Mental craziness

This is a long post but if anyone has time to read the whole thing and leave me some words of encouragement about the class failing part, I’d greatly appreciate it. I could really use it right now.

Yeah, so I’m still here. I had a crazy weekend, mentally, in which my mind thought all sorts of crazy things that I knew at heart were untrue but couldn’t help worrying might really be true. Like that Husband doesn’t really love me. How silly is that?

Well, actually, the culmination of things that I experienced and read on Friday and Saturday, combined with some major hormonal unbalance, made this episode of absurdness understandable. On Friday and Saturday I went to a conference on careers in science and technology. I haven’t felt too strongly that I’d like to go into industry, but I went to two panels on industry. While the work sounded interesting, I really got the impression that all of the people in the type of research jobs that I’d be interested in weren’t balancing their jobs with an outside life. The one panel that was most interesting had 5 people, 4 older males and a young Asian woman. The men all had wedding rings and the woman did not. The moderator was a married woman, so I talked to her after the panel. I also spoke to some of the panelists after as well, and I still left feeling like industry, in my field at least, wouldn’t be that different as far as flexibility goes. Still, it might be easier to get back in after part-time than in academia – I don’t know.

Saturday I got to meet Jenny F. Scientist. She was nice, and it was my very first time meeting a blogger friend in real life, so that was cool! Then I went to a panel on academia, and I did learn some interesting stuff there, mainly because they had a panelist from a small liberal arts college who had been in a major R1 university for her PhD, so I was quite interested in hearing her story.

Additionally, I read a book over the weekend: Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers, by Mary Ann Mason. It’s a recent book by the author of the Do Babies Matter? project, and this one looks at women combining parenting and careers in academia, journalism, law, and medicine. It was definitely a good read, and it certainly had stories of women who were happy with the choices they made, but still, it disappointed me to read that the odds are still against getting back on the full-time track you want to be on after having taken part-time or time off to raise your children. Also, those women who had kids and had been successful in their careers all emphasized how important their husband’s support and help had been, and how they couldn’t have done it without them. Although expected, as a feminist it disappointed me to read that as well, because historically so many capable women find themselves with less than supportive men.

Somehow the overwhelming amount of information that seemed to me to be saying I couldn’t really do what I wanted, that sacrifices made in career would be more permanent than I had hoped, was very disappointing. It’s been a stressful semester anyhow, and somehow on Saturday night I was getting to that completely stressed stage where I just had all these crazy thoughts that were completely untrue. I went to sleep and woke up on Sunday and felt a little better, a little more sure that those were untrue, but still very unsure as well. At this point, I really felt like a crazy person – like one part of me was able to tell myself “no, flicka mawa, that’s ridiculous and completely untrue” and the other part of me was just so effective at beating me down, making me believe in the crazy thoughts, that I felt sad and worried and scared all day. Since Sunday, the ratio of reasonable thoughts to crazy ones has steadily increased, until I felt back to normal again yesterday. And believe me, it was such a relief to have my normal thoughts back! To again feel confident that I am in an amazing marriage and that Husband loves me and that no matter what else, I’ll always have him and my marriage to help me through.

University and Depression part III, or: How my 3rd semester is (not) working out

So some of you may have seen my post, University and depression part I: the undergrad years. I have not yet written part II, which is going to be all about my first year of graduate school on the Masters/PhD track, up to and including failing the quals. Well, logically then, part III would include my 2nd year and beyond, and since I wrote a post about how things are (not) working out right now, I thought I may as well have it be part III of the series.

So yeah. Two words. “Not Working.” That’s about what I think about how my grad school life is going right now. Ok, maybe that’s drastic. But I’m just…not into…doing the classes. I mean like, really… not managing to even go to them all the time. Or put a full effort into the homework. At this point, I’m really just concerned with doing well enough in them to pass, but I’m not even that confident that I am. I’m feeling a bit like I did in some of my classes as an undergrad – sleeping through class begets not turning in homework on time begets being embarrassed to talk to the TA and professor which leads to more of the same.

It would be hard to imagine why I’d stay in school for another four years, but I see a very immediate end to this business with the classes. The rest of my work as a grad student is going fine – in fact, better than fine. I think I’m really in a great place to get where I want to go in my research and my (hopeful) career in academia. I’m a second year student, which at my school means the final semester of my master’s work before I go on to residence units and full-time research. This past summer was full-time research, and I got started and made progress on a lot of projects. My adviser was happy with the work we got done. The paper that we wrote together was published in print in September. All of these things have combined to make me really happy about doing my various research projects, so at this point I really think things will be better when I reach next semester, with my master’s in hand. But I have to actually get there somehow, and I am still completely unable to get into the classes. On top of that, I’m seeing now that I’ll be getting sick more because I’m working with the baby and toddler all the time, and I have a fairly weak immune system, so I’m even more tired and drowsy all the time. I’m sure I can make it through this, but right now, I’m barely getting up the motivation to go to class and do my homework, and it’s hard.

Deep sigh.