When I was in college in the 80's, degrees in M.I.S. (Management Information Systems) were all the rage. It was the infancy of computer related degree programs. I did not study this in college. I never studied it at all.
However, I do have a "degree" in MIS.
I have been managing information for my daughter her entire life. She has anxiety and OCD related anxiety. Information has to be managed. Or. Else.
For example: If she hears something that is potentially "scary", we (our entire family) are in for hours, possibly days, of high anxiety, sleepless nights and repetitive questioning about the threat level of this real or "imagined" scary thing.
If you do not have an anxiety disorder or you do not know someone with an anxiety disorder, this is not being grasped for the serious problem it is.
My daughter has many triggers. Most of them involve crime. This is odd because we have never been victims of any crime. We do not really know any crime victims. And yet, her sense of fright when she hears about a crime is monumental. Because of this.....no news for her. If she hears talk of a kidnapping, burglary or carjacking, she goes into orbit. "Is that close to us"? "Could that happen in our neighborhood"? "Are they going to catch the guy"?
Most recently, a local tale of a robbery with one suspect shot and in custody and the other suspect "on the loose", resulted in 4 nights of sleeplessness, two full panic attacks, complete with crying and getting picked up from a spend over, and one week in my bed.
I did not use my degree. I was unable to "manage her information". I failed.
Spoon-feeding my now teen-aged daughter is not always easy. I am constantly trying to manage her information while still helping her cope. I am days away from telling her about an upcoming appointment she has for a diagnostic test. The last time she had this appointment; she went into a complete emotional breakdown and caused an enormous scene at the hospital. It almost hospitalized us both. Her with panic, me with sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, sympathy, empathy and a bit of rage.
I am not looking forward to telling her. But I am still going to have to do it. I will use my degree to its fullest.
I can only begin to imagine how utterly painful it must be to be held hostage by emotions that you do not understand. How painful it has to be to have such a feeling of hyper anxiety that sleep is your enemy. That the repetitive thoughts of fear and dread are so intense that they are paralyzing. As a mother it is almost unbearable to witness. I have found that my skill set for "hugging it out" is a lousy panacea. Thus the degree in MIS.
I need a degree in pharmacology. I could drug us. As if....
I know there is a recipe for coping with this disorder. I know my girl has some of the tools already. The problem is when you are standing in the shit; it's so hard to summon those tools. So it is constantly evolving. Both her tolerance and my level of assistance. I push a bit and she tries to receive my help. But sometimes the voices are too loud and the feelings are too much and we all just break. This is when the valium would be helpful....kidding. Not kidding.
I can guarantee that no degree holder in the MIS field has the skills I have. I am certain not a single MIS grad could manage the kinds of information I am continually juggling. I am not proud of this. It just is. My Management Information System is far more important than "using technology to improve people's lives". The life I am trying to improve is my own daughter's. In turn my family life. It is a big responsibility. I hold it as such.
I hope that one day I won't have to be constantly on high alert for any mention of criminality in my child's presence. One day she can sit through a news program and not be sent into a complete anxiety laden Q&A. One day she will be able to assimilate information about her own medical realities without shutting down and spiraling out of control. One. Day.
Until then, I will use my "degree" for this wage-less pursuit. The goal is to pass on the skill of management. To remove the power from the information. To create a system that allows her to cope with all of it. It is a work in progress. Like all degrees, just because you graduated, doesn't mean you are done learning. Typically, it is only the beginning. My girl and I are 13 years in....I will leave it at that.
BA, Check. MA, Check. PhD, Check.
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