Category: Personal

Am I enough of a scientist?

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.
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“Delaying the Inevitable”- Can pessimism be helpful in mental health support?

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.

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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.
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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.

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Uni vs Writing vs Anxiety

When it comes to uni work, I have two main modes of thought;

  1. feeling like I’ve faked my way into doing this well, and don’t deserve the grades and feedback I’ve received.
  2. 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.
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It’s been a weird few weeks; I’ve ended up with my thoughts going down a lot of familiar bad paths. I’m hoping some of the thoughts are just because of the time of year- around the time of the worst parts happening I tend to get caught up in them.

Anniversary doesn’t feel like the right word, but I don’t know what to use instead. A day where time makes no sense, and the last four years fold down into seconds. Where I remember everything I did and felt as if I was doing it again, a feeling so absorbing that for a while I want to re-enact it. I have two of them, and one is today.
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My Diagnosis (or lack of) Experience…

I finally got a phonecall back from the CMS, but it really wasn’t the phonecall I expected.

In the last appointment, C3 seemed like she understood what I meant and was happy to talk to her team about sorting out what I can do next. But the phonecall was a lot more negative

Firstly, she said that she didn’t want to progress further as I only met some of the criteria and not others. Considering depersonalisation disorder (which is what I explained was the closest thing I could see to my experiences, and what I wanted to focus on) is basically defined by experiencing depersonalisation that causes negative effects and isn’t caused by anything else- in other words, exactly what I experience, and what I tried to explain to her is probably the thing underlying everything else- I don’t really see how she could have reached that conclusion.

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My Diagnosis Experience, Part 5

Yesterday, I finally had my appointment with C3.
Leading up to yesterday, I’ve been nervous about going back, more so than if I was seeing a stranger. The nerves are mostly from not knowing how she would interpret me, based on her unexpected assessment last time. Because all I remembered from before was the more negative parts, like the conversations I ended up confused by and L’s reaction to meeting her, I was expecting a bad experience. Instead she was friendly, and she remembered me to some extent; asking about church and uni.

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Referral Update

I woke up yesterday to two voicemails from the CMS, saying they’d received my referral and wanted me to phone and set up an appointment. I found that surprisingly quick, considering it’s not an emergency this time.

Following it up meant making a phonecall to a stranger, something I can now do but am still not a fan of. Mainly because I never know how to open the conversation- give me a script and I’m ok. However, as I was staring at my phone figuring out what to say, they called me- that made things easier!
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