Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts
0 comment Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | what has been inflicted on my sense of self-worth and accomplishment recently.No huge assaults on my sanity or integrity. No terrible failures. Just a sense of scrambling all day to keep on top of the things that need doing, and a sense at the end of the day that I've been spinning my wheels.Then there's the lack of weekends. I spent last weekend gutting and reworking TWO manuscripts albatrosses from my dissertation, and sent them off to coauthors. It felt really good to do that, but now they're back with edits. One has a submission deadline, and the other has competition. Urgh.I didn't want to take time away from post-doc lab to work on that, so I did it over the weekend. And I will do it again this addition to covering some hugely time-intensive experiments for my fantastic undergrad minion who would ordinarily do all of this really hard work himself, but not this weekend because he will be interviewing for medical school admissions. So proud of him.And all week I wrangle my schedule to try and solve this completely unfathomable problem with my BigFuckingDeal Experiment, and still provide adequate (I can't hope for good at the moment) guidance to my minion-in-training. I don't want her to flame out for lack of mentorship from me because she is already well on her way to being another second set of hands on my projects.I am exhausted by all of this, but more than I should be. The weather has finally started to feel like fall (it occurred to me on my walk to work this morning that I could "get away" with wearing actual pants again, instead of shorts), and it is soooo nice. After an interminable summer of rushing from one climate controlled building to the next in order to avoid a heat index well into the 100s, this weather makes me want to play hooky, to run around like a fool in the courtyard outside our building, or to just sit on the deck with a nice Oktoberfest and watch the sun go down.I haven't done any of those things because there is still too much work to do at work. Instead I come in early and leave well after dark, and feel sad and tired and a tiny bit desperate about that. Then I do it again the next day, and the sadness starts to feel cumulative, and I sit at my desk and try to work up the motivation to actually make a dent in this mountain of work that I need to finish, and instead of doing the work, I wallow. Sometimes I feel like crying, and there is no good reason why. Nothing terrible has happened. I have a little too much to do for my comfort at the moment, but this is nothing compared to the stress I was under in grad school and I was able to hold it down most of the time. Now I just feel kind of helpless and useless and like a bit of a burden to other people. I'm sure that will change some when I get this problem with my experiment sorted out, and when I get these albatrosses off of my neck, but in the meantime, it's hard to make progress on those things when I don't even feel all that functional.My mom gets seasonal affective disorder. I have always noticed a change in my mood with a change in seasons, but never to this degree. Perhaps it's heritable.