Meltdown in T-30 Seconds

Okay, so I’m exaggerating slightly.  However, I am having a small panic attack at the thought of going to a “Welcome Potluck!” that starts in 40 minutes.

Surprisingly, this panic attack has absolutely nothing to do with the food.  I’m totally cool on that account.  People have posted what they’re bringing on the event page on Facebook to ensure that nobody brings the same thing.  Handy, right?  So now I can get some idea with what food I’m faced with before I go.  

The panic is directly related to the fact that I am going to have to be around people.  People I don’t know.  People who don’t know me, save for what they’ve seen on my Facebook (which is basically, “Hey!  I’m a nut job!  I have an eating disorder!”).  I left graduate orientation this afternoon shaking after having spent an hour with 250 of my closest friends.  I was literally shaking as I walked down the stairs.

I tried to go to the library and check out a book for class so I could begin reading and was immediately confused by the library layout.  I walked in and tried to log onto a computer and couldn’t. So I got up and left the library barely 2 minutes after I walked in, sure that people were looking at me as if I were the biggest idiot in the world.  (That cognitive distortion is called “mind reading,” y’all.)  I followed the sign that said “stairs” and still never.found.the.stairs.  But I didn’t want to turn around and look like a fool in front of the one girl who was sitting in the atrium and not paying attention to me at all.

So I continued on to my car, probably looking something like a Parkinson’s patient with all the shaking I was doing.  I got to my car and opened it and immediately downed a milligram of klonopin — which my psychiatrist said “should put me to sleep,” but in fact has done absolutely nothing to reduce my anxiety over the past 30 minutes.

I highlighted the section about the Office of Disability Services as we were in orientation, wondering if my vast array of diagnoses ought to be declared should anything happen during the semester.  However, this level of anxiety is, in fact, limiting my ability to function and thus — I probably ought to ask for some help with that.  (I should also probably find a new psychiatrist who will prescribe me medications that actually have some effect.) 

So, yeah.  How far do I go in asking for accommodations?  What are “reasonable accommodations” when you’re anorexic, bipolar, generally anxious and could, at any moment, lose your shit?  Or maybe I’ll keep it all together nicely by using my new coping skills.  (Blogging is one of them, BTW.)  The point is, I DON’T KNOW WHAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN THIS SEMESTER.

But if today is any indication, treatment didn’t CURE ME OMG! — it just helped me to be able to deal with it.  And what if dealing with it looks like asking for help?



6 thoughts on “Meltdown in T-30 Seconds

  1. Jess,
    When I attempted college again (long story- turned out not to be for me for reasons unrelated to my eating disorder) I registered with the disability office. They offered to let advocate for me with teachers if they needed to, let me be a bit flexible with attendance in case I had days where I needed to take care of myself, take tests in their office if I felt like it would be important and a just a place to go if I needed somewhere to relax and regroup (they had rooms just for this). It’s defiantly worth checking out. You may never need their services but it would be good for you and them to know they are there. So proud of you girly and I am 100% confident in you.

  2. The great thing about the Disability Office at my campus was they actually had a whole bunch of ideas about what might be useful to me! It’s fine to ask for help, even if you don’t know what things would help, or what is even possible in the way of accommodations. Skilled staff will likely have some ideas about the kinds of things that might help.

    Good luck with grad school!

  3. I’m with Kate and Jemma. I think there is nothing wrong asking for help. They may have some great ideas you can incorporate into your self-care or they can just be on standby. And if it is any consolation, I’m not sure I’d have asked for guidance at the library either. Silly embarrassment. ;)

  4. Hey. I read your blog but you don’t know me. Just wondering why you’d want to kind of advertise your ED on FB to all your new classmates? I’m not saying you should be ashamed, but why make that the first thing that everyone knows about you first thing?

    • Thanks for the question — the thing is, as a paid writer for, part of my job description includes using social media to increase my readership. So this means that I pretty much have to “advertise” it. The bonus is that it really challenges the idea that I have something to be ashamed of (which I think all the time) and works towards breaking mental health stigma.

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