Friday, November 16, 2007

It always happens in the shower.

Yesterday was a typical day. All the equipment was working fine.

And then later in the day, it died. I don't know why.

I had good samples, I thought I might actually get some useful data. So I fought with it for a while, but I couldn't figure out what was wrong.

Then I sent an email to the repair person, shut everything down, and went home. Today I will try again to see if it is really broken.

I hate how these things can spontaneously blow up in your face, and this could happen at any time, but it always happens at the worst time.

So anyway I came home last night and I was pretty annoyed, but I sat there and said to myself,

"This is stupid. You should be grateful because things could be a lot worse."

So I sat there and made a list of how it could be worse.

I said to myself,

At least I'm still getting paid (for now). So I can pay my rent.

At least I'm inside, and warm, and have a cup of tea.

At least I can watch tv for an hour before I go to bed.

At least I have a nice comfy bed, and it's quiet here.

At least my car is still running, even though it's old and that reminds me, I really need to get the oil changed.

At least I'm not in jail.

At least I'm not pregnant.

And so on.

I was glad to go to bed because I didn't sleep at all the night before. I kept waking up and realizing I was doing experiments in my dreams.

So again this morning I was in the shower, thinking about blogging and why I blog, especially why I blog anonymously, and whether I should continue to blog.

And I realized I always get depressed in the shower.

I'm usually okay when I first wake up. I'm usually okay through breakfast.

And then when I'm in the shower, I get depressed. Sometimes it's subtle, but sometimes it hits me like a ton of bricks.

Sometimes I stand there in the shower thinking, if I don't get out of the shower, I don't have to deal with the rest of the day.

But I don't linger. I force myself to get out. I ignore the thought that I'd much rather go back to bed.

I go to work, and I'm usually still depressed when I get there.

Some days it goes away, some days it doesn't.

I don't know why this happens, but it's like clockwork.

Is it a side effect of my allergy medicine, that just takes about that long to kick in?

Is it something in the water?

Something about drinking my 1 cup of coffee?

Probably not. But I wish I could skip that moment of the day when I realize, yup, nothing bad has happened yet today, but I don't want to go to lab, and I have nothing to look forward to.

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At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take my showers at night so it actually helps me sleep - and it doesn't matter if I'm depressed in my dreams :)

That could be an option?

At least it's Friday.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound to me like you are depressed. You should try to talk to a professional. Universities generally have some kind of employee assistance program that can help you.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Dr. J said...

My mornings always used to start like that. I'm exceedingly glad they don't anymore. I'd usually offer an idea about now, but I'm not going to to as I know you don't like it. So instead I'll just say the useless, happy face "Hope it gets better soon!"

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

I've read about contaminated water with chlorine or hydrocarbons causing adverse effects while exposed in the shower. Depression, however, isn't one of them. I shower at night.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger The Woman of Science said...

This might sound silly, but consider buying "nice" bath products or at least some aromatherapy ones. If you can incorporate something that cheers you up into that ritual, then it might help distract you from negative thinking. Finding brighter light bulbs to use in that room might also help.

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really have to second the comments of anonymous at 11:14. Your feelings of depression seem profound, and there is no sense in suffering needlessly, so you may want to talk to someone. I know that you are smart enough to know this, but this is not a point of personal weakness (Tom Cruise is an idiot). And regardless of whether you are predisposed to depression or your present situation has brought this upon you, it is something you may need to address. I know the ‘eternal hope’ that the next experiment is going to work, but that does not always happen and should not substitute for a healthy coping mechanism. As scientists we are taught a large amount of self reliance in our work as a point of pride. Attribution of credit is certainly the currency that pays our fare to stay on this ride. But in life, we all need help sometimes!

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Woman of Science,

Yeah, I wish I could. I used to. Then I had a really severe allergic reaction earlier this year (didn't blog about it) and decided to swear off all but a few trusted products. Unfortunately the ones I trust are all unscented.

I've been slowly trying to reincorporate some aromatherapy back into my life, since it really does make a big difference.

The light bulb thing is a great idea, but the fixtures in that room are, um, fixed and don't allow for any drastic changes.

Ah, the joys of renting for years from someone whose first and only promise was to redo the bathroom. Ha, ha. At least the rent hasn't gone up.

As to the people who suggested showering at night, I do sometimes take a bath in the evening instead, but then there's the whole wet hair problem before bed and the whole bedhead problem in the morning. And I'm thinking about cutting my hair really short, which means it has to be washed in the morning every day. Not sure yet if I want to go there.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous JR said...

Come know taking your shower isn't the problem. The shower is the cue of what is going to happen next. Day in, day out. I had a friend who would always wig out sunday nights because monday morning was next. It hits us all in different ways. For some reason, for you it is in the shower. For me, it was always when I would just get home. I don't know why. Maybe a decompression.

Maybe you should seriously consider Plan B. Whatever it is, it can't possibly any worse than your current state. Retail managers get paid about the same as a postdoc and I don't think there's too many of them cry into their beer because their cash register broke.

At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always sing in the shower. i tend to mull over things when i am driving. maybe you are taking showers that are too long

At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Long hair.
I have strait long hair and will either comb and put it in a bun or put it in a braid when I shower at night. It's still mostly wet in the morning. And sometimes I just bun it up without combing and deal in the morning. Of course if you have curly hair I have no idea how to help you.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YFS, you replied to the people who suggested showering at night and buying bubble bath, but not the people who suggested getting medical attention. Why are you doing this? From both comments, it seems that they are genuinely concerned, and I agree with them. It it is serious enough to make you depressed when you get up, you need some attention. I say this from compassion and experience.

You're a scientist-do some reading in your spare time about some of the current ideas of the neurobiology of depression and antidepressants. It is fascinating, and it should convince you that you have a physiological problem, and there is a likely solution to it. Really-they don't labotomize people any more. There is more and more evidence that depression is associated with neuronal damage and that some antidepressants may repair this. A lot of animal models for depression and for antidepressant therapies work on the model of learned helplessness. I have to tell you, as a scientist and a person with a history of mood disorders, those little tidbits made me think hard about the possible consequences of ignoring my symptoms.

Lots of things you can do-like eat well, exercise a little, get good rest and engage in relaxing activities as often as possible can of course help-but these are unlikely to pull you out of a major episode.

If you don't want to go see someone,like, tomorrow, or, thanks to our lovely healthcare policies you have to wait three months, go to a store and buy omega-3 caplets and take like 8 per day. There is no harm to this and there is great benefit. And it costs about $10 for a few weeks supply. Really. If you don't believe me look it up.

One of my favorite writers of contemporary fiction once described depression as being in the house of mirrors-you are surrounded by yourself, you can't see out, and you are never sure which way you are going. I thought that was brilliant and described the way I often felt. The drugs broke the mirrors, and I saw life in an entirely new way. The next few years were just about learning to adjust to the fact that the world was different from the way I had perceived it.

The brain and the mind are the same thing, and only now are we scientists beginning to formulate the right language to talk about this. One small part of your brain may not be working well, and there are ways to fix it.

You owe it to yourself, to your career, and to your loved ones.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Unbalanced Reaction said...

It is COLD right now in LargeUtown, so I've switched to night showers. My hair is shortish and semi-wavy, so even through I dry my hair before going to bed, I still get terrible bed head when I wake up. So I just wet it down a little with my hand, redry it with the blow dryer, and it's nearly as good as new!

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would recommend showering before bed, too. I can't stand the smell of lab in my bed at night... the mixture of latex goves with random lingerings of qiagen et al.-- I just can't take it in my bedroom. That to me is the worst part of science. Even my boyfriend, living in a different time zone knows when I have been to the lab on the day I fly out to see him. (What a mess the postdoc is when you don't have your partner at your side...). AND... I always wash my hands... smells linger on your clothes... definitely wash before bed!!!!!!!!

At 11:00 AM, Blogger andrea said...

Finding positives is always good, but I always found the "being thankful for the bad things that haven't happened" to be spiritually fatiguing; maybe that's just me.

I also found that with a really short haircut that I can get by with washing it every-other-day if I've not been doing heavy work. It also dries really fast!

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Schlupp said...

Then perhaps shower before breakfast? I rather like breakfast, so it would cheer me.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger The Woman of Science said...

I find that I have worse bed head with short hair now.

Can you not access the bulbs even? If they're fluorescent tubes, then you would probably benefit just from putting in new ones.

So if fancy soaps are out of the question (and do try the oatmeal bars if you feel brave enough) then maybe some nice scented candles? Or sticks of incense! Back when I had a tiny bathroom with a ventilation fan, I loved to burn incense while I showered. Rose scented ones were the best.


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