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29 January 2011 @ 02:00 pm
Hello harder times.

Yesterday had some really adorable moments. It started in lecture when Irene caught my attention and inquired, with humour and authenticity, "Kiwi, what is your trick to waking up so happy?" I felt a little like Abner the Contented Little Pussycat (bookywook). The day ended with my falling asleep on my dissertation some time before 11 (how seldom!) and my housemate Roberts turning my light out and closing my door, which is heart-warming.

In-between was...difficult.

I was doing fine, puttering around at home, when Claire-the-dissertation-partner wrote on my Facebook wall about meeting with Nick. She has a new Nickline (deadline from Nick-the-supervisor) for 10 days from now for a 'draft of the entirety,' which she swears she won't meet. She mentioned that he had possibly tried to get in contact with me so it might be good to drop him a line.

I checked my email and, lo and behold, there was an email from him on Tuesday...only it was using the same title, so on this dratted new email system it didn't come up as 'new' the way the other ones did, it just looks like an old message that jumped up in queue. And I'm not known for checking that email too carefully, so I didn't notice. There were also other emails about electronic hand-in of the dissertations, and how we should have a copy of each section in within two weeks before the deadline so our supervisors could read them. I responded back to Nick's email with an apology and told him that the 1st of February is one of my self-assigned deadlines for having some writing done, and would he like to meet after Wednesday?

I hit send. I sat and stared. And then, quite suddenly, I simply couldn't breathe. I cried and, for some reason I couldn't identify, paced around my room. I recalled the feeling and realised I was precariously close to a panic attack. I remembered sophomore year of high school, asking my chemistry teacher if I could go sit out in the hall; I remembered crying and not breathing and tearing my brain apart as my 'mean' maths teacher approached and got down on her bad old knees to hug me; I remembered the door to my classroom opening and hoping it was my arch-nemesis-the-jock on her 7th trip to the loo but found it was my chemistry teacher and then she was hugging me too. I remembered many of the panic attacks following that one, through high school into university. A little voice in my head was screaming from somewhere far away "REACH OUT REACH OUT REACH OUT."

I fumbled around my room, crying into various objects (robes are very comfortable crying objects) and at last had the sense to find my phone. It took me ages, but I managed to get the darned thing to call Claire. I'm not sure what I said, but I remember asking if she was 'available' and if she'd want to work together on our projects. She realised what a state I was in and said she would be right over, after she stuffed all her belongings in a bag and found some chocolate. (She's a keeper. Really truly.)

To distract myself and work on my breathing, I hoovered and cleaned up. Hugged my teddy bear. Claire showed up and I was finally okay. We giggled about Nick and his perpetually monotone, dry sense of speech and humour; his unrealistic but softly-stated expectations and how we strive to meet them; his (not too inaccurate) idea that we are both completely bonkers. She had Google-whatever-it-is speak German at her to note down the sounds and I worked out a more accurate outline, which I sent to Nick. We smiled and considered how people underestimate children and their capacity to think like little adults. We made plans to get together for Monday, too, for more work and play.

When she left I was more okay. She left me with plenty of books since she was off to pick up her boyfriend for the weekend and knew she wouldn't be working on her dissertation. I started taking more notes from one of mine and taking occasional breaks, watching shows throughout. That's when I fell asleep.

The fear is still here, though. It's frustrating because I was doing so okay, but I think a lot of it was that delicate state of denial. I'm beginning to remember this all and how it goes. Trying to encourage the understanding that even if I ended up in the worst-case scenario (which logically I won't), things would all still be fine, even with a few added bumps for character. I'll be fine I'll be fine I'll be fine. I can do this I can do this I can do this.

I'm still scared senseless of nearly everything right now. I'm spooked by anything. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath every minute. But I'm still here, I didn't go off the deep end and I was proactive in dealing with my situation. I have to acknowledge that it isn't my fault - there is no blame - for stumbling back into near-panic, but that I should be proud for dealing with it correctly and not diving straight in as I once would have. I'm learning.

I can't believe it's been only five years since all of this started. But then, at that time it all had stronger reasoning: a dying hip is more distressing than a dissertation, no matter how similar the words are. But the mind-cycles were formed, and here I am, trying to work my way out of them still.

I'm just a little delicate for the moment.


Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
[Rachel Carson]
Current Mood: crappyCrappy.
minervas_eule: MHiU hugminervas_eule on January 29th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
I so admire you for tackling this in such a way! I totally failed at finishing my dissertation *sigh*, it is still on my computer, 2/3 done, all the experiments, results, but not "discussion"... and there really is no excuse except that I could not muster the discipline to work at it *damn*. So be rightfully proud of yourself, having come this far you can do the rest of the way as well...
Kiwi Crocus: Emotion || Free hug ♥.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Your icon comforted me immediately, just to let you know! ♥

Thank you for the admiration, although I'm not sure I deserve it! I only have a quarter of mine done so far and am just trying to plug along with the research so I can write more of it soon. Instead of doing a lab-based project like all my other friends in the sciences, I'm doing a literature-based dissertation...such a strange choice for me!

You have so much of it done, though! Do you think you'll ever finish it someday, just to say you did?

I haven't been very good at mustering the discipline to work on mine...mainly because I am so incredibly frightened of it. This is the first weekend in a while that I've been able to touch anything to do with it without crying. I feel incredibly weak in my dealings with the dissertation!

Thank you, I will try my hardest to make it the rest of the way there. I have so much in my brain right now maybe in the end it'll feel good to finally get it down on paper.
Nickiperoxidepirate on January 30th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)
You're still here. You can do this. Keep right on breathing.
Kiwi Crocus: Emotion || Balance.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Thank you thank you thank you. ♥
(Deleted comment)
Kiwi Crocus: Emotion || Free hug ♥.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Thank you! ♥ It was difficult, and I often am not successful with reaching out when I'm in that state, so I'm glad that I managed to. Hugs hugs hugs! Thank you, I'm certainly trying! Thank you for being so supportive!
101mutts101mutts on January 31st, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
Claire sounds awesome! Great that you could reach out and get through it.

You know, my dog trainer friend, has a service dog for sensory overload moments, not quite the same but the symptoms sound similar. Let me know if you want me to teach a dog to take on comforting and phone retrieving duties.

Is your new picture above the Rachel Carson quote of Liquidambar styraciflua by any chance? I get Watson starting Tuesday!
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Into the woods.cranky__crocus on January 31st, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
Claire is definitely awesome.

I think I have definitely heard of service dogs like that. And while that would be fun in a sense, I wouldn't then learn how to deal with the situations on my own, so it's probably best I keep to myself. (:

I'm not sure about the picture; it wasn't mentioned. Perhaps it is good ol' Liguidambar.