Winter Blues


You know, I give up, I can’t be doing this anymore and I need a way out. What is it that has got me so rattled, you may ask? Is it my PhD? Is it my personal life? Is it my inability to find a job? Well, it’s actually a combination of everything, and yes I have been blaming the season, even though as we near the end of the year, it often becomes my favourite part of the year. As of now however, I’m simply apathetic. I’m struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed and finish those last few experiments and complete my PhD. I suppose it probably has something to do with the fact that the answer to my simple yes/no questions, is only maybe. ‘Maybe’ can’t get you very far. Even a ‘no’ is more useful. Yes, I agree that it’s a negative response, but even negative responses can be motivational, much better than a ‘meh’. Which perfectly describes my current state of mind.

I can’t even remember if it truly is seasonal…my brain (like many others) has a tendency to forget about anything remotely depressing…and of course, romanticising that which is does remember. I can’t blame winter, even though I feel blue. I just want to perk up again, I only wish I knew how.

I think I need to distract myself…maybe some time away? Or read one of the two Mark Billingham books I have sitting around untouched. I just need to do something…and even cooking and eating isn’t helping (very sad!). And of course, when I am sad and upset I want chocolate. Even though I have a dairy/lactose sensitivity…so what does that mean?…Painful tummy aches and worse! I need to cheer up and finish everything!!! So much to to do, glad my spirituality is helping me to just take a few minutes out several times a day. I need more of that. Amplified.

 

My Favourite nachos from Las Iguanas!

Yummy tuna bagel. Best bagel I’ve ever had!

Chocolate chip packed brownie!

Vanilla gelato and Ferrero Rocher cookie dough from Sprinkles. Extremely decadent.

Homemade kidney bean and potato chilli.

Tandoori potatoes made in my new worktop oven/grill! Yum!

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It’s okay! I’m alive!


No really, I am! Despite all the last minuteness of everything going on right now and all the chaos and stress coming at me from every angle. I am very much still alive. However, only just. It’s difficult to stay afloat when you don’t have the strength to get out of bed…or perhaps it’s just pure laziness. Whatever it is, it certainly is a hinderance. And whilst that warm and cosy feeling I have when I’m lying in bed is plenty to keep me there (and successfully it has!)…that little voice in my bed reminds me more and more adamantly…that there is work to be done. Stay tuned.

I need a paper towel and a Valium.


Nos somos humanos, e nos não somos perfeitos. Mas, tentamos.

Isn’t it a relief to have your car insurance sorted? It feels like a bit of a load off…though sadly not a huge amount. I was supposed to have finished everything by now…but here we are, almost mid-July and I am yet to complete my PhD lab work. It’s not entirely my fault or ineptitude either, something I’ve ordered and subsequently re-ordered over a period of 5 months has yet to arrive. Bio-Rad. Why the incompetence? My PCR studies should’ve all been completed by now, but I’m still waiting to hear from you, it’s unacceptable!!! I’m now hoping that the one contact I have at the company can speed through their incredibly useless processing and get me what I need ASAP. Apart from that…everything else seems to be dependent very much on luck. I seemed to be unable to yield any results from something which worked at a 100% success rate…and now that (with a great deal of help) I’ve got it up and running again, I’ve now run out of antibodies…so despite spending 10 hrs in the lab yesterday…I’ve nothing to show for it.

On a slightly better note…my DoS has just sent back corrections for me to do with my chapter…and although that’s a good thing, having a flick through, I don’t feel so great about it. There are a lot of tedious things that need changing and some data which is apparently not needed. But of course…I spent weeks if not months collecting the data and then of course the painful analysis, so it feels a bit painful to remove. I feel quite deflated to be perfectly honest, the sort of feeling where you’re trying to pump air into a balloon with a hole in it. Absolutely futile. I won’t lie. I’m exasperated. I want to finish everything and move on with my life. This PhD has been draining and not because it’s too difficult, but because this environment is corrosive. This is where hopes and dreams come to die, Little One.

But let’s end on a slightly positive note…I tried baking peanut butter and M&M cookies on Sunday. The verdict was positive, though being self-critical (as always) they weren’t what I had wanted. Recipe was from Tanya Burr, although she also adds pretzels and I didn’t have nearly enough M&Ms (little brother ate them!). Enjoy! I’m going to try and find as many things to bake as possible…my only real form of stress relief!

Cookies!

 

PS. Titular reference is Lorelai’s reaction to Emily wanting to date.

Why must you do this to me?


“It’s a matter of patience, perseverance and endurance.”

That’s what I’ve been telling myself these last few weeks. I feel as though I’ve been notably “absent” in every way possible…posting, writing, research and especially with my family and friends. I suppose the stresses I’ve been experiencing haven’t been very kind to the gentler side of me, and instead aggravate and demotivate me. I feel as if I have a million things to do, and no time for it, and as I try to remember one thing, I forget another.

It’s not unusual that everyday has started to merge into one very exhausting day on loop…it’s difficult to tell when one day starts and another day ends. I’ve been trying to balance my research priorities with working…but it’s not a very 50:50 arrangement right now. I suppose it’s because I feel like my attention can’t be divided very well right now, perhaps because I feel a little weakened? The damage usually comes from the source you least expect, and when you’re repeatedly suffering blows, it’s very difficult to find yourself being “everywhere”. Hence the absence. I know that things needs to change, but a lot of things aren’t in my control, and that means that I have to suffer at this cost. I’m struggling to make sense of my days, the only thing I have which is remotely soothing…is my time to reflect. Any form of prayer…I’ve always found that the busier I get, the more I find time to pray. I suppose with being busy, I can filter out all the unnecessary chaos and allocate due time to just reflect and gather myself…before I’m destroyed again. Perhaps this is a way to become stronger? As it’s said…what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (much like antimicrobial resistance).

I must say, that despite how very strange I feel right now, how very chaotic and hectic things seem, I don’t feel anxious. And that’s saying something…anxiety for me, is much like a shadow, it’s always there, but it’s magnitude is dependent on light. Perhaps, I need the anxiety? Or perhaps I’m so desensitised right now, that I’m unable to place emotion where it is due? I suppose the take home message is that…there’s a lot going on in my life and I need a moment to just be able to filter through what needs attention and what doesn’t. I know that my PhD certainly needs attention, and that I can’t possibly afford to lack in this area, because I’m so close to the finish line. But I also need to realise that being close, isn’t the same as crossing the finish line, and I can’t afford to be complacent. I need to maintain the acceleration and I need to channel the excess energy into finding a permanent job at the end of all of this.

That being said, I can’t quite focus on much more, the Glorious month is on the horizon, and I know that my inner peace will find it’s nexus soon. I’m working towards building that up, and ensuring that I can find the strength in me, to do what is right for myself and my family. That’s my priority…everything else will either need to change or wait for me.

 

NQ out.

Little Black Cloud


It’s rare that I feel like this, annoyed and distant. In fact, it’s almost the complete opposite to how I usually am, I’m involved, engaged and proactive, but not as of now. It’s like everything around me just frustrates me and is getting an exaggerated response as a result, I know that a lot of it probably doesn’t deserve the angst that I’m expelling…but I physically feel so angry and annoyed all the time. Perhaps I’m projecting the emotions of something else onto something else? Or perhaps I’m just so emotionally sensitive right now, that anything and everything will set me off…even a lab coat with pink patches! (So very, very annoyed)

This little black cloud I have suspended above my head is certainly not doing anyone any good, especially not me. Everyone else may see themselves as the recipients to my hotheadedness, but no one will see that it’s eating me up on the inside. I’m not quite sure as to what has triggered this state of mind, but all I know is that I walked into lab on a Monday morning (having overslept) and that was it…I was VERY annoyed. I suppose it must have been perpetuated from the fact that my usually bubbly self was gone unmissed, it was as if I was not present…that felt more a rejection of myself than anything else, certainly did not feel as though people just wanted to give me space (although a rational version of myself would certainly justify responsive quietness as people just letting me work out my angst). And it’s just escalated from there really, I’ve felt irritated and neglected and almost as if everyone around me is conspiratorial, even if they really aren’t.

The “odd” thing, is that I know the rationality of everything, and I can understand what is beyond the red mist, but for some reason, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. It’s almost as if the rational and logical part of me has given up, taken a holiday and told another more emotionally charged version of myself to come and take the reins. I don’t appreciate this version, it’s far too irrational for me, and I can observe myself almost as a third person so to speak (if that even makes any sense). It’s almost as if I can step in and out of myself…and I can see myself from the outside as well be this version of myself from the inside.

I can’t help but think that this is the storm I have been anticipating. I knew everything was far too calm for it to be alright. I need a version of my maternal self to come and give me a hug…and shake away the negativity and distrust I have acquired all of a sudden. I don’t like how I feel. It’s as if I’m not myself, but a distorted version of myself…an alternate reality version almost. I hope I can get back to my usual happy-go-lucky self. It’s far more energising and less draining. This entire working week…I’ve been so exhausted from being so quiet and angry that I’ve gotten home from the lab and fallen asleep almost immediately. And then being home for the weekend hasn’t been great either…I constantly feel misunderstood and undermined, and I’ll admit, I’m certainly not behaving rationally…but it’s as if the entire world around me can see something is wrong with me, yet no one is willing to help me. I’m drowning in my own confusion.

Let’s hope those pink stains get out of my lab coat…it might help…just might.

A house of cards.


Do you ever just feel like everything is just piling up atop of a very unstable foundation? One which wasn’t unstable to begin with…but was rocked numerous times to the extent where it can hardly hold up it’s own weight.

Well, if that’s the case, and you happen to be anything like me…all you needed was the ‘Gilmore Girls’ revival. For me, that was the cement to re-establish my foundation. And it came just at the right time. It may sound strange, but looking back at my posts, you may have figured that I’m somewhat of a fan (putting it very lightly), and often I’ve found that show (because as I have to remind myself, it’s just that) has helped work through the obstacles in my life.

It’s been an odd few weeks, full of stress and highly charged with emotions of all sorts…other than joy, and that’s taken a toll on me. It’s wore me down, and left me lethargic with little hope. It’s difficult with a PhD to be able to mentally get away from it all, because even if you are physically away…your mind is forever on your work, either thinking of where you went wrong, or the guilt of being away. But you know what, you should be away…both mentally and physically. It’s gruelling and difficult, and exhausting in all manner of the word. I conducted 285 statistical tests with different data sets over a 4 day period, and slept only a total of 12 hours.

An exhausted Nazra, needed the Gilmore Girls revival.

Feeling exhausted and tired from all of those numbers, the cramp from typing for hours on end, the revival was like a hug from a very old friend. A friend who has been with you through your ups and downs, made you smile, made you laugh and made you feel sad with them. I won’t even begin to hide my enthusiasm and my squeals of delight on hearing that all so familiar opening theme. And it was certainly worth it, I can’t believe how no one had aged at all! It was like I was transported back in time, and I loved it. The story was brilliantly set, the writers certainly did not change at all, it was a comforting revival of old acquaintances and friends. A happy memory engraved into my mind. Enough to make me realise that the stress I’ve been hauling around for the past few weeks…simply isn’t worth the effort. I should let go, and focus on what I want, and smile as I go about getting that.

“Quick, someone throw me a buoy!”


You know sometimes everything can be so very confusing…and sometimes you don’t feel like a mid-20 something, and sometimes you feel like that very confused teen…back in the day, when the stresses in your life seemed so much like ultimatums. If it’s not been very clear already, this month has been stressful and I know exactly why that is. And the stress certainly won’t clear…not by itself. I’ve been an unrecognisably stressed version of myself…all due to the impending completion of my research and the procrastination associated with writing my thesis. With all of this ‘delightful’ additional stress…I’ve been snappier (I would duly advise all to avoid the circumference for the next few weeks), more emotionally charged  (which only means one thing…something I’m not proud of, and often unable to explain…waterworks) and of course, more aggravated (even in situations where normally a triage system would be applied…I just throw all of that out of the window and go straight to the most immediate response…yelling, screaming and throwing punches…yup that’s right…I’m sorry J).

And what does all of this mean for normal physiological function? Not good, not good at all. I’ve been eating more to: a) distract myself from everything that’s piling up and b) procrastinating…in a horrible way. My muffintop is staying. And other functions have been…impeded also. But let’s not talk about that shall we? I talk about it more than necessary with people who really wish I wouldn’t!

But you know what? Despite all of that stress…I feel very light today (not supposed to be an ill-timed pun!…but very appropriate). In fact, I’ve felt this way since this weekend. After a series of unfortunate events, starting with my car blinking out on me (Get Well soon sweetie!), I had time to mull a lot of things over, and it’s strangely odd how those events somehow led to me realising that the stress is simply not worth it. It’s not worth me losing my composure, my balance and to some extent my sanity. I’ve felt horrid the last few weeks, I let myself be controlled by a hormone, when I should be the boss and be telling IT where it should go. And that simple realisation was enough to free me from my self-made prison. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that you’re drowning and being unable swim or float…

 

PS. Throw me a buoy…or better yet, get the RNLI, Nazra needs a hand…or two.