A status update

Monday, October 19, 2020 Permalink

It’s been a while between non-bookish posts and I hope to get back into more so thought I’d start with a bit of a status update. Anyone following me on social media will know I’ve been struggling with overwhelm these past few months.

It’s something I feel guilty about when many others have been grappling with far bigger issues. For me it’s been a combination of things.

a status update

Always learning

I’ve already mentioned I enrolled in a Masters of Arts (Writing and Literature) mid semester. I enjoyed learning and (for the most part) was interested in what I was learning – unlike my undergraduate degree or MBA – but I’m soooo not an academic sort of person.

I’ve been doing okay but it’s really made me second guess my writing. I’ve lost confidence and kinda lost my voice. I knew to expect it, but there’s an element of academic / literary snobbery I find interesting as I know so many writers without any writing qualifications who write beautifully.

It has however, exposed me to types of writing that I’ve otherwise avoided reading: personal essays and creative non-fiction for example. In many ways they should sit within my writing comfort zone. Well… if it hadn’t been shot out of the water.

Anyhoo, I’m unsure about continuing. I’ve discovered I can’t get government support to study full-time so I need to be convinced it’ll help me and any potential career in some way and I’m not sure that’s the case.

From the heart

I haven’t said much here, or on my Facebook page, so you’ll really only know any detail if you follow me on Twitter (I vent there more than any other medium); I’ve been having some heart-related issues and discovered (having taken myself to the emergency department back in May this year) I was in permanent/persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). I went into hospital for a ‘shock’ treatment (cardioversion) in late July – it sounds scary but is no big deal, just a shock to stop and restart your heart in the hope it comes back into normal rhythm. Mine did, but was back in AF by the time I got back to my hometown later that week.

As a result I moved onto the next step which was a cardiac ablation. Again, no big deal, they go in using a catheter via the groin to pop things in your heart. I’m not exactly sure what and know I should learn / understand but for reasons I do not know I prefer to remain ignorant when it comes to health-stuff. (I still don’t know the correct term for my third auto-immune disease a dozen years after diagnosis!)

My ablation (a week or two ago) was a tad complicated I gather and I had to be shocked six times to be able to do the operation. I didn’t feel great initially and had a couple of unintentional side effects but I’m hoping this does the trick.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been trying a range of medication to slow my heart rate and moderate the rhythm and it’s screwed with me a bit. I’ve been really really tired. I felt like I could barely walk a few metres without puffing at one point. And my exercise class instructor commented on my constant yawning and blue lips. And my weight has increased in fits and starts.

On that note, I want to be a bit healthier. The combination of the study stress and uncertainty about stuff in general has meant I’ve been particularly unhealthy over the last few months, though I did start the (over 50s) exercise classes. *yay me*

Where to next?

I need to make some decisions in the next few weeks regarding my study. Whether I not continue at all, just do a Graduate Diploma, or keep plugging away at the Masters. I hate that it’s fucked with my head and my confidence, but on the other hand it gave me a sense of purpose.

And… of course there’s the ongoing issue of unemployment.

I’ve been AWOL for a while, what have I missed? 

** Linking up with Denyse for the first time in yonks **

23 Comments
  • eatingasapathtoyoga
    October 19, 2020

    I’m so sorry you are going through this, Deborah. I”m glad you updated.

    • Debbish
      October 19, 2020

      It’s funny, initially I just felt weird about it. You know… cos – compared to some people’s health issues, it’s not a big deal. But then the other day someone commented on something and then I realised that I’d not really said anything at all here or on my Debbish or personal FB page about what was happening. xx

  • Laurie
    October 19, 2020

    I think a lot of us (including me) have been struggling lately, especially since the pandemic. So sorry to read that you are feeling overwhelmed. I hope writing regularly helps with your struggle. Always enjoy reading your updates.

    • Debbish
      October 19, 2020

      Yes Laurie, I think the timing was terrible in terms of losing confidence about my writing because of my study, at a time I really needed to write about my feelings. I even struggled to get book reviews done for a while there.

  • leannelc
    October 19, 2020

    Hi Deb – well that certainly was enough to make anyone take pause! Heart issues can really mess with your head, I had a friend who had a mild heart attack in her 40’s and it really rocked her world and made her quite fragile and aware of her mortality for a long time. I hope you manage to get on top of things and sort out whether the study is taking you in the direction you want to go (to make all the effort worthwhile). I’m still treading water as nothing pops into my head that’s worth investing all my time and energy into – I’m learning to be okay with that and seeing whether something new comes along, or whether this slower life is my new forever plan.

    • Debbish
      October 19, 2020

      I was very glib about it for ages. My aunt and I share a hairdresser and my hairdresser commented on the fact my aunt was worried I wasn’t taking my AF seriously. (My aunt has AF as well.) My mum has heart issues. Both of her parents died in their 60s. My dad had a heart transplant and his mother died at 52 of a heart attack. My age. So… my family history isn’t great.

      I did become a bit fatalistic for a while and guess I still feel a little like that. (Wondering if I’m gonna get to access my superannuation or not make it to that!)

      The study stuff feels random. I’m accustomed to being able to write freely here and in assignments etc I’m confused when I’m supposed to cite / quote someone or able to think for myself / know things without reference. I commented recently (in an assignment) on ‘rural noir’ in Australian crime fiction and had a comment from the person who marked it suggesting I should cite where that came from. I was like…. “Doesn’t everyone call it rural noir?”

  • midlifestylist
    October 19, 2020

    Going through heart related stuff is a huge deal. No wonder you’re feeling under par. I had a year of cardiac tests and procedures during my 40s and had a few complications along the way. I needed CPR after one angio because my heart stopped for 6 minutes. I imagine cardioversion would knock you around in a similar way. I hope they sort out what medications you need to be on.
    With regards to the Arts Degree – my son had the same problem with it. He’s an excellent writer but while he was doing that course his tutors gave him so much negativity that he eventually quit. He re-enrolled in a communications degree that was the right fit for him. He did as many subjects related to writing as he could – all the journalism ones, creative writing etc. He’s now working as a content writer which is a great career for him. Depending on the uni or course, it might be the same, and the critique of your writing may feel like a blow to your creativity. Good luck with it – the first year is often the hardest of any degree.
    Regards Christina

    • Debbish
      October 19, 2020

      Thanks Christina. I think writing is such a subjective thing. I know I love books / writing that others don’t enjoy and vice versa. I certainly read some work shared in discussion forums that hadn’t impressed me but impressed others including teaching staff, so…..

  • Debbie
    October 19, 2020

    Oh boy, you’ve really been through the wringer lately!! I hope you can get to the bottom of things health wise and start feeling better. I heard something on a podcast recently that resonated with me – we shouldn’t feel bad for what we’re feeling just because others are going through worse. We’re still going through it and if it is impacting on us we need to accept that and not downplay it. I wish I could find the exact bit so you have no started me searching for it!! Anyway it’s nice to see you back here at Denyse’s.

    Take care from one Deb to another. Things are happening in my life too that I might get around to writing about one day but it’s too raw yet!

    PS. Also I love following you on Goodreads and seeing your reviews, you always give great insights. I’m reading Trust now based on what you wrote and I’m enjoying it immensely.

    • Debbish
      October 20, 2020

      Oh glad you’re enjoying Trust Deb. Have you read his two previous novels? I think his first (Scrublands) is still my favourite.

      • Debbie
        October 20, 2020

        Yes I have read them both and thought they were great. I’m half way through Trust and am enjoying it. I agree with you, Scrublands was a great read.

      • Debbie
        October 22, 2020

        Yes I read and enjoyed them both.

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    October 19, 2020

    No wonder you’ve been struggling – you’ve had a lot to deal with. Firstly, I don’t think one person’s struggles are more valid than anyone else’s, it’s all relative so you should never apologise. Sorry you’ve had so much on your plate – I always think you should go with your gut. I’ve walked away from 2 courses (not university) which were expensive and time consuming. I lost money and my pride but I regained my mojo – only you can decide if it’s something that real worth pursuing and that you really want to pursue. Those ticker issues sound a bit yukky but pleased you’re getting the treatment you need and hope you start to feel the benefits soon. Well, anyone would think I was doing a writing course with this lengthy screed, What I really wanted to say is, take care!

    • Debbish
      October 20, 2020

      Yes I’m really torn about the course Sam. It does (of course) occur to me that there may be other options – short courses and online courses (not formal ones) I could do that would be more suitable. I was able to defer my Uni fees however, so will need to think about cost. Alas…

  • Natalie
    October 20, 2020

    Going through heart/ health issues is stressful. I hope you get the right medical care to help you feel better soon. Also all the best with sorting out what to do with your MA studies. No need to feel guilty if your heart tells you the program is not the right fit at this point in time. #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      October 20, 2020

      Thanks Natalie. Had to chuckle at the last sentence and reference to heart in a non-literal way. 😉

  • Debra Hurst
    October 20, 2020

    Going through health issues can be stressful and taxing. You’re doing the right thing by getting all taken care of the best you can. As far as your self confidence going down the more you study, I went through the same thing and I knew my writing was good. My problem has always been with getting started and getting all of my scribbles organized. Just from reading your reviews I believe you’re doing just fine. Don’t let “higher education” steal your joy.

    • Debbish
      October 20, 2020

      Thanks Debra. I’ve had the conversation with my mother quite a bit as I think she was horrified how stressed I was re my study. Nothing felt like it was good enough or ‘right’. I prevaricated a lot re topics for essays and then second-guessed myself endlessly. They became mammoth tasks that I probably did more poorly than I would have if I’d stressed about them less!

  • Jo
    October 20, 2020

    Tbh it’s no wonder that you’re, well, wondering. There’s been a lot going on and I imagine the course would be challenging you in different ways. I can also understand how your voice (which is strong) can get lost underneath. Take care & I’m going to nag you about continuing your over 50 exercise classes!

    • Debbish
      October 20, 2020

      Please feel free to nag. I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic Sunday before the Monday class and looking for an excuse not to go. I wasn’t exactly sure when I was allowed to ‘lift heavy objects’ again… “About a week,” the doctor had said so almost decided against going yesterday, but just didn’t take my weights with me. And of course I was relieved I went despite the sense of doom hanging over me the day before.

  • Denyse Whelan
    October 22, 2020

    It has been very hard for me reading your SM updates…because I care about you! However, I did stop commenting when I finally worked out you were venting rather than asking for advice. However, now I am here…Deb: your heart health is really and truly important!! You know that, of course, but stop with the UNDER estimating its effects on your physically and emotionally. OK, that is enough from me. I have always enjoyed your writing and anyone who can write a book review is a winner in my mind. Yes, there is a great deal of snobbery in academia. I don’t get into any of that , however doing my two degrees part time did add to my writing skills in my education field. I got that from the study!

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt is 43/51 Inside 26.10.2020. Hope to see you there. Denyse. Yes, Deb, more linking up! I liked seeing you there.

    • Debbish
      October 23, 2020

      Ha yes Denyse I had a conversation with a friend yesterday. Talking about how I’d use Twitter to share stuff I don’t share on my FB pages – where people know me more personally – if that makes sense. I used to put that sort of stuff on FB but mostly stopped. Things, I said to my friend, I would probably just tell someone if I lived with another person to get something off my chest…. but of course living alone means one tends to vent / put stuff online. (Although my FB messenger does get a good workout!)

  • Jennifer Jones
    October 26, 2020

    Hi Deb good to have you back. I’m sure I’d have collapsed in a heap by now if I’d had the challenges of thrown at me, that you’ve had. I hope your health issues get sorted and you’re feeling back to your usual self again #lifethisweek

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