When I’m optimistic that my optimism could persist for more than a week or two, it’s a pretty good day.
But I have to be careful about getting my hopes up. Suppressing hope entirely is maladaptive, but when you overreact to disappointment as badly as I do, the reason for smothering optimism is obvious: it’s self-protective. These days I try to find some balance and develop a touch more tolerance to having my hopes crushed – allowing myself to be hopeful and anticipatory about some things where I feel I can handle it, but choosing not to expect the desired outcome in other situations where it would still hurt too much.
I’m feeling hopeful about my treatment coming to a point where I have symptoms more or less in hand most of the time. With the various elements I’ve been trying out lately, I think it could look something like this:
- ADHD meds and Yaz, with Ativan as needed.
- A few supplements and vitamins – Fish oil, Calcium, Vitamin D, and B complex.
- Regular talk therapy, focused on acceptance and keeping life in balance.
- Meditation, yoga, and a brisk walk outside every day.
- Light therapy.
- Regular blogging and entries in my gratitude journal.
- Regular extended time off.
Sounds peachy! Easier and cheaper than the current regimen, with fewer side effects! But how do I get there? The answer isn’t obvious because a big piece of the puzzle is my work. Most of that self-care takes time, and the goal of keeping stress manageable means that I just can’t work as many hours as I could if I ignored my body screaming out for yoga and meditation practice (which doesn’t work very well, by the way.)
So I have to come up with a job that lets me live sustainably. I currently have 15 months left on my contract, and I expect to start looking for work in a few months. I plan to look more broadly than just academia, because I think that achieving that sort of “dream” treatment plan would depend on my job conditions.
My job would have to be like this:
- 40-50 hour work weeks, tops
- Leave work at work
- No weekends or evenings
- Analytical/problem-solving work
- Writing and editing work
- Teaching and mentoring work
- Limited number of concurrent projects
- Largely independent but routine work
- First class benefits
- Flexible hours, flexible time off
- Work from home part time
- Good pay
- Some travel
- Located somewhere Mr. Chickadee and I find acceptable
Well, when you put it that way, I might as well just sit here waiting for flying monkeys to bring me bags of cash…
The part where I’m only willing to work so much and I want to be treated really well, that’s where the tradeoff usually happens. And I just don’t know where to look for professional work outside of academia that would take advantage of my skills without raping my conscience and lobotomizing my overeducated brain. It’s a big, scary world out there, kids.