67 Days and 10,000+ Miles

It has been awhile since I have been able to give writing a chance and I wanted to give everyone who might be wondering the reassurance that I am still here and doing okay. A lot of things need to be updated and I figured now was as good of a time as any to stop procrastinating and start updating. I traveled the county, I met hundreds of new people, I battled with the monster living in my head, I learned to live in close proximity with people I hated, and I became closer than ever with my best friend.

This past summer I had the experience of a lifetime traveling the country and working an internship that helped me define what I want to do with my life. I returned home from a summer on the road with an outlook on life unlike anything I ever could have imagined. I learned hundreds of lessons about how music and athleticism effects the mind, soul, and body. Having experienced a firsthand view of the state of schools and education in America I returned home with a rejuvenated view of my major in Music Education and added a minor in business. The additions to my education are ones I hope will ultimately make a difference in the job I am able to obtain post graduation as well  as the impact it will allow me to make on others in my future.

As part of my internship I spent my summer working with some of the most amazing people I have ever met, while also interacting with some of the worst. I was presented with the new challenge of literally living at my workplace and with my sleeping space in close proximity to my colleagues. For 67 consecutive days I had no time off work or away from my job, often never going without 6-8 hours of seeing the same people. I learned to function on not only less sleep, but by sleeping in unconventional locations at strange, and often rotating, hours of the day. I learned what it meant to really be “on call” for a job and I discovered that despite the emense challenges it provided I loved it. I found a place where my Type A personality was both a blessing and a curse as I had to learn to be flexible in relation to everything surrounding not only my job but how I presented myself to others. For three short periods of my summer I was forced to be in close proximity to the one person I dislike more than any other person who I have ever had to encounter in my personal life and was forced to develop short and log term coping mechanisms for their inevitable presence in ways that would minimally effect my ability to do my job. I learned to run a budget, audit spending, supervise students, work under high ranking administrators, present myself in corporate email, interact with high ranking managers on conference calls, and most importantly take care of myself while handling the stress of it all. I wasn’t always successful but I had the best resource of all by my side, my best friend.

As far as work was concerned this past summer I had the time of my life. As far as my head is concerned it was a never ending nightmare. My PTSD kicked in harder than ever and often intermittently. I would wake up in the middle of the night with violent nightmares to which it would often take me 30-45 minutes to calm down enough to sleep. My brain tumor introduced a new symptom in the form of temporary reoccurring spells of amnesia in which I forget everything about myself and those around me.  Likely due to the change in environment my hormones were completely out of control and I found myself overly emotional and crying on a daily basis with no way to contain myself. My migraines reached as low as a 4 on the pain scale and as high as a 10. I experienced a manic episode in which I was determined to be awake at 3am cleaning the lint out of my air mattress with a mechanical pencil.

Though it all I had my best friend by my side helping me keep my health issues separate from my work life and caring for me in the almost daily instances in which I forgot who I (and he) was. I returned home needing help, yet denying that what had been wrong with me over the course of the summer had been anything more than my brain and body experiencing the shock of being in a constantly changing and unfamiliar environment. However as I began the transition back into my normal routine my brain and body did not adjust. As a result I am currently in the process of seeking mental health treatment in pursuit of a diagnosis that will help me rebalance from the hell I have caused not only myself but the people around me, particularly my best friend. I am incredibly fortunate to still have him by my side in a capacity I had never imagined he would reach, yet that I am constantly thankful for. He has not only continued to be my rock, but unintentionally become my caretaker when I was, and still am, unable to take care of myself.


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