Wednesday, November 22, 2006

High Annnnnn-xiety

(That's for my sisters, who share my love--who may be responsible for my love--of Mel Brooks films.)

So, anxiety. It's reared its ugly head again. Or, a better metaphor: it's buzzing around my belly like a whole lot of bees. It winds itself up my spine, so the muscles clench in resistance. It jangles my brain so that I lose track of time, realizing only as I turn into the parking lot of my hair stylist that I have somehow misplaced an hour and have missed my appointment entirely. (She has to think I'm a total space cadet, since I was a good 10 minutes late to my first appointment with her; fortunately for her, my guilt translates into a big fat tip.)

What to do? Here are past strategies, which have been more or less successful:
1. Eat. Preferably ice cream. Preferably Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
2. Drink.
3. Medicate--over the counter sleep aids to get to sleep at night, Paxil and Neurontin to smooth the rough edges.
4. Avoid. Resist all activities that contribute to anxiety--particularly those having to do with the dissertation.
5. Meditate.
6. Snuggle.

So, this time, we're gonna stick with 5 and 6. Followed by a recommitment to my schedule. Because there's nothing like actually completing that task that's causing the anxiety in the first place for ameliorating anxiety.

The major stressor is, of course, the diss. I sit at my desk now, a chart of SMART goals staring down at me. Well, and some not-so-SMART goals, which is to say I haven't yet broken them down into do-able tasks. I need to remind myself that every little thing I do brings me closer to completion, and to stop setting (even mentally) such unSMART goals, which only lead to anxiety, which only lead to avoidance.

The other stressor is a small but significant one: Thanksgiving dinner with the GF's parents. Which I'm sure will be just fine. But which makes me nervous nonetheless. I've even laid out a spiffy ensemble for the event: black wool slacks, pretty lavender sweater, and sparkly jewelry. I thought about wearing the killer witchie-poo boots, since the pants are a bit long, but decided spraining my ankle wouldn't impress anyone. So I'll be swinging by campus to pick up my shoes from under my desk.

Oh, and snagging the quasi-rubric-like forms I printed out but forgot--the ones I need to start grading those 30-some essays I collected Monday.

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