This afternoon was going well, until I saw the email. Yesterday I cheered by an email from my professor, who said he wanted me to stay in his class despite my absence Tuesday night and that I was “intelligent and insightful”. Today, however, I check my email and discover an email from the Director of my program,saying that “I want to ask that you make your Tuesday evening class…your top priority (aside from self-care and your family). That is, so that you can finish this course, please do everything you can to be rested and ready for Tuesday evenings…For the next six weeks, please really try to focus in and finish the work for this course.”
Some background here: At the beginning of the semester I was getting terrible migraines (because I needed bifocals, as it turned out) and missed several classes, which is a huge deal in my program–classes only meet once a week, for three hours. I was asked to consider a medical leave, which is was, but then a couple of days later I discovered at my eye exam that my need for bifocals was causing my migraines. So I decided to stay in the class, and my prof and the Director agreed, as long as a gave him (the Director) a signed statement saying that I will make the class a top priority and not miss any more classes. Which I did. Then I get an email repeating almost verbatim what he said before. After I was so sick I had a fever of 101, hideous chills and sweats, etc., and I still showed up for class.
He did reiterate in his note that the faculty support me in finishing my degree, and that he knew I was a good student. But most of the letter seemed to imply that when I had problems finishing classes before–because of migraines, fibromyalgia, neck surgery, and a couple of nasty depression relapses–it was because I wasn’t focusing enough. Wasn’t trying hard enough. I have always really liked him, and I am feeling a bit…crushed, that he seems to think I’ve been slacking off in the past.
Sometimes, I wish people knew how much courage it takes to get up in the morning, knowing I’m going to be in pain all day. And I realize I may be projecting some of my insecurities on to this email. I do feel insecure a a good share of the time: if I just tried harder, couldn’t I beat this thing? (Well, things, in my case.)
I need more spoons.
However, one of my favorite authors did come to my rescue:
One of the most beautiful ways for spiritual formation to take place is to let your insecurity lead you to the Lord. Natural hypersensitivity can become an asset; it makes you aware of your need to be with people as it allows you to be more willing to look at their needs (Henri Nouwen)
I could do with a little less hypersensitivity these days, though. It’s hard, as right at the moment I’m in the midst of a fibromyalgia flare and feeling very fragile thanks to my depression and PTSD. Now I have to figure out how to hand my insecurities and doubts about myself over to God. And my therapist.
Does anyone else out there feel fragile, like the least little thing will make you break? Or that if you just pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, as the saying goes, that you could be well?
Edit:I may have spoken too soon–at the end of the letter he tells me how glad he is I am in the Program. But this is still a good lesson on how deep my insecurities run.