my recurring problem

04Jun09

Since this is an academic blog in theory, I should say a little about how I’ve been progressing on my dissertation. Except that progress has been quite slow, mainly (though not solely) because I still haven’t figured out a way to avoid allowing my recurring and crippling bouts of intense loneliness to lead to complete work paralysis. These bouts stem from a really unfortunate series of events my parents set into motion with little thought to how their actions would affect me. It’s also about the way I’ve handled said events, which hasn’t been great, but I did the best I could under some pretty difficult circumstances. So the consequences of muddling through (with none of the support that families and partners often provide) is that every now and then it all overwhelms me and I’m incapable of doing any kind of work. This isn’t good.

[And yes, I see somebody about these issues when I’m in residence at my university.]

What concerns me most is the idea of having an academic career (or any career, for that matter) with the knowledge that several times a year I’m incapable of doing any work. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself that “real historians” work obsessively and daily and so I wonder whether I’m really cut out to be an historian. I may or may not be but what I do know is that in my own way, I do belong in the field.  When I’m in the groove, I’m in it. I have historical questions I want answered, I have ideas about teaching history and about teaching my field specifically, I have future projects kicking around in my brain, I enjoy writing. But when I check out, I could be unproductive for months.

I have no real solution to this dilemma. For the foreseeable future, these depressive moments are going to be part of my life. They come on suddenly and can be sparked by almost anything. And I can’t force myself out of them either; even if I could, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Suppressing sadness, grief, and anger is part of what got me in this mess to begin with. And so I’m stuck.

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3 Responses to “my recurring problem”

  1. I’m so sorry…if we lived near each other we could hang out! I don’t know what to say other than just take one day at a time. You’ll get through this.

  2. I’m sorry you’re having a tough time. I don’t really have any good advice, but having suffered one serious bout of depression in my life, I understand how debilitating it is. I hope you can find some ways to be kind to yourself and that you get back in the groove soon.

  3. 3 thefrogprincess

    THE, one of these days I’m sure we’ll be at the same AHA…we’ll have to hang out then!!


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