Friday, July 6, 2012

Madame Shitpickles is NOT Happy.

Somewhere in my decision to get a doctorate in psychology, I sort of forgot that psychology is, at its core, a science. And I'm not, at heart, a scientist. I'm an introverted, emotional, feelings-oriented writer/artist/general right-brainer. While the study of pharmacolgy and physiology will be interesting to me, the study of molecular genetics, DNA strands, and the chemicals that fuel our bodies isn't terribly intriguing to me. If all I had to do in order to become a psychologist/therapist was work on learning to practically and professionally counsel people in need or crisis, I'd be sailing smoothly, as I'm chock full of practical knowledge and advice. I know the ins and outs of the various types of psychotherapy because I have been IN therapy for so long, using many different approaches. I know about Freud, Beck, Jung, Fromm...

Maybe my aspiration was lofty at best. I'm not sure. Got Test #3 back today, and I got a C on a curved test, which means, without the curve, I probably would've gotten a D. That damn multiple choice nonsense. The next test will be on major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and eating disorders. For all practical purposes, I should theoretically excel at these particular subjects, as they are the predominant illnesses from which I suffer, even more so than anxiety disorder, which was on the last test, that is so closely related, it's frightening. Nit picky crap driving me more insane.

Historically, me + science = disaster. Me + writing/music/arts = sheer bliss. I've talked about it with Best Male Friend (who thinks I should follow my bliss and concentrate on what makes the largest impression on my intellect and heart). Guy Friend, when I mentioned chucking psychology in favor of getting a PhD in English-Writing, poo poo'd me, citing I'd never get a job/make any money doing that.

In talking it over with Pastor Dave, he impressed upon me that your vocation isn't a measure of your "wealth." You do what God called you to do. I said that God made me insane and left me here on Earth for one of two reasons: a) to provide therapy for the insane or b) enrich and teach the future generation of would-be-insane people using my creative gifts.

Pastor Dave survived (but Googled, no fair) my litmus test of intellectual coolness by answering the following questions: 1) In what year did Chaucer die? 2) Do you know who Syd Barrett is? 3) Have you read any Nabokov and 4) How about Tolstoy? (I highly doubt Guy Friend would pass. Best Male Friend has a better chance, but hasn't yet been tested. It was mostly in jest, but these are all things that have made an impression on me at various points in my life.

My Pastor said it's not really an accurate barometer of your success in life if all you see are dollar signs in yours or other people's eyes, which is presently where a lot of people rest these days. I'd be content to earn enough money to support Luke and myself, have our own place, and pay our bills. You don't enter either psychology or a PhD in writing under the auspice of being "wealthy." Society, collectively, on the other hand, would prefer I obtain credentials that will translate into a high-paying job in as little time as I possibly can. Well, who wouldn't want that? Pastor Dave said he's got enough money to put bread on his table, he loves what he does, and this important fact: work should never BE work. It should be something that you're excited to do every day.

God did indeed bestow upon me artistic gifts--writing, music, etc. And I'm wondering if God's showing me this is in what I perceive as a dismal outcome of my study of Abnormal Psychology. Consistently, the harder I studied for each exam, the worse I did, as the weekly exams press on. I kind of NEED an A to get into the graduate/PsyD programs at any of the schools to which I'm applying. A C isn't going to cut the mustard. I'm increasingly aggravated and frustrated with my performance, and yes, I will visit the center at school for the learning disabled, though I've NEVER been diagnosed as having a disability when it came to academics. I do have the option of taking Test #4 at home, with the book, but the highest grade the professor will hand out is a B, which fine, if it has to be this way But an exam is ALL about disorders I have, one would think I'd have the capacity to master the material. I'm, thus, pragmatically and realistically optimistic, albeit cautiously.

As I mentioned in the last blog, I think I'd make a very good collegiate English professor. I can write and teach haiku, sonnets, logopoeia, neologisms, non-fiction or journalistic pieces, you name it. I still can't believe I remembered Bill Wyman's article in the Chicago Reader like 18 years ago, about a somewhat obscure 70's one-hit wonder, which must have certainly impressed me, that I mentioned in my last blog. (I love the key change in that song too, Bill.)

Isn't that a perfect pop song? I certainly think so. My friend Robbie feels the same way. Good ol' Edison Lighthouse. 

It's insanely difficult to manage the mood swings (like entering into a depressive episode) when faced with poor performance, and very high expectations of oneself. I *know* I'm really smart. It's just not translating well on the exams, because I do have a handle on the material and the disorders. The prof's multiple choice questions so frequently could go from one direction to another, I get miserably confused. On this last exam, I had one page in which I got 2 out of 20 questions correct. That's NOT good. I left school very frustrated and feeling down today. Much of it *could* be contributed to the leap from a hypomanic state that lasted the first 2 weeks of school. Part of it's school, and part of it's being frustrated over Guy Friend, who called me today in the middle of my afternoon nap.

Guy Friend sympathized with my struggle, but I'm afraid he didn't understand it at all. (Frequently, it's like he hears me but doesn't listen to me, you know?) When you're like him and you graduate college, you go to medical school, study your ass off and work forever hours, tirelessly, to become an MD, after which you make a ton of dough. He thought the idea of me channeling my artistic gifts into writing with a PhD, intimating that he strongly thought that was a poor idea, as there was no money to be made in it (unless you become a tenured professor and have worked for several years). If I had to spend the next 5 years writing in order to gain a respectable, useful set of letters after my name, I'm hip. But the science that goes into psychology's going to flop me every time. It's just how I roll.

He offered some alternative studying approaches, like mnemonic devices (which don't help me at all) or attributing every topic at length to the tune of any song. (Also a ridiculous strategy.). 

What impresses me and sticks in my mind the most? Poems, song lyrics, quotes, Russian literature, and music criticism from when I was a young woman. Instead of becoming a purveyor of totally inconsequential knowledge, who says I can't make a living from this? I have reasonable confidence in being able to land a gig somewhere on this mortal coil not involving bagging groceries. Some of my happiest and most satisfying work experience memories are from when I substitute taught at MY old high school, where I'd frequently work in the English department and the writing lab, though I don't want to teach at the high school level and my teaching certificate is long-expired anyway. Hell, even when I was writing press releases and industry magazine articles when I worked for the company who made the Oscars back in the late 90's, I was at least WRITING. Out of all the coursework  I did as an undergrad, no matter what was happening in my life, my writing courses were a source of joy (*except for fiction writing, which I honestly wasn't very good at). 

Guy Friend was dissing Neil Diamond again today, which I texted Best Male Friend details of and how uncool it was. His knee jerk response? "That guy is really pissing me off." You couldn't dissect and discredit Neil Diamond if you tried. Feeling hostile towards Guy Friend, I told him I didn't see his AARP-card-carrying old ass out there shaking what his mama gave him to a crowd of 20,000 people like Neil does. Once he mentioned Neil "having had a successful taxidermy", I was losing my temper. Best Male Friend wanted to remind him that Diamond just married a woman 30 years his junior, so he must be doing SOMETHING right in his 70's.

Best Male Friend said, "Why do you love this guy?" and I answered, "I'm not entirely sure. He's challenging."   (Both of which are true. I love Guy Friend for a number of reasons, some conscious and some subconscious, though I didn't feel like talking about all of them with Best Male Friend, who's already deeply jealous.) BMF: "But he won't even kiss you! That's fucked up, NOT that I WANT him kissing you." That segued into mention of the spectacular dream I had about kissing Guy Friend, yet told BMF that Guy Friend was really....Catholic. He replied, "Aren't you glad that I'm an atheist?" Given all the fun we've had together, Best Male Friend, I'd gladly burn in hell for eternity. All of my friends are like "Pick Best Male Friend and forget about Guy Friend," as if I even *get* a choice. The whole fucking situation is moot.

This is, if Guy Friend texted me more regularly, what I imagine a conversation might go like, mind you, this IS NOT from my phone: 

Guy Friend, for once, didn't ask me any pressing questions about what Best Male Friend's been up to this week, because he already knows what he did earlier this week. Instead, he told me that he's going to Galena, IL this weekend with his wife, his sister and brother-in-law. (Translation? A trip to SNOOZEVILLE.) He was more interested in what Pastor Dave's been up to lately, so I told him he's living the bachelor life for a few weeks while his family is down in Texas visiting family, which I'm sure raised Guy Friend's eyebrows, because he has this inaccurate schema in his head that something's going on with ANY guy I'm friends with, methinks. (Puhleeze.)

It's kind of too hot to golf, which is bourgeois and boring anyway, and in Galena, there's literally one main thoroughfare up and down to walk, only 2 good restaurants, and I don't recall there being a movie theater. I told Guy Friend that Chris and I went there a couple of years ago for the weekend, and were so bored, we drove to Davenport, IA, and went gambling on a seedy riverboat casino. At least Chris, who I think played a round of golf or did SOMETHING else, sent me to the spa at our resort for the afternoon, which I don't think Guy Friend was doing for his wife. Unless you're into antiquing, it's a really, really boring place to go for the weekend, but in line with the rest of Quaint Proper Folks' idea of fun. I wasn't feeling snippy enough to encourage his wife vicariously living out her deepest Guy Friend fantasies (which I doubt she has anymore in the first place) by reading Fifty Shades of Gray if she found herself bored this weekend, which is all the rage, which, because it's all the rage, I would never read. Hopefully, he won't think about me while he's trying to drive. Of course, there's a song about that: 


Boy, was therapy with Luke TAXING last night. Today's his last day of the gifted program, after which he'll get a week off, then he's team-leading at our church's vacation Bible school, then he's going to work camp through church for a week to perform manual labor at the homes of the less fortunate, which'll man him up some and force him into getting to bed and arising early, something his dad and I have had an impossible time enforcing with him.

Luke's still fixated on people and things being "crazy" and his therapist told me that perhaps Luke doesn't *need* to know everything that's wrong with his mother, though Luke gets concerned about me when I'm depressed. I learned he's been consuming WAY too much caffeine at Craig's house, which I don't allow him to have at all at my house. The boy frequently calls his father an idiot. (I have it comparatively MUCH easier.) Bottom line? Boy Wonder behaves himself at my house and is a holy terror at Craig's. Whew!

I have to visit the unemployment office today, oh joy of joys, to re-apply for extended benefits. What a stone drag, but a necessary evil. Why yes, I've filled out my form of the exhaustive list of places I've looked for work in the last few months. 

Apart from that, anyone's arguments with me today are INVALID, because it's NEIL DIAMOND DAY and I'm going to have a FABULOUS time tonight. END OF STORY.

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