Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Depression & deja vu.

I was pretty depressed this morning. I don't really know why. Nothing in particular has happened in the last week or so to put me in a worse mood. I am waiting on a few things, and I hate waiting. But that's a ridiculous reason to be in a bad mood.

Right now I am debating what to do. I can sit here, in the comfort of my unusually quiet house, and do some actual work on my computer. Maybe it will make me feel better to get something done.

Or I can go to lab and do something, and go to a seminar that I'm pretty sure will piss me off. The thing in lab can wait until tomorrow. The seminar might be interesting, and I might get some points for face time if I run into the right people. But all of that is very unlikely to cheer me up. It is more likely to make me feel worse.

So that is my conflict today. Do what I am "supposed" to do, and act normal, or do what I am not "supposed" to do and actually get more work done, and maybe feel better (but also a little bit guilty)?

I have this conflict a lot. I should be over it by now. I realize that nobody cares one bit if I show up to lab on any given day, so long as I get my work done. And they don't even care about that. I am the only one who cares whether I get any work done.

For a while now, I've had the equivalent of experimental blue balls (crude, I know, but I can't think of a better metaphor right now). I can't get any momentum going. I get excited about a project, and then there are all these obstacles to actually getting the answer, and most of them are stupid little things.

It's like trying to walk across a floor covered with toys. You don't really want to step on the toys and break them, but it hurts your feet if you accidentally land on one, and you just want to reach down and sweep them all out of the way.

It's not exactly a minefield. But it's not a relaxing walk in the park, either.

In the past, when I got frustrated by waiting, I would start something new. There are other experiments I could do.

But everything I need to do is time-dependent, and not in a way I can completely control.

So I could start something now, because this week I have time to kill. But it always turns out that everything is ready at the same time, whether I plan it that way or not.

And when that happens, it's impossible to get everything to work correctly, because it turns into a game of juggling. I am okay at juggling. But lately I am miserable because I need a few of these things to be perfect.

I really hate needing for anything to be perfect. Nothing is ever perfect.

I always say this is why I got a PhD instead of an MD. In research, if things aren't perfect, at least nobody dies. And you can usually try again.

But I need these things to be pretty close to perfect. And I am running out of time.

So I'm trying to be more focused. And I hate it.

Meanwhile, I am having a bizarrely strong sense of deja vu the last couple of days. I find myself saying things I could swear I've already said, and seeing things that I think I've seen before.

I keep thinking about the scene where Neo sees a black cat in the Matrix, right before something really bad happens.

I do feel like I'm caught in a loop. My current situation is very similar to something that happened before. And while I'm determined not to make the same mistake again, I still feel like anything I do will not turn out how I want it to.

I'm pretty sure at this point that I want to break out of this loop. But I also know that I can't do it just yet. It's like I'm trying to jump out of a centrifuge. If I time it right, the force will throw me into the right trajectory. Meanwhile I am being crushed by the force that is pulling me around in circles, and down.

Anyway I feel a little better just writing this. It is silly how that works.

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At 4:14 PM, Anonymous JR said...

Take the red pill.

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel better, I just came across your blog through a semi-random chain (a thread on phdcomics->someone's blog->your blog) and I have to say it's quite interesting. So cheers :)

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...


you are always there for me, I appreciate it.


thanks, it does!


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