Mental Illness Series: Grad School

I’ve been really struggling for almost the past two week maybe. It’s felt like so much longer than that, but I’ve been steadily going downhill with occasional moments of almost manic happiness. I’m getting exhausted and borderline desperate. It’s not fun. Honestly, I’m scared. I no longer know where bottom is going to be. Each main area of my life has its own challenges, so I’m going to try and break them up separately to make it more manageable for me. School is getting so close to the end, it should be smooth sailing. This deep mental valley couldn’t come at a worse time. I’m barely staying on top of my daily work. It’s torture to try and sit and concentrate when I’m falling apart. I went on the fishing trip (more later when it’s a tad more appropriate), and tried to keep up with my homework. I got home though to find that I’d done the wrong reading putting me days behind. I also keep getting notes from my professor that I need to participate more. I’m a little at a loss. I feel like I can’t be involved a whole lot more. It’s already sucking so much of my time, and I’m feeling less and less able to sit and actually do the work, let alone more. I have a paper due this weekend, which I haven’t started yet. It’s kind of like a book review though, so I think it’ll go fast. At least it’s not original though because that I just couldn’t do.

My thesis advisor is not what I hoped for either. He’s been rather unhelpful and brief in his correspondence. I think he’s busy traveling or teaching summer courses because he always sounds preoccupied. He’s been putting me off, but I finally got him to talk to me. Only all I got was “Think up a thesis statement. Then we’ll talk.” Couldn’t he have said that weeks ago? I’ve got a lot of traveling coming up, and I’m unsure how I’m going to get all my research done and submit my outlines on time since I haven’t even started yet. The project is seeming more and more daunting as the weeks are going by. I’m feeling overwhelmed and unprepared to do this. I’m in no state to work double-time to get where I should be right now. In general, I’m disappointed about the whole process. They really talked it up and made it seem like the be it and end all, but I get the impression that my advisor is not taking me seriously and wants to shift my topic away from the idea I was really excited about. That’s not much motivation to get my focus on either.

The sad thing is, this thing that takes over my brain is really making me not care. I have stellar grades (if I can brag a little) so far, but right now I have no desire to finish well. I just want to be alone and self-medicate. Combined with feeling like this is the easiest course, so there is no way I should be in such bad shape with it, I’m just getting buried. I have just over four months and I’ll be able to say I’m Solitary Wind Chime, M.A. I should be able to do that. I don’t want this darkness to ruin all my hard work, but the tasks sitting in front of me seem insurmountable. Every time I sit down to work, I get so upset that I have so much to do that I can’t do anything at all. I can’t do much of anything else either though, so my whole life seems like it’s stacking up in little to do piles around me.

After all this work, I’m looking at the stack of books on my desk and wondering if finishing is worth it. I hate this because it makes six more week of this class feel unbearable and out of reach. This mental crap takes all value out of my life. I feel robbed and cheated out of the pride and happiness from a job well done and a huge accomplishment. Instead I’m just glad that I get to crawl into my hole and be alone. It physically hurts.

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