Oct 8, 2013

Calm before the storm

This week is the beginning of the end. I'm on my final assignment, and then onto exam study. In 2.5 weeks, I'll have my degree. And it feels like this:

As if I'm about to cop a barrage of "life".

That might sound weird. I should be nothing but proud and happy, but there's an element of fear there. For the past 3-4 years, things have had a purpose. They haven't been easy, but I've known what I'm doing with my life. I've worked fairly cruisy hours, made ends meet, saw friends when I could, tried to meet potential new partners, studied. The main focus was study. I knew where I was going in these past few years. In this moment, I have no idea what my path will be next year. Knowing that the things I do in the next 2.5 weeks will decide that path is quite overwhelming at times. There's almost an underlying urge to self-sabotage out of anxiety. I've been getting straight HDs, if I do well in exams, I'm smart enough to have earned a place forward into honours - and no matter what, if I get through that, I can practice as a psychologist and ultimately actually become a psychologist. But what if I'm not good enough? What if I get there and change my mind? What if I never get the time to find a relationship, because my priority is to study and work on my career? As stupid as it is, it almost seems easier to deliberately throw things, so I don't have to feel discouraged by what my true result might be if I work really hard. And on top of that, I'm exhausted. I've worked solidly for MONTHS. Before that, I was really, really sick. I even ended up in hospital and on steroids trying to control asthma attacks and a secondary infection. Before that, I was falling for yet another waste-of-time individual, which caused me nothing but distress and loss of precious study time and healing time from previous emotional damage in the end. I'm still trying to get past that.

I have so much going through my head, and a lot of it leads to a battle between procrastinating for the above reasons, and trying hard to keep focus because I want to achieve and beat all of the "what ifs" in my head. I wonder how common this feeling is? I should feel happy about my amazing marks, but I feel as if the more I prove myself, the more pressure there is to perform and keep achieving. I've been the smart kid so long that I feel isolated by it. Maybe I just want to be normal? Maybe I don't want to feel socially awkward and time-poor? Perhaps I don't want to be able to read the body language between the lines and know all the bullshit going on with people underneath the surface all the time, so I can just go to a party and be at a party, nothing more. Sometimes I wonder if I'd take being repeatedly cheated on, for instance, better if I hadn't actually known all along and forced myself to believe it was just an irrational hunch. It's hard to act like everyone else, when you walk into a room and know most of what people think of you before they even start talking. And god is it hard to prove them wrong when their judgments are flying around in your head making you feel less of a person. It's harder still to try and figure out how much of it is anxiety, or how to explain to people that no, I'm not being crazy, I've been right about these things almost every time. Or I don't know, maybe everyone knows these things and I just cope poorly? I just don't think so, somehow though. Not to the same degree.

Anyway....how does this tie into study? Well basically, I'm less stable around other people, unless they are really amazing people. I'm too good at knowing when someone is talking behind my back, and most of the time I cope by acting none-the-wiser, because I'm sick of fighting. Then I eventually get really mad and either back off or viciously cut ties and feel kind-of dead about it later. Finding worthwhile people that bring something new and good into my life without also bringing pain and damage is a rare thing. So for the past 3 months I've just avoided people and focused on study. I've left the house maybe 4 or 5 times, and most of that involved needing to reborrow books at the uni library. So of course now, result: I'm even more socially awkward, at a time when I'm about to be spending more time being sociable and needing people more in my life. And I'm anxious about my future in regard to that as well.

I'll also soon have the time to start thinking about relationships. I didn't realise just how much I appreciated having an excuse not to think about them. I'm not sure what I want. I'm not sure what I'm even attracted to, but one thing I have found in the last few months is that every time anything starts getting serious, I run like hell and cut contact, and I'm not sure how to make sense of that. What am I even really into? Will I be happy in a relationship? Will I get hurt? What if I settle down and have a family and then find it makes me unhappy? You can't undo kids, but I'm getting to an age where if I want to have them, I should probably start investing in a person and finding a nice house and all of that.....and I don't feel ready to commit. TO ANYTHING. To a house, or a person, or kids. But everyone is doing it around me and there are fewer single people to have as a social support network as a result. Plus, what if I hit 40 and realise not investing in these things was a terrible idea? What if I go rushing in head-first out of fear, and realise THAT was a terrible idea? Me being 40 is about the same distance into the future as me being in my final year of high school was in my past. That is scary as hell. I think I'm trapped in that paradox of choice that Barry Schwartz talks so much about. I have so many options that I risk being paralysed by them. So of course my coping with that so far has been to plan a party and book a flight the hell out of here shortly after that. Oh shit.

All of this from one simple thing - getting my degree. All of these huge, looming questions, fears, and hypotheticals. The battle I'm waging over these last few weeks isn't even about course comprehension. It's a battle with myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm waving, and other times like I'm drowning. I hope I'm strong enough.

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