Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Warning: Self-Indulgent Rant below

So I just called my doctor about getting back on Zoloft for a while. Specifically, until I'm done with my damn degree. Because, y'all: I have been FREAKING OUT about this whole thing. My three primary emotions about my dissertation are fear, anger, and resentment. Fear that I can't do it, can't complete it after all this time, fear that it will take too much out of me and I'll be an empty shell, fear that I just suck too much or don't care enough or lack the necessary skills/gumption/wherewithal to get the fucker done. And I'm not talking casual kind of "oh, dear" fear: I'm talking TERRIFIED. Like, sitting in front of my computer with my pulse racing, hoping and praying for ANYTHING to come up that I have to attend to so I don't have to try and write. And forget about calls or emails with my advisor - those both send me practically into myocardial-infarction land.

That is not a functional state of mind, y'all.

And the anger, the anger is so consuming. Why didn't I wait for a while between my MA and PhD to make sure this was the degree I wanted? Why didn't I finish the dissertation during the YEAR back in 2000 when I had an extremely light teaching load and specific release time to write? (I went on Prozac that year, because of the stress.) Why didn't I finish it before I got pregnant? Or before I had a kid? OR AT ANY OF THE MULTIPLE TIMES WHEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH EASIER??!!

Or there's the resentment: I resent the time and energy this takes away from my family, I resent that I'm making all this effort for a degree that won't actually prepare me for the kind of job I ultimately want to get, I resent that I *knowingly* chose an advisor with an extremely hands-off style, because I'm macho like that, and couldn't admit to myself back then that I need a much more interventionist kind of advising. I resent being in a position where I have to accept all these huge favors from friends and family to help me get it done - not that there's any doubt the offers are made sincerely and unconditionally, but I HATE being in a position where I need those offers! I resent that this whole process stresses me out to the point that I have to go on prescription anti-crazy meds, simply to function at an every-day level. And wear a mouth-guard when I sleep at night so I don't grind my teeth down to splintered stubbs. I RESENT.

It's funny how sitting in front of one's computer and mentally chanting "I HATE this" over and over again doesn't exactly produce a flowing literary style. Or much of anything, really, except the occasional fantasy of throwing said computer out one's second-story window. So, you know, enough already. I mean, at some point it doesn't matter that I picked the wrong degree or had multiple chances to finish earlier or that my advisor hasn't been as supportive as I might have hoped. None of that is important. What's important is, am I going to fish or cut bait? Shit or get off the pot? And I've decided that I'm going to fish. Or shit, whichever. (Hopefully the former is a more apt metaphor for the final product.) So, yeah, OK, it's not on the top ten list of things I'd like to be doing this year. But fuck it. I decided to do it; I'm doing it. There is no "try," motherfuckers.