Concentrate… not orange juice… read the label

Yesterday I was feeling really proud of myself. I had compiled all 31 sources for my article that I have to write for my one class, and I started writing the article. I had to have the rough draft finished for class that night, and I completed about 1/4 of my paper. I brought it in anyway to share during writer’s workshop, and I received some great feedback. Now all I have to do is concentrate and jump right back in, right?

Wrong…. The first thing I did after I checked my email this morning is I went back to sleep. I conked right out on the couch for at least two hours. Then another two hours have passed, and I haven’t progressed any from this morning.

UGH. I’m having a hard time with that C word- concentration.

It’s been difficult trying to keep myself up and moving. Yesterday was the best I’ve felt in a while. Problem is that it takes me so stinking long to write because I am a perfectionist. It took me 3 hours to write 5 pages. Back when I in undergraduate school, I could knock out research papers so easily. Now I agonize over every detail, fact, comma, punctuation mark, and flow of ideas.

It might be the perfectionism holding me back. It might be the depression. It might be the fact that it just feels so darn good to sleep and I want to go back to that couch and enter the darkness again.

I have had so many ideas just floating around in my head. Does a diagnosis define who I am? Well, if you’ve been around this blog much, you would know that I am anti-label because of my son, Casey. He has autism, and for the longest time, I fought getting that autism label attached to him. I didn’t want anyone to think that the label was who he is. I keep telling my classmates that the label does not define who you are. Most times in special education, parents need the label so that they can get services for their child.

So, here I am facing another round of depression, and quite possibly a diagnosis of my own. I go to the psychiatrist next week on Monday. Granted, the practical side of me is praying for a diagnosis. Something–anything– an answer as to why I keep going down into these depths of despair. Give me the label and I can work with it. I can research answers for it. I can educate people around me so they can help. The other small part of me is saying “does the label really matter? You’re still you… figure out who you are.”

It’s easy to figure out who I am in terms of labels- wife, mom, graduate student, friend (wish I had more friends around here so I could actually do something fun). But who am I? That age- old existential question still haunts me.

Now if I could just concentrate on an answer…


5 responses

  1. A number of writing books urge us to drop the internal editor for the first draft of anything. Just get it down on paper, then take the time to go back through and polish to a healthy glow. Easier said than done I’m sure, but it does tend to work. 🙂


  2. Two things:

    1) Because I know you’re a Christian, I can throw the advice that my counselor throws my way: Find your identity in Christ! Prester John said it over at my blog this way: “You’re an achie[ve]r and a doer and I suspect your esteem is all tied up with what you do.”

    He’s right. While being a wife, mother, and grad student is part of who you are, the one thing that should “define” you is Christ. I’m having trouble with this too because I too often see myself as bipolar, depressed, weird, odd, PERFECTIONIST… which brings me to….

    2) Write. Just write. I have to be honest – I haven’t been in grad school but I had to knock out an honors paper for undergrad and present a “defense” or presentation or whatever they made me do. For your first few draft rounds, don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, spelling, or anything. That can all be taken care of later. I know, I know, it’s incredibly tough. I’m a copy editor so it hurts for me to see “Adn she went oout in pubic.” It also pains me to see (as I’m writing): “They are over their.” But KEEP. ON. WRITING. I did this for one of my novels I wrote back in November and boy, is it going through some serious revisions. But the good thing I got the novel done in ONE month (50K words) because I had to ignore my inner editor who said “Fix this! Fix this!!!”

    I know it’s tough but unless it’s directly related to you referencing a source or it might affect factual accuracy, IGNORE YOUR INNER EDITOR. The time you have on your hands for your first round of drafts will thank you.

    And oh yeah, I know about being depressed while writing the honors paper too. It’s a very draining task. Allow yourself some time to sleep and crash. But at the same time, I had moments where I slept all day (I had this luxury because I wasn’t a mom like you!) and then worked all through the night (10 pm-6 am). Those aren’t fun. But if you crash in one area, there will be a need to compensate afterward. I hope you have someone who is supportive and can help encourage you toward completing this daunting task!

    I will be praying for you. You can do it!

    P.S. Was that too much tough love? lol

  3. @babs- You know with all the writing I do it is hard to just get it down on “paper” and get it done. I’m always fiddling around with mechanics and voice. UGH. I need to just get it done. Thanks for the input- I do appreciate it a TON!!!

    @Marissa- Honey, I need that tough love! 🙂 You are so right when you crash in one area, you have to compensate in another. Right now, though, I’m crashing everywhere. I just need to learn to focus. Concentrate… fresh squeezed…

    There I go again.. sigh.

    Thanks for the pep talk! I appreciate it very, very, very much! 🙂

  4. I’m glad you have an appt for monday. I feel your pain. The sick feeling when all you want to do is run to bed and hide under the covers 😦 Gosh, I feel your pain.

    I wish I had an answer or something to offer as help, but I’m sure the answer is different for each and every one of us. I do know that going to the doctor is the best thing that you can do for yourself and I’m really glad that you are going.

    Getting there (to the doc) is 1/2 the battle. Well, at least for me it always has been.

    I’ll be sending up good thoughts for you!

  5. “But who am I?”

    I used to worry about that. As I’ve gotten older I realize very few ever figure that one out. Best most of us can hope for is a snapshot at some particular point in time.

    Try and relax and go with it. Maybe if you break it down into tiny pieces it’ll seem more manageable.

    Best wishes.

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