In the Thick of it

Allow me to pickup by saying:

Life has utterly worn me into the ground in the past two years.

I graduated school, got my degree and moved on to post-college career jobs. I’ve had three of those, all involving animal husbandry as my primary function. One was working for a fish lab at the University of Michigan. The part time, second job was taking care of cockroaches for a neuroscience company. This all took place in the beautiful city of Ann Arbor, MI. I was living a good life, though my animal projects mostly stagnated. I met many beautiful men and dated often and casually while taking in the surroundings. There was never a lack of things to do or places to check out. I drank it in. Then, in January of 2018 (nearly a year ago), I found out my primary job was being cut at the university. This sent me spiraling, desperate to find the next thing and cling to it. I could never stand to be unemployed, this I knew. I needed job security. So, when the job I applied to on a whim came calling, I became conflicted. I had two job offers by March, one with a saltwater fish wholesale business in Lansing, MI, the other with a fish lab at the Harvard Medical School (the whim). I had no savings to speak of, so I knew the move to Boston would be brutal, if not impossible. The cost of living and moving my zoo drew an immediate stress response in me. I finally settled on the “safe” option, out of necessity. I had no idea how much this would flip my world upside down.

Tonight, I am typing on a refurbished laptop after months of missing my charger, being broke beyond words and finally getting a friend to fix the cracked screen. I’ve felt the need to write on a therapeutic level for months, but have been unable until now. So here I am, writing. The truth is, I’ve felt the depths of a dark depression creeping in ever since taking on the “safe” job. I cried in my car for weeks starting out, feeling unable to perform. My anxiety-induced eating issues cropped up. I flat-out left work one day after having heart palpitations after a month of damn near starvation. I was 95 lbs on that day and I hit what I thought was rock bottom. Gone were the days of setting my own schedule and calmly going about my business surrounded by fish in a basement science lab. I longed for that, but I didn’t lose my job in academia by any sense of fairness. I got screwed over, simply put. No communication. I lost a game of musical job chairs I didn’t even know I was taking part in. I was promoted and forced to put in my two weeks in all of a month’s time that wretched new year. Then I had to move back to Lansing, after moving my zoo a year and half prior. With 60 fish tanks, 50 reptiles, a cat and many more exotics and supplies, I always have my work cut out for me. It is only now, in November of 2018, that I am with all my animals under one roof again. It was been eight months of spreading myself thin, sometimes driving to Pinckney, MI three times a week from Lansing and back just to make sure my animals didn’t starve while I tried moving them first to Lansing, then to Charlotte with my father. I didn’t see an end in sight for months. Six months, to be exact. I had to wait for my sister to move out to take my place in Charlotte (my hometown) with my father. It is my only option at this time, and I’m thankful for it even if aspects of it depress me profoundly.

I’ve started therapy. I’m back on my meds (well, some of them). I’ve got a relationship which has in its own way altered my life forever. I’ve yet to determine if this is positive change or not. Even on “good” days, I’ve been unable to shake the feeling that my body is just in a state of decay and my life in a state of defeat. I feel this even now, as I type with a roof over my head and a basement full of wondrous creatures. In the thick of it, I think to myself…

Where do I go from here?

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