Gigs are a confusing place to be when you experience any form of dissociation. For me, there are two likely outcomes. Sometimes I feel the barriers between me and everything else reduce, so I feel closer to seeing the world as a typical person does. But sometimes I instead feel more aware of the dissonance between what I’m perceiving and what I’m experiencing, and so I notice those barriers more acutely.
A few weeks ago, I read a science journalism internship advertised on a sci-comm mailing list. The internship seemed like a good fit in terms of hours and responsibilities- it included adapting published articles into lay summaries, something I would be interested in. However, the company focused on bioscience and lab science, which I’ve not studied. I could understand the lay versions, but I couldn’t clearly grasp the original articles. So I never applied for that internship, as my biosciences knowledge currently isn’t strong enough.
Thinking about this let me better articulate a background worry/fear that’s been present since I finished my course: that I don’t have a strong enough science background to take part in many aspects of scicomm.
Trigger Warning: This whole post is about themes of suicidal thoughts and responses to them. There isn’t anything graphic or too detailed, but don’t read this post if that theme’s not a good idea for you.
I have a strange history with the word inevitable. One one hand, it’s a warning sign. It’s the red flag which warns me I’m about to lose days to the thoughts rattling around my head and blocking everything I care about. When I start to believe that returning to the past is inevitable, that failure is guaranteed while everything good that’s happened since was just temporary solace- that’s how I know a bad time is imminent. When things are bad, the word inevitable gets lodged in my mind, poisoning everything I experience. But at one point, the phrase “delaying the inevitable” was the most helpful thing I’d heard for months.
Last week, I finally listened to my UWE wellbeing person and took the jump into going to a counselling session again. This was very different in circumstances and tone than when I went in 2012; both as it was a choice rather than something I was dragged in to, and because it was the kind of level that a first session is intended for, rather than the messy situation I came in with before.
After having a few days of being on holiday; where I didn’t think about anything other than what was directly in front of me and the people I was with, coming back to reality has been slower than I expected.
My first sticking point has been uni.
I was still finishing off my dissertation proposal as my friends arrived to pick me up, so completed it in a rush. After that, the holiday was a uni-free zone.
And then I got back and realised I had 5 ongoing uni things to do, so proceeded to shove my head in the sand and ignore them.
When it comes to uni work, I have two main modes of thought;
- feeling like I’ve faked my way into doing this well, and don’t deserve the grades and feedback I’ve received.
- feeling annoyed with myself because I should be doing more and better.
And knowing that’s completely illogical doesn’t help.
At the moment I get a lot of anxiety doing academic work. The work is so on the surface fun- thanks to interesting topics, new tasks beyond standard essays, and the atmosphere that I soak up during teaching blocks- that being anxious feels more dissonant and therefore somehow worse than what I experienced during college.
I was pretty worried about Thursday, but in the end the day went completely in the other direction. I got some brilliant news that morning in uni (see here), and was on a confused cloud 9 for the rest of the day.