31 January 2009

Work Avoidance

I thought that the biggest obstacle I would have going back to school would be the depression part of the bipolarnesses. I was completely wrong, at least so far. It's the anxiety that gives me the most trouble.

Case in point: the fact that I am writing a post instead of getting on with the Greek. As soon as I pick up a piece of homework I become extremely anxious that I'm going to do the wrong homework or do the right homework badly or not be able to finish it all or that my feeling that the medication has made me less intelligent is about to prove itself to be true.

It turns out that it's a good thing that most of my classes are very early in the morning as I simply don't have time to wake up enough to become too anxious to go if I have to leave the house at 7.20 am to get the bus.

Taking the bus is itself a strategy to foil the anxiety. The university is only about a mile and a half away from my apartment but since I live in urban Appalachia, it is a very uphill and downhill and up a very steep hill kind of walk to get home. So, if I take the bus instead of driving it is much harder for me to change my mind and leave or go off campus between classes and fail to come back. This works because, being urban Appalachia, our buses come only once an hour and the routes run in circles rather than back and forth with the result that while going to university takes about seven minutes, coming home on the bus takes at least a half hour. It's faster to walk, which is what I do, but all those hills make me less eager to leave.

So far I haven't been anxious in classes, which is fantastic. This also makes me think that the anxiety will ebb as the semester goes on. It is, as is usual for me, the transitions between doing one thing and doing another that throw me. I quite understand the ancient obsession with Hermes and Mercury; the same sort of anxiety surrounding states of change has led to me attaching my St. Christopher medal to the inside of my school bag so that I can't forget to bring it with me and holding on to it when I feel particularly worried. It helps, even if he isn't officially a saint anymore.

Maybe I should strand myself at the library today. Either way, it's time for me to stop working on this and go look up sixteen more verbs that will all mean anger, death, plague or destruction. If the vocabularies of a language say anything about the people who spoke them, then the Greeks were very concerned with war and spirit and death. The same would make the Romans extremely passive aggressive for saying 'amabo te' for please: 'amabo te' means 'I will love you.' Can you imagine? Sometimes it would work better than our 'please'; if you were hanging from a cliff begging for help, it sounds stronger. But in everyday life? 'Would you please pass the butter' becomes 'Pass the butter and I will love you,' with the implication to my ears that a failure to pass the butter would result in the alienation of affection. Then again, this could just be a reflection of their much stronger sense of duties towards others. I wonder.

See how easy it is for me to distract myself? Off I go, now, truly this time.

1 comment:

  1. I have the exact same problems with the anxiety. I always assumed it was a separate issue to the bipolar (wrongly believing a typical bipolar to be brimming with self-confidence) but since I have been reading other blogs, i realise it is a fairly common sub-symtom. I'm impressed with your courageous strategies and stamina to carry them out. So many times I have gone into work/town with the intent of doing several things I need to do but running home in a panic after just one. I guess the advantage of this is that my desire to spend money when 'high' is curbed by the anxiety I experience in shops (although internet shopping is a danger!)
    Like you, I found it so difficult to prioritise and focus on the one thing during studies. I worked almost constantly but was forever chasing random tails and avoiding the main subject (fear of not being able to acheive the standard I wanted, not finishing etc). I found exams really traumatic and since our course was almost entirely exam based I am still in disbelief over how well I did in the end.
    However, the distractions are the best part of study. I would love to learn latin and have a couple of books but never seem able to input sufficient time or continuity to get very far. I'm OKish with scientific latin (that's part of my job) but, obviously, that's a different kettle of fish. I find myself loosing patience when students don't write it properly, don't use appropriate italics - that kind of thing. How can they not when I explain it and write examples on the board over and over!!
    'Please/I will love you' You're right. That would encourage an entire new area of opportunity for manipulation and with-holding affection. With certain folk (I'm thinking insurance clerks, certain doctors/psychiatrists and so on), just having to say please is humiliating enough!
    Hope you managed to get some work done.