Wellness Wednesday: Anxiety and Irreparable Mistakes

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Hello internet. I am not feeling very well at the moment. I didn’t think that I was stretching myself too thin, but maybe I am. I don’t know. After this week hopefully things will even out a bit and I’ll just have the one class I’m teaching and dissertation to worry about. I never thought I would be teaching a class, but the second session went infinitely better, in my mind, than the first session did. Everything should smooth out and I am less worried about teaching at the moment.

I think what I’ve noticed about my anxiety is that it skyrockets when my stress level/overwhelm increases… but in more subtle ways than I was younger. I used to just freeze and have a panic attack when I was younger. Now, my anxiety manifests more in headaches or my throat getting scratchy. Or, when it comes to social things… I worry I’ll make stupid or irreparable mistakes that’ll ruin my reputation, for example. So this came up for me today when I realized I didn’t keep everyone in the loop about my dissertation shifting a bit like I should have. In my mind, though, I’m still sort of unsure about how everything will shake out, so I thought I shouldn’t bother anyone until I have a more clear idea about the project and what can feasibly be done. I don’t know. It’s just embarrassing and I didn’t intentionally keep anyone uninformed. I don’t want to be seen as unprofessional, but I don’t know what I don’t know and I often feel like I’m just flailing around figuring things out by myself… and it often never occurs to me to ask for help. Maybe that’s the problem.

But I’m the type of person that will not call a meeting unless I have “something to show” or have made some progress. So in my mind, everything was in preliminary stages of potentially changing so it wasn’t on my radar to tell people about it because I didn’t want to further confuse the process/have people think I don’t know what I’m doing. Which I don’t. I don’t know. I realize dissertation projects can shift and that’s part of the process, but I didn’t think this semester would bring up quite as much “stuff” for me like deep-seated embarrassment like I haven’t felt in a while. Sigh. I try to keep in perspective how far I’ve come and how I never thought I would get this far, but that’s hard to keep in mind when you have so many different things to juggle. And on top of that I think I just keep letting people down/screwing up, even if I’m doing the best I can.

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