When I look back, the last six months have sort of been a blur. I graduated (with an incomplete dissertation), we moved, we adopted another dog, we traveled. Somewhere in there I started a new job and had two miscarriages, along with a lot of invasive fertility testing. Sometimes I think that all of the craziness is no excuse for where I am academically, spiritually, emotionally. Other times I look at it and think, 'hey, you know what? I have survived all of those things and it's okay that I let my work slide'. Today, I don't know where I come down on the issue. 

I have let things really slide this semester with respect to my own work. I have a good handle on my students' work right now, but I am incredibly far behind on where I wanted to be with my dissertation at this point. I expected to have finished my revisions and submitted it by now, though I haven't done enough to get there because it has been such an overwhelming process. I have let my general depression and my depression about infertility get the best of me. I'm disappointed in myself. I worry that my dissertation committee hates me or is fed up with me. I worry that I'm not doing well enough at work to keep my job next semester, let alone next year. I worry that I'm not doing enough for my church service or for myself spiritually. Of course, I have exactly zero indication that any of these things are true.

When my parents were here this month, my mom helped me accomplish a bajillion little tasks that I had let pile up while wallowing in misery. I have thought about that a lot. Where is the balance between grieving losses or experiencing a certain amount of anguish and moving on?

Perhaps the fact that I'm writing this post indicates that I'm ready to move onward and upward. I hope?


Zannah said...

I am so, so sorry. Speaking as one who has been in similar situations (and recently started the merry-go-round of finding an effective anti-depressants), I know how easy it is to look at all of the things you've let go and feel even worse. Except that you *haven't* let everything go.

I'm willing to bet that you still shower on a semi-regular basis, and none of the Hass-Barks have been starving, and while you may not love everything about the semester, keeping up on your teaching? On your students' work? SHOWING UP AT ALL? That is straight-up success.

All of those fertility drugs and things-up-your-hooha (which: seriously? do you have to do a transvaginal ultrasound EVERY OTHER DAY? It's like they just think I have interesting ovaries, and they gotta see what they're gonna do next!) make your body hurt and tired and addle your brain. Being pregnant means hormones, miscarriages mean hormones, and topping that off with grief is utterly miserable. I *know* you know this, but I want you to look at the fact that you haven't been fired, that your hubs still thinks you're at least sort-of pleasant to be around, and realize that even if all you did was keep your job and not alienate your husband you've succeeded. Except that you've done SO MUCH MORE. Most people (fortunately) will never understand the insane ups and downs of fertility treatment -- handling that with any kind of grace at ALL is amazing, so dealing with that plus hopes that are temporarily dashed means that you're downright super-human.

I'm sorry for the term paper I just wrote, and I know you're not looking for sympathy, but I want you to know that someone gets it, and thinks you've got serious grit to be doing so well. Because you are.

(Also, thank you for being willing to share this; knowing that I'm not alone really helps.)

Sarah said...

I'm sorry. I know those overwhelming thoughts and feelings all too well. I'm so impressed with all that you have accomplished since your big move to the Midwest. But I know it's so hard to give yourself a break, too. Sending hugs and prayers your way.

Cathryn said...

When I have felt bad for letting so many things slide lately, I think, "You know what, I am THIS close to a nervous breakdown. I am holding on to the end of the rope and that's all I can do or think about."

Give yourself a break, and remember, your hormones are out of wack right now.

Elizabeth said...

Hang in there Maria! You're made of good stuff, I love you!