Fear, tears and expectations…

I came down with a cold yesterday…sore throat, slight temp, sniffles. It wasn’t any better when I woke up so I called in sick. Partly because I don’t want to share it, but mainly because I couldn’t face another day in the office, failing in the new role. Even typing that just now brought another wave of tears crashing through me. I have been crying half the day. At least it feels like that. I woke up, felt sick and emailed the staff and my boss to say I wouldn’t be in. I also cancelled a meeting I am meant to be chairing tomorrow. Although I know I will be well enough to go in tomorrow, I haven’t prepared the paperwork. Another thing on the list of things I haven’t done…it’s a long list.

While I am not silly enough to think that I can possibly every get everything done (at work or home or wherever), and change is the only constant, as my last post said, I have struggled to take some semblance of control. And failed…both myself and my replacement in my substantive job. I am scared of completely screwing this job up, I know that I need to get the proper handover done for my replacement so she can do her role with confidence, and I am still struggling with the gap in my life left by the PhD. The fear is overwhelming.

Waves of tears…perhaps I should think of them as cleansing…at least they mean I still feel. I’d be more worried if I was numb and didn’t care at all. I know that this will pass, and there will be a way forward. At the moment I can’t see it…I don’t feel like I have anything that I am looking forward to. I don’t talk to my friends about it because they have enough on their own plates, particularly those I normally rely on as a sounding board.

I’m having trouble making the slightest decision. I am overanalysing everything and nothing. I miss my friends and yet I withdraw further. The bit in the title about ‘expectations’ was just a reminder to myself. I learned a long time ago that what hurts us is often not other people or their behaviour, but rather, our expectations. I am looking at my expectations of what I thought life would be like post-PhD…I am unclear on what I expected…obviously it wasn’t this or I wouldn’t be dealing with this morass of tears, “stuckness”, sense of failure and emotional pain. And I need to find a way to move forward. Maybe it’s that I thought I would, being aware of post-PhD blues, and having the new challenge of a different role, be in a good space and breeze through this year. Ha ha ha! I guess that ain’t gonna happen!

And although I like to understand things – why and how they happen – sometimes the reasons become clearer with time. We just need to “Let it Be” and work on moving forward. I need to use the mind that won’t stop thinking about things (the growing, eclectic pile of unread books next to my bed reminding me of what I still want to do) to take control, make some lists and start some baby steps. To move forward I need to examine my expectations and fears, but lay them to one side. I need to look forward to positive things – little ones each day, bigger ones like the trip at then end of the year. I need to really watch my self-talk because I have noticed the ‘darkness’ and ‘negativity’ in my own words…said out loud and spoke only to myself. Enough of that. I will not accept this as a part of my life; I will not live in fear…I am stronger than this, I am worth more than this, I will move forward, into the sunshine!

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