Yes, I’m studying. While still taking the lorazepam. As proven by blog posts, I can still think coherently enough to write, what I can’t do is process the information in the textbook. I’ve already discussed studying (here, here and here) and, after so many years, I thought I had found a way to study that worked for me and for my mental illness. I studied when my brain initially broke and my world fell apart, I studied with the side effects of starting medication, I studied while so mentally ill K had to stay with himself, I studied as I withdrew from the medication (discussed here), I studied when the subject matter was hugely triggering. Throughout all that, I have studied. It became a mission for me to prove the people who thought I couldn’t study for a degree with a mental illness wrong. Each assignment completed, each qualification awarded, was my way of proving mental illness doesn’t equal stupidity.
This time, I am doing things differently. I am, in effect, working backwards. My essay plan is done, my introduction written. But I haven’t read any of the materials yet. I have based my essay plan solely on the titles of the chapters I need to use – one on population growth, one on industrialisation, one on urbanisation – and my scant knowledge of Hurricane Katrina which, from a brief flick through the book, is notable by it’s absence despite appearing in the essay question. My introduction, all 200 words of it – 10% of the word count as recommended – is based on my essay plan and an ability to signpost effectively. I have no facts, no theories, no names. I have read nothing and made no notes.
And yet, through the lorazepam pea-souper, it makes sense to me to do it this way. To make the materials fit my essay rather than the other way round. And it’s social science, so long as I back my argument up with evidence I cannot get it wrong. Hopefully. I will have something to submit by next Monday, even if it is incomplete and possibly backwards. Anything is better than nothing, and nothing is exactly what I thought I would have.
Tomorrow I meet with my CPN so I can finally discuss what has been happening. There is a light at the end of the mental health tunnel I have been stumbling blindly through. And I can still say that my mental illness hasn’t stopped me studying, albeit in an unconventional way.