Motivation vs Guilt

Welp, you know you’re having a bad day when you don’t even want to binge-watch your favourite TV shows.

Turns out, texting my beloved friends and family to say “I feel awful and I can’t muster up the energy to do anything” results in phone calls with conversations that make me feel better. Who knew?!

I spent more than two hours in bed this morning after I woke up and it wasn’t the fun kind of staying in bed where you’re glued to the pages of your current novel, but the bad kind of staying in bed where you stare at the wall thinking “I should get up”. “I ought to get dressed.” “I need to take my meds”. “It’s a lovely day outside, I could go for a walk” – “But that involves getting up, and putting on clothes, and eating food, and going outside”.

I didn’t even want to read my latest Terry Pratchett novel. I read a few pages and then was completely underwhelmed with disinterest.

I didn’t want to play the piano. I didn’t want to bake a cake. I didn’t want to go outside. Hell, I didn’t even want to blog, even though writing down my feelings and my thoughts makes me feel better, every time. I got as far as the opening sentence above, and gave up.

Does that all sound like a depressed mood to you? It does to me.

It was only when Dad responded to my text with a phone call that I started to put it together in my mind. I think I was crying within about a minute of being on the phone. :-S

Turns out I really, really don’t want to search for jobs or prep for my viva.

But I also feel so guilty for not doing either of those things as they both desperately need doing.

The job search will be on-going until such time as I find full-time employment, preferably as a Medical Writer. The Viva is six weeks away so it’s plenty of time but only if I actually do the work/reading as I go along. Neither are actually insurmountable tasks but they rather feel like they are.

In my little bout of tears, I realised I am sick of having to do things I hate. Not the kind of tedious things you have to do as a functional adult i.e. pay bills on time and procure food/shelter, but the things that would be optional extras if I hadn’t set upon a course I have regreted almost since the moment I started it.

The me of the present moment would not do the PhD again, neither for love nor money, if offered the chance to have her time over. But the me that set out on the PhD ordeal would make the same choice because it was the best choice I had at the time, based on the knowledge and experience I then possessed. And some good things came from being in the places I have been. I wouldn’t have discovered kink, I wouldn’t have explored my bisexual identity in quite the same way. I probably wouldn’t have discovered the feminist blogosphere, or mental health advocacy. I would probably still be with the shitty-for-me ex-boyfriend from the Steel City, disatisfied but not knowing why. Hell, I could be unhappily married to him with kids by now! *dodges bullet*

I could do without the knock to my self-esteem the PhD caused. I could do without the (what I suspect to be chronic) depression that I think has plagued me all the way through the PhD. But given the history of depression and other things on my Dad’s side of the family*, who’s to say I would have escaped that anyway? Genetic predisposition is a bitch.

Oh well.

Anyway, what I was trying to say was that it’s not much longer til the next bit is over. Six weeks is not that long, not after everything else I’ve pushed through.

What I also meant to say is that this morning’s miserable mood was preceeded by nearly a week of guilt for not doing the Things I Am Supposed To Be Doing. Marathoning Sleepy Hollow and The 100 is great and all, and I love those shows, but doing it to numb out the feelings of guilt and shame is not the ideal way to handle that situation. Shut it out and ignore the painful thing is my default response, and while I know it doesn’t help 9 times out of 10, working on changing it is still beyond difficult.

The other tangentially relevant thing was that I’ve increased my citalopram dose to 40mg, and I’ve been on this dose for 8 days, preceded by 4 days at 30mg, because ramping straight up isn’t the best approach. This was after going to the GP, saying “I don’t feel depressed any more! But I’m still so anxious I’ve been having daily meltdowns/hysterics for over a fortnight.” I think the higher dose is helping but as you probably know, it’s not an overnight thing, and you have to do stuff yourself to help you manage it better. Yay. The irony that I felt as shit as I did today is not lost on me.

One fin at a time, me dear!

One fin at a time, me dear!

*family gatherings are an interesting affair. Learning that your aunt has lived with mental health problems that were treated with medication and seeing that your uncle is displaying OCD type behaviours, and had other things going on in the past, makes you realise it’s not just you and your Dad, but his siblings too, and possibly his Mum and other distant relatives! Hurrah for Not Talking About Things!


7 thoughts on “Motivation vs Guilt

  1. Sometimes life just gets us wound up in knots and it’s the unraveling that relieves us, but for some reason we try to avoid it at times.

    I hope your day goes much better šŸ™‚

  2. Dori has it right. šŸ™‚ And it’s true, isn’t it, how good things sneak in even in the midst of something large and unpleasant (which may or may not be called graduate school). I feel much the same as you — The me of today wouldn’t make the same choice as the me of several years ago. But, I had a really great set of office-mates during that time, as did my spouse, and I adopted a really amazing dog and learned to like winter, and winter sports…

    Anyway, enjoy your muffins! Chocolate chip, yummm….

    • Isn’t it just? Hard to see them sometimes, and other times you’re not sure if the good outweighs the bad but there’s nothing you can do about it either way so you might as well be thankful for what you can.

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