were not starting graded posts and replies yet. I had previously seen the short replies to the discussions.
The instructor on the first day told us to follow the grading rubric we were given for all discussions. When I told my son that, he said “That’s probably why they did not respond to you because you can see each other’s work”. I guess that is a valid reason but I still think it was off-putting and kind of rude. I was not seeking out new friendships or anything like that. I just thought it was going to be more open and friendly. I was wrong.
After getting my self-esteem boosted back up by my kids and my online relationship, I decided to just keep doing my best. Put in full effort to complete this course with the best grade possible.
It has been a long three years of waiting for some sort of progress and changes in my life.
I truly believe that the therapy, daily positive thoughts, and faith that things were going to get better made a huge difference in my outcome.
I am in the right headspace to take on this new learning challenge and succeed.
The morning routine is slowly helping me to be less anxious and also helps minimize my self-doubts.
Slow-moving progress and being impatiently waiting on something to change have made me mentally stronger overall.
I am looking forward to new challenges again.
I am making plans again and adjusting old goals.
Time will tell if I am finally on the right path.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Have a wonderful week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!