Taking a breath

Basic Physics: my best friend
The Most Basic of Basic Physics: My Best Friend

Sometimes I think I forget how to breathe. Classes start again in two weeks and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I suppose I’m excited because I’m almost ready to transfer from my Junior College (a whole other set of anxieties) but I’m very disturbed at my previous semesters. I suppose A’s and B’s and one C isn’t something most people freak out about but I’m a definite perfectionist. Getting a “C”? Are you kidding me? That’s an F. That’s what it is, I’m sorry. I hate being average; I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I have this insatiable need to rise to the top and I have this insatiable need to guarantee my place in one of my choice private universities.

I probably sound snobby or whatever. I just know how much potential I have, I know what I can achieve, and I know the mental obstacles I need to overcome in order to reach that full potential. I broke last semester. No, physics broke me. I love the subject (fun fact: my career path would have been in theoretical physics had I not found psychology) but that professor was incompetent. He started off the first class awesome with a cool power point presentation about reality or some shit, and a nice “ice breaker” activity with “partners” which went well. I actually talked to one guy who was a University student picking up some credits. I could tell he was smart and my plan was to leech onto him and steal his smart essence. We didn’t need a textbook, so we didn’t need to spend more money. I was loving it.

The professor said a lot of words that meant nothing. Literally, nothing. He assigned homework on topics he never covered. We did one problem in class (sometimes we didn’t even finish) and that was supposed to be enough guidance for the fifteen problem homework assignments. In the lab we got into groups and I got royally fucked. I’m sure my partners were nice people but they made my social incompetence look like gold shit on a silver platter. The one chick who was about six feet tall spoke very quietly and did calculations very quickly in her head. The other guy stuttered heavily (probably why he chose not to talk) and was a math major (I knew I was fucked) and also calculated things in his head. When I asked for clarifications they answered me like I already knew the answer. In other words, they didn’t explain jack shit. They left me to roll on the floor in my inadequacies. The professor didn’t explain shit either! He’s like oh, hey class, goodmorning, listen to the oldies i’m playing over the speaker; here are your materials to do some weird shit *makes it rain with motion detectors and conduits* so hurry up and do it so I don’t have to teach.

I could have dealt with all that, honestly. But the PLC (Physics Learning Center) weekly assignments were the last dagger in my back that took me down. The space was about two prison cells wide by two prison cells long. There were three tables, the largest reserved for computer science. I’m a person who can’t handle a lot of conversation. When people are talking all around me I automatically assume 1) they’re talking about me, 2) they’re talking shit about me 3) the shit they’re talking about me is making them laugh 4) they’re all watching me. All the noise just sounds meshed together and I can’t hear myself think. I once tipped my bag over by accident and my heart thumped so loud in my ears I couldn’t pick it up. I figured the five strangers at my table and the twenty strangers behind me all laughed at how stupid I’d been to knock it over. They knew what I thought and they also thought that was stupid. I couldn’t even write on the paper in front of me because I was paralyzed.

PLC attendance was not optional, it was mandatory. You can’t pass the class without them. Now, I could have walked up to my weird ass professor (assuming I could talk to him, which I couldn’t) and said hey, bro, you know, the PLC’s just aren’t jiving with me; you see, I’m crazy and I’m pretty sure everyone up there thinks I’m a freak so, hey, cut me some slack. But he’d just laugh in my face because he isn’t there to hold your hand. No one is. If you need help, you’re responsible for making sure you get it. If you can’t talk to people . . . well, sucks for you.

I was so stressed out panic attacks woke me from my sleep two or three times a night. I was scared to close my eyes. Depression reared it’s ugly head the more I realized how unfit I was to hang with “the big dogs”. One of my attacks had me up until five in the morning and I slept the remainder of the day only to wake up that night with the realization I had my first calculus test of the semester the following day. Needless to say I got a D. Now that pissed me off. I’m relatively good at math, in fact I enjoy it. But I didn’t study enough, I couldn’t focus. I dropped the shit out of physics and no matter how many A’s I got on my quizzes and homework or how many B’s and a C I got on the tests couldn’t bring my Calc grade up. The C in that class plummeted my GPA and I’ve spent my summer rolling in self pity, self loathing, and anger. How the fuck do I let myself get this bad? That was my first C in my two and half years of college. It’s disgusting.

And you know, Crisis Intervention (who I seem to talk to relatively often now) keep telling me to talk to student health services but I don’t have goddamn test anxiety people. I’m not depressed over a relationship. Health services is like the salvation army of mental health care for students; they’ll give you some shit to get you through this moment but they don’t have the tools to help you pick yourself up. Honestly, if I told them how I really feel they’d probably label me a suicide risk, call the damn authorities, and make me miss a week of school I couldn’t afford to miss. Their resources are information about other resources, all of which require medical insurance and/or money up the ass, neither of which I have.

How am I supposed to make an appointment with them anyway? When I can’t talk to people? Is it that hard to understand?

I need those classes. I need social skills. I need coping skills. I need confidence, not this petty arrogance I substitute for it. I need my life back together. The longer I fight for it, the worse I seem to do.

All this is making me anxious. I should stop thinking about it. I’m going to go run over some hookers in Grand Theft Auto 5.