St(res)[s](t)

My summer so far:

Leave Biola at 6:30am on Tuesday, fly home, go straight to the hospital to get scoped, and spend the rest of the day sleeping off the drugs.

Spend all day on Wednesday at the Air Force Academy graduation and hosting a party at our house afterwards for one of the cadets we sponsor and all his family and friends who came into town, and then all evening unpacking and spending a couple hours talking to one of my best friends.

Thursday, sleep in attempting to recover from the stress of the last few weeks of school and the pain I’ve been constantly dealing with (the cause for the scope). In the afternoon, my manager at Texas Roadhouse called to ask if I knew I was supposed to be working tonight.

Why no, I didn’t. The last time we spoke you told me you were fully staffed and didn’t know if there was room for me on the schedule, and that I should call back. I called back three times, leaving messages for you each time, and you never returned my calls. But apparently I am on the schedule tonight and every night until Tuesday, including a double shift on Sunday, and a Friday shift that I’ll have to scramble to get covered because I can’t miss my sister’s graduation.

An unexpected four-and-a-half hour shift without the usual retraining period despite not having worked for 10 months. Limping away on a still-recovering, very unhappy sprained ankle with only $30 in tips.

Today, reading a 17-page article and writing a 900-word response, then Allie’s graduation.

Constantly, plagued with pain that frustrates me throughout the day and prevents me from sleeping at night. The pills that are supposed to be helping… aren’t. (They are attempt number five.)

Thus far, totally unrestful. I was hoping, after the most physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausting and pain-filled semester I could have imagined, that summer would be a time of rest.

I was hoping that it would be a time to spend with longtime good friends, after another year of struggling to connect deeply with anyone at Biola.

As it is, I still have a 40-hours-per-week internship forthcoming, and now, on top of that, an additional 30-or-so hours per week at Texas Roadhouse.

It’s likely that stress was a contributing catalyst to the condition that’s causing my physical pain.

I keep running, and running, and running, and I’m feeling more and more stretched thin and less like… well, a real, whole, healthy person. More like just some kind of perpetual motion thing. I don’t know how I’ve made it this far, in all honesty. For the first time, my grades took a hit this last semester. Proof that I am not as invincible as I like to believe. Or maybe as I force myself to believe, because it’s about the only thing that keeps me pushing through 18 units and three (sometimes four) jobs.

I don’t know when it will end.

(“It” could just as equally refer to my sanity as to the stress at this point.)

I don’t know how to keep handling it all, not without some kind of break for restoration and recuperation. But I don’t have much of a choice.

Really, it’s all because of money. I’m carrying a full unit load every semester so I can graduate early to save money. I work year-round to earn money. Working during the school year takes up time I could be spending building new relationships, and working during breaks takes up the time I could be spending revisiting old ones.

I’m beginning to wonder if I really love Biola enough for the stress of paying for it to be worth it. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I love about it that’s kept me there this long. I’ve been struggling for four semesters to develop the kinds of friendships I had in high school, and with only three semesters left, I’m nowhere close to accomplishing that.

The doubts I had about Torrey at the beginning of the semester, the questioning whether I really belonged in the program or whether it was really the best place for me to grow, were reinforced by my near-failure at the end of it. I don’t regret things often, but right now, I regret that I didn’t drop out then. I was so very, very close to doing so, and I didn’t, and I think I should have. What did I accomplish by staying? More stress. And I have nothing but a lower GPA to show for it.

So what’s left? The journalism department? I love the professors, but there are more competitive journalism schools that would probably cost me less money.

I don’t know where I ought to place my priorities anymore. I’ve always been caught in the middle of the struggle between reason and emotion, and right now, it seems both sides are losing.

I’m exhausted. I’m at the mercy of the causes of my exhaustion. I don’t know how much more I can bend before I’ll break.

I feel helpless.

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St(res)[s](t)

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