I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the future, and I’m a little lost.
See, I have come to realize that there are four environmental triggers for my depression:
- Stress (getting away from grad school should help with that)
- Lack of sunlight (moving to California should help with that)
- Being alone
- Too much unstructured time
Now, while it is true that I will (finally) be moving in with my husband, I will also not be working outside the home once I get to CA. Therefore, I will be trading spending around 8 hours with people followed by 5 hours of being alone a day for around 8 hours alone and 5 hours with my husband a day. Also, instead of having a job where people actually expect me to show up and do work, I will have absolutely no obligation to do any one thing at any specific time. In other words, I will have alone time and unstructured time coming out my ears.
So, it occurred to me that, in order to prevent myself from becoming unhinged (again), I need a plan for my time in CA. I need to build a structure into my day and I need to make sure that I am either around people or talking on the phone to people or in some way interacting with people while my husband is at work. Also, my psychiatrist has been trying to get me to exercise for years, and exercise is suppose to help your mood, so I am planning on working out three times a week (which will bring me in contact with people).
And then, there’s my thesis.
After brainstorming about what I need to do, looking up times and locations for things like knitting groups and churches and locating a Curves, I sat down with Google calendar and started putting together a weekly schedule, keeping in mind that I need to get sunlight, interact with people, and have a structure for my day every weekday. Additionally, I wanted to make sure I continue to do all of the little things I find helpful, like being creative (with knitting and other crafts), keeping in touch via email, reading and writing blogs, and reading books. And, I decided that working on my thesis for four hours a day wouldn’t be too stressful. I also decided that I would get up when my husband gets up in the morning, that I wouldn’t work on my thesis or read blogs after he comes home (cuz the whole point of living together is to actually spend time interacting with each other) and that I wanted to make an effort to prepare and eat healthy meals.
Folks, there is not enough time in the day for all of this crap. Seriously. I tried fitting it all together within the above guidelines and it just doesn’t work. Which leads me to wonder:
- Will I have to choose between staying sane and finishing my thesis in under a year?
- If I really need to do all of that crap to stay sane, will I ever be able to work 40 hours/week again?
- If I can’t work 40 hours/week, what the hell am I going to do with my life?
- How do I fit into society if I’m prohibited from working full time?
These questions have led me to further wonder: what is my role when I am no longer a grad student and a bench scientist? What the hell will I be? I’m hoping a mom. But that might not happen right away. In the meantime, I’ll just be a woman with a PhD who can’t work 40 hours/week because she will go off the deep end. In summary, if I am at a cocktail party and a person asks me, “So, what do you do?” what will my answer be?
I have no clue.