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19th C diagnosis for a 20th C Medievalist

15 April, 2012

I’m still catching up on my life, I’m still ill with something I haven’t had since grad school. In fact, the last year has been in part occupied with being ill, with one thing or another, mostly connected to a lack of sleep leading to lowered immunity/bad eating habits/lack of exercise. Why yes, stress is making me ill. In short, if this were the 19th C, my doctor would tell me I’m suffering from all the symptoms of ‘Nervous Exhaustion’. Oh – this reminds me, I need to go and do a B vitamin levels test…

This is in large part why I have not been blogging as much lately. It’s basically all I can do to get through the days. I’ve mostly not been socializing, except through facebook. But then, most of the people with whom I can socialize are connected to the university. It makes it difficult: living in a small town, working on a small campus, there are too many overlaps. Colleagues are friends, or if not friends, are friends of friends. This is pretty standard, from what I hear. The smaller the campus and town, the more magnified the typical academic rivalries, neuroses, resentments, etc. Where those things are magnified, the opportunities for venting and getting good collegial mentoring are lessened.

Happily, there are plenty of opportunities for being with friends, and for collaborating with colleagues. Students continue to be fantastic, and some of the classes I’m teaching bring me great joy. The trip to Forn Parts, although a real stress in terms of not having much down time and losing me nine days where I usually recharge and catch up with marking and planning the second half of the semester, was also a Good Thing. I made a bunch of friends and spent a week being part of a community. It was a week of reminders that I can, and often do, fit in. Ironically, this is one of the reasons for the stress: there are so many things in my life that are good, and I am generally happy with where I am. But this makes the contrasts with the stressful parts that much more obvious. Sadly, it’s the stressful parts that I cannot escape. I just have to learn to deal with them. That will take time; time to process, time to come up with coping strategies for the fact that the stressful things tap into much bigger issues. I learnt early that one can’t change people; one can only change one’s circumstances. But I like rather a lot about my circumstances, and frankly, they are themselves detrimental to my being able to position myself for changing them. Still, it’s something I’ll need to work on, getting my life together, getting some things published, and making myself more marketable. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Kalamazoo, and to Leeds, and to re-joining the conversation.

Back after catching up and getting my taxes in!

Still need to post about:

How awesome my students are

Teaching a gender class and how it’s made me realize that Historian on the Edge is right about our jobs being political

Modeling good behavior even when you want to strangle a student

Working with education programs

Cats

The Middle Ages

Curriculum stuff

Actual Research

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. J Liedl permalink
    15 April, 2012 6:58 pm

    *hugs* Sleep, heal, pet your cats, breathe and don’t let others derail your life any further!

    • 15 April, 2012 11:11 pm

      Thanks! As you know, I’m generally in good spirits. I am just finally hitting the “no spoons” point, and cannot wait for summer to work on things I want to work on…

      • J Liedl permalink
        15 April, 2012 11:44 pm

        I do understand that and make sure that you don’t let anyone at the U hijack your summer hours for projects that someone else was supposed to handle!

  2. 16 April, 2012 4:41 am

    I believe that you and I are having the same semester (viz. my own lack of blogging). Will we be talking about this over breakfast Sunday morning at Kalamazoo?

    • 16 April, 2012 7:11 am

      depends on when my colleagues (the same as from last year, plus another you met via me) want to leave. We are driving…

      But if not then, then definitely sometime — perhaps at the meetup?

  3. historisusan permalink
    18 April, 2012 12:53 am

    You say at the end that you can’t change people, you can change your circumstances; but you can also try to change how you react to people/circumstances. That is, given that there is much you like about where you are, how do you not get overwhelmed by the small stuff. Last fall I successfully managed a day where I didn’t do email. Haven’t managed that as well this spring — too much travel and recruiting — but I realized it made a huge difference to block out time for writing.

  4. 18 April, 2012 12:55 am

    P.S. For all the wordpress blogs, they now keep giving me a stupid login name I created when I had to create an account and they wouldn’t let me use “Susan”. It’s driving me nuts, because I don’t really like it. But it’s too confusing to try to change it. Sorry about that. I’m just Susan

    • 18 April, 2012 2:19 pm

      I figured it was you, and I owe you a letter…

      You’re absolutely right about being able to change reactions, and indeed, this is part of why I am seeing a therapist, which I really resent (in terms of time taken, need therefor, and any number of things, even though she’s great). The immediate problem is that this has tapped into some very old, very bad baggage that was safely stored away. Learning to change my reactions requires actually unpacking, re-folding, and possibly even getting rid of some of it, rather than jamming it all back into the suitcase so that a jiggle on the lock doesn’t pop it open and explode the contents over everything.

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