The last two weeks I’ve felt like I was on a boat. A really nice, fancy boat in the middle of the ocean – and I’ve looked down at my feet and realized there’s water halfway up to my ankles.
I haven’t felt horrified, or panicked, or like I’m going to have a nervous breakdown – I’ve just felt quietly alarmed. Although I believe the captain probably has it under control, I have taken a sudden academic interest in whether we have enough lifeboats on-board for all the passengers.
See, I’ve been studying a lot. Not the worst thing in the world – I like the material. But I’m beginning to get a picture of how bad things could theoretically get.
For example, I left class early today. I was being short with a friend and taking things too personally – and I guess it’s my philosophy that if I start acting like a toddler, I have to treat myself like one and just put myself in time-out.
So I’m in my room, trying to recharge and relax – and it’s better. But the underlying problem’s still there, somewhere.
It’s weird, because I have so many good things going for me in school right now: I’m actually caught up – I’m ahead in psych, I trust myself with antibiotics (in a classroom, case-based way) when almost no one else does right now. I’m ahead, relative to other people. This is as good as it’s gonna get.
But if I’m being honest? I still feel behind. And I’m disturbed by that. I’m caught up and I’m stressed. It’s not a “whoa there, go to student health right now” level of stress – but it’s like, even after the immuno final, even after getting caught up – the water in the boat is still there. It subsided a little, true:
… but I was sort of hoping it would be gone.
I’ve always been great at stress management. But objectively, I have to admit something isn’t working right now. I have cellulitis. I have canker sores. I have my 2nd ever headache. For crying out loud, I couldn’t move my neck last week. My immune system has left the building.
It’s like I’m the cliched opening example for a cliched women’s magazine article – “Pay Attention To Your Body: Simple Ways to Solve Stress” where they spend three pages gushing about tactics like “try relaxing with this luxurious $750 bubble bath whilst playing New Age music.“
I’m so used to making fun of those suggestions that I don’t even know where to start with taking one seriously.
But if I’m being totally honest here, I don’t think “not taking care of myself” is really the problem. I think the problem might be “having abnormally high expectations” (this semester is clinically relevant material! So I SHALL LEARN IT ALL) and falling just short of them, again and again.
If I was falling way short of my goals, I’d admit they’re unrealistic. But I don’t see that yet. If I want a 90, I get an 80. An 85, I get an 80. I am so sick of 80s.
I am consistently falling just short enough that each time, it doesn’t bother me much – but put it all together, and it means I need to re-evaluate my definition of “good enough” – but I don’t want to define it as being ‘meh, okay, but not going to remember things in the long term’ – which is where I felt I was last semester.
I want to define it as ‘being a total bad-ass.’
… Maybe I should buy some expensive bubble bath and New Age music.