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cry baby

exhaustion and health stuff

Posted on 2008.09.03 at 18:56
over the past 4 weeks i've gotten progressively more exhausted and now i'm really starting to get worried.

while i was somehow able to pull it together to get through work the last few days, when i haven't been working i just crash. i feel so sluggish and unable to do anything beyond basic living stuff. i have almost constant nausea and hot flashes. i was convinced first that my hormones were all outta whack. then, once that was ruled out, i thought it was a thyroid issue, or maybe anemia. with both those ruled out, i resigned myself to believing that it's just 'simple' exhaustion, that it would resolve with a bit of rest.

but, over the past two days since i stopped working, things have not gotten better and, in fact, i feel worse! what's most odd, is that my body just feels 'off'. i have sore, swollen lymph nodes all over my body; i also went to the doctor today and he looked a bit concerned and is sending me for an ultrasound and x-rays... which really scares me. what is going on?

i'm trying to relax but i'm really bad at it. i actually don't really know what it's like to really relax, i think. i've lived my whole life in a state of hyper-vigilant stress, always expecting that someone will attack me - i owe it to day in constant torment in high school and pretty much the whole time i was growing up. of course, this is all residual trauma; it is something that i need to shed. now, nothing ever happens: in virtually all circumstances i have my conditional cis privilege but i still feel like something, somwhere, by someone is going to happen.

of course this is not the only stress in my life, but it's a significant (and constant one). my thesis is the other

my thesis.

what a giant clusterfuck.

i wish they handed out brochures when you start grad school, especially if you're a keener, with tips that tell you what the fuck not to do.

do not do more work than requred should be the first pointer.

the second should be to check your personal baggege and need to 'prove yourself' at the door.

the third should be don't choose a thesis topic that's the most personal and piercing work you could possibly do.

sitting iwth these interviews, transcribing them, analysing them, trying to make sense of them, trying to distil it into an 'academic' work that simultaneously can be used for social change. that's really fucking hard.

for those that don't know or may not have remembered: i'm doing my thesis work with trans youth in ontario, looking at the systemic barriers they experience as they transition. i did 20 interviews which, for a masters is unheard of and more than most people would consider doing for their PhD.

it's been a project that has gone on for over 2 years now in my head and, in reality over the past year and a half. this work needs to seriously end and end soon. the work simultaneously is boring and traumatizing. it's something that i've been working on fro too long and issues that are also far too close from me to ever seriously do justice to. one should never combine the personal, political, and academic in this sort of way.

to get through this i've cleared most everything else off my plate (relatively i suppose cause i'm still doing a bunch of stuff) so that this will be my 'full-time' work. realistically, i can work effectively in 2.5 hour stints so if i do two of those a day then i'll hopefully see progress as the weeks pass.

i'm also going to give myself weekends. yes. weekends. i feel indulgent. that's fucked up.

i have to cancel my trip to new york cause i really don't think that spending two full days over the next week is something that's really gonna help my body right now. it sucks, it really really sucks. this whole summer just feels like things conspire to make any fun thing an impossibility.

i hope that i'll be well enough to make a trip to new york in the fall. and then a trip out west in the winter sometime, once i'm post-thesis. :)


queerasmoi at 2008-09-04 02:00 (UTC) (Link)
I know that sometimes stress can hit the immune system hard... maybe your body's finally fighting something off?

In any case I hope the docs figure things out. If something feels wrong, check it out. With me it's often turned out to be nothing, but with my cousin in NYC and my roommate in Vancouver it turned out to be serious.
imago_01 at 2008-09-04 03:44 (UTC) (Link)
Your symptoms remind me a lot of some stuff I had when I was getting ready to take my MA exam-- I think I had everything except the hot flashes. It seems highly likely that your thesis is suppressing your immune system, so to speak. If you can, maybe take a weekend to give yourself permission-- no, force yourself-- to do nothing but indulge in utterly mindless activities and sleep. Don't just not work-- do nothing even remotely resembling work. Maybe that will give your immune system a chance to bounce back a little and your body can start to heal.

In any case, hope you feel better soon.
splinterjete at 2008-09-04 18:44 (UTC) (Link)
my thesis is supressing my immune system. that's hilarious but painfully insightful and likely quite accurate.
splinterjete at 2008-09-04 18:39 (UTC) (Link)
i hope that things get better (and that there's nothing to 'find out'). but yeah, totally not gonna be silly and take chances. thanks for the lovin...

moondaughter20 at 2008-09-04 04:57 (UTC) (Link)
Stress is probably the most damaging thing to our bodies. It's hugely underestimated still.
At least you seem to be aware of your tendencies. So you're on the right track.
It does sound like you're burnt out. Burn out can be very serious and can take awhile to recover from, so by all means 'chillax' as much as you can.
Even if your tests come back with something or another, stress is still often the triggering event. I hope you can find some new ways of releasing because it's pretty hard to avoid the pressures, esp when you're writing a thesis. It's how we allow ourselves to be affected that matter.

Rest when you can and know it's needed, not indulgent.

Kate Lamothe
mindtheft at 2008-09-04 14:01 (UTC) (Link)
I second that! Rest is definitely needed at times and I think we tend to forget that when we're in the thick of it! Either way, your thesis sounds amazing...you ARE going to produce academic social change, even if it takes you longer than you originally planned!

Wow, seriously you are strong and beautiful woman! Every post you make just makes me want to either give you a big hug or a big high five and tell you to "go grrrl!"

Breathe, pamper yourself (weekends are a good start!), and keep telling yourself that you ARE in the process (albeit tedious) of creating social change.


P.S. I'm thinking of coming back to Toronto some time soon, maybe as a celebration to myself if I get this H&H job! Let's me up k?
splinterjete at 2008-09-04 18:36 (UTC) (Link)
yes yes yes! come to toronto! and make sure to drop me a line before you're coming so we can link up - do you have places to stay here cause i've got a big room a couch that you're welcome to settle into.

thanks for the amazing strong words. gonna tack them on my wall and store them in my heart.

splinterjete at 2008-09-04 18:37 (UTC) (Link)
so true. i'm gonna start searching for those new ways to release STAT. thanks love...

(Deleted comment)
splinterjete at 2008-09-04 18:35 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Get well soon!

thank-you sweety. how about a short-ish bike ride and lunch on saturday? :)

(Deleted comment)
splinterjete at 2008-09-04 19:53 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Get well soon!

yes! lets get coffee (cause nothing happens for me before that) and bike down there on saturday morningish... say 10?

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