I dont actualy recall how time was so mucked up today (yesterday). The day began with the usual lack of motivation to rise, despite a respite on the positive axis on Sunday. I didn't even rush to turn on the computer. I did check my emails and not having found the response I had expected from my current book editor, was as if someone had removed the plug and all the air was being sucked out and I was deflating. And what do I do when I am feeling like crap? I do a koad of washing... gee that sure motivates a person...NOT. Coming back into my study I realised that I have noy doen what I promised myse;f upon leaving hospital. I have not decluttered my desk space or created an 'inspiration wall' in front of me. The excuse as usual no spare cash. What for I hear you ask? Well how about a large hopper outside for trash, a tin of paint and a few new plastic boxes large enough to take A4 lever arch files. Add to my shopping list a wall of square pigeon holes and shelves behind me to move my actual hard copy articles and work from my Post Grad studies, let alone my much desired shopping spree to the wonderful storage solution stores for colourful archive boxes, pencil cups,stationery organisers etc... Ah simple dreams, no designer dresses for me at present.
Feeling decidely poverty stricken (unable to afford a double shot soy latte at Coast should I have somehow been able to summon up the energy to walk there) I began to notice all the cobwebs and dust having gathered during my time away. This simply made me feel even more of a failure and a slattern, hence no productive work mood at all.
Money.. yep solution to all problems (please just let me try it for once). On the emails was the latest update for the ASAL (Association for the Study of Australian Literature) July Conference at UNSW. There was the offer of relatively cheap accommodation that needed to be booked already. Well I am expected to be attending given I am the PostGrad rep for the organisation. I always look forward to this Conference.
Thought I should check out the closing dates for papers.. yep you guessed it whilst I was in total meltdown and new hospital admission. There goes that one. Bugger I really wanted to present a good postgrad paper in my last (hopefully) year. Damn, so much for the $1000 prize. Not even in the running.
Desperately turned to Beyond Blue to see if their grants were listed (as I had been previously advised... it's still April after all). No sign of anything remotely encouraging. My Oxford paper is looking decidedly unlikely at this stage. I noticed on the site a link to a Swinburne Opinio survey on Depression, anxiety, eating disorders and obsessive compulsivity. I thought at least I could fill it out and help my research colleagues.
Answering the questions was exhausting, like a full-on new patient interview. I was also very aware of how answers are validated by being phrased differently throughout the survey as a check on earlier responses, and I became quite anxious that my answers differed on the same questions in the different sections and my responses would invalidate my survey. This ridiculous level of anxiety and dare i say it, obsession drained any last vestiges of energy I could muster. How tiring to constantly revisit one's attitudes to self, relationships, parents attiudes and interactions, together with honesty about self-esteem, self-image and percieved character flaws. Also how confonting to even tick boxes anonymously online when not trying to deceive oneself or the researchers. I am definitely feeling like a basket case today after that little activity.
I noticed how when whipper snipping began (again) outside I felt anxious and a need to draw the curtains and hide from view. Every car, every dog bark made my nerves jangle. Even the sunlight when checking the washing was too bright and my hands began trembling (even more than usual). If I had had a box of chocolates, or tub of ice-cream it would have been demolished. Again I was equating food with emotional comfort.
Back to the emails... try to work. Get mind focused. There was THE email. My much anticipated praise for Sunday's new take on the book chapter again 'off the mark'. I re-read my earlier ideas (one way of the mark and one of some merit I suppose). Why does the editor think I can write this material? I am so rusty and so out of the loop. The whole of 2009 seems a lifetime away and everything has changed. My writing seemd very outdated now in 2010. An O/S publisher would surely agree with my sentiments on this... It's all getting too hard again.
Next came the complete exhausted collapse even when I had promised myself a relaxing regenerative 'nanna nap'. I only just woke before my son arrived home from TAFE and was able to put on the 'normal' mask for a few hours, Now everyone is in bed except me. I can't turn off my brain. I have tried guided relaxation tapes, lavender essential oils, a warm shower, 3MBS, PBS and Classic FM. No good. Reading is definitely out as I cannot concentrate or recall sentences recently read. I just want to walk along the ocean beach listening to the waves crashing on the rocks but am too frightened to even contemplate this alone. Nor can I summon the energy to drive to the front beach and just enjoy the moonlight and occasional ship passing in the channel.
And if all of this seems an over-reaction, there are many contributing fators to this state at present. My problem is, as Glenice and I often joke, that LIFE interrupts the smooth progress of PhD studies sometimes. I would love to lay out all the factors here but there are events and issues in life that one is not free to write about or record in blogs. They are other people's stories, trials and tribulations and not mine to share (or plum for self-justifications). Friends who know me well will understand what I am speaking of and those who know me a bit less will undersyamd if I say it is yet another crisis to be surmounted. There are also those who note (quite rightly) that my life has more dramatic plot twists than any episode of Neighbours. Life is definitely stranger than fiction and one person can live through everything I have encountered and endured through my adult life.
Suffice to say, I need yoga tomorrow. And thank you Mark for your phone call wishing me well and expressing your concern. It was very much appreciated. I must remember when things are blackest, I really am a glass half-full person. Every day I have been lucky to have had reassuring texts, emails and calls from friends and colleagues. I am truly blessed and not journeying alone... You would think sleep may come more easily now that I have 'downloaded' my brain's RAM?