Michael — I feel defeated and broken with you, and all the more so because I had no Internet this weekend and couldn’t respond at your hardest moment. Although we are very different on paper, we are so similar in so many ways. I could have written your post over 20 years ago, there are days I could write it now. I won’t go into tons of detail because you have so many responses to read, but I felt your pain, I gave up writing to have a job and a family, and it was like living with a giant hole through my middle until I found words again this year. I should be looking for a new job now, but here I sit still writing. Some of us can’t stop writing, and you are clearly one of us.
So maybe you write less till you get your degree, maybe you give something else up, I don’t know; seeing a professional as Tre suggested is not a bad idea. DO get sleep, it makes everything easier. And in the meantime, please don’t worry about whether you’re a writer, how good you are, how many readers you might have. You Are good; but more importantly if you live for words, then you simply must continue to write for your sanity and all the rest will follow.
I am thinking about you and rooting for you. Since you already have so much good advice here, I simply wrote you a poem, called Words; read it for what it’s worth, and Please take care of yourself!