>Still here, but a little scattered and dysfunctional

>Sorry for not having posted in over a week. Bullock and I have both been in one of those states where you find yourself having a hard time motivating to work or do much of anything, but you feel too guilty not to work or get other things accomplished, and so then you deprive yourself of the things you think distract you from the work and household tasks — like the internet — but you *still* don’t get anything done because the root problem is something other than having things distract you. And so then you feel worse because you still aren’t getting back in the swing of things, but you’re also not giving yourself your usual leisure activities.

You know what I mean? It’s bad enough when you live by yourself and it happens, but when it’s two of you going through the same vicious cycle, the other person’s presence and guilt — usually vocalized, at least in both our cases — just makes you more anxious about your own guilt cycle.


Bullock is now trying to snap himself out of it by working in his shop. I am blogging the problem. And then I’m going to clean my wreck of an office to feel like I’ve accomplished *something* this week.

I know it’s Sunday, btw. But I didn’t work on Tuesday because I’d had a bout of insomnia the night before, so I’m making myself make up the lost time. Except that I’m not getting much done. This is f’ed up, isn’t it? I should cut myself some slack, right? But I’m all stressed out about the fact that I have all of the following due in July and August:

  • A conference paper
  • MS research in the UK that I have to accomplish in a timely manner (which means being really, really prepared to do it)
  • An article (drafted, but needs much work)
  • A book review
  • A PhD defense
  • An MA defense
  • Countless little grad-director tasks

And school starts again at the end of August! And June is almost over! Ack! Ack!

You can feel the anxiety oozing from this post, can’t you? God, even my personal life feels like an untackled to-do list right now. What do I need to calm the frak down and get back in the swing of things? Chamomile tea? A 10-mile run? (Yeah, like I’m in shape for that right now — another source of anxiety is the fact that in the last 6 months I’ve run as many miles as I used to run in a single week!) A short-break holiday?

And is this somehow related to post-tenure depression? Does Bullock’s similar state have something to do with the fact that he’s got a year’s sabbatical in front of him?

All advice and anecdotes welcome!

5 thoughts on “>Still here, but a little scattered and dysfunctional

  1. >This could definitely be a post-tenure funk – I’ve heard that it’s much like the post-dissertation submission funk, which I certainly had! I, too, am freaked out about how quickly June has departed – no real words of wisdom, just a quick comment to say hang in there and it’ll get better soon!I’m sure of it…And by the way, cleaning up the office has always made me feel tons better!

  2. >Well, if it’s any help, what I think when I read this is not, “Geez, Virago is such a schlumpf!” but, “Geez, that sounds hard. And thank god a Real Live Professional feels this way sometimes. I guess I’m not a total failure!”One of the strange things about the academy, which probably comes of its not being bounded by a neat 9-to-5 sort of demarcation of “work time,” is that its professionals tend to expect of themselves and of each other a constant, ceaseless stream of productivity. Academics take very little real time off. They also don’t have the luxury of letting time slip by on someone else’s clock, in an office scenario where an unproductive week will go largely unnoticed, especially if it’s made up by a super-productive spurt the following week. Our natural rhythms can’t sustain constant work. Usually, if I go into slump mode, the best thing I can do is stop exacerbating it by increasing my anxiety about everything I’m not getting done. I take a day not to even try to work, a day of genuine relaxation, rather than unproductive anxiousness. It usually helps.Cleaning is also awesome. And, you know. The occasional pat on the back. “Hey, I have frakking tenure!!!!” is now something that you get to say whenever you want. Live it up. You’ll be back on your game in no time.

  3. >Ummm. Just saying I can related.I’ve just had several pretty non-productive weeks, for which there is somewhat of a reason but really no excuse. I’ve been mostly letting it go, reminding myself that it’s not a big deal in the big picture of productivity (it’s not, right?).Good luck getting back on track!

  4. >Can I just say me too? I had promised myself to get a book proposal done by the end of June, and let’s just say that I’d be surprised if it happens. Granted, my semester ended at the VERY END of May, so maybe I can feel good about my work…if I try real, real hard…..So, uh, chin up!

Add to the Discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s