I have a relatively minor problem that has been eating me up inside for the last couple of weeks and I have finally decided to bring it to the blog, if only to just get some thoughts down somewhere about it.
Several months ago, I signed up for Science Online 2010, aka the science blogging conference, even though I’m not as into science blogging as I once was.
See, I have this problem. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Nothing sounds good. Things that once interested me, such as science education and outreach, have little appeal for me these days. But then, nothing really appeals to me anymore. I think, I hope, that it is a lingering symptom of the depression. That possibility is more appealing to me than the idea that I have completely lost all the ambition I ever had.
Related aside: This complete lack of ambition and motivation is distressing. Wait, that’s too mild a term. It is completely, absolutely one of the most fucking upsetting things ever in the worst possible way and makes me cry buckets everytime I think about it which is frequently. Like right now, for instance. It also makes writing my thesis terribly challenging directly and indirectly. Since I’ve lost all of my ambition, I have no ambition to get a PhD and I have no ambition to get a job which means I have no use for a PhD which reinforces my lack of ambition to finish my PhD. Frankly, just about the only thing motivating me to write my thesis at the moment is the horrifying thought of telling everyone who knows me that, despite being less than one hundred pages and one public talk and one private grilling away from getting my PhD, I have just up and quit.
Right, back to my dilemma. So, you would think that, what with not being interested in science outreach, education, or just science in general (or anything at all for that matter), I would not want to go a conference about science online and science education and science journalism. But, since I’m not interested in anything at the moment, I am holding out hope that one day I will again find things interesting and one of those things will be science outreach and education and in the event of that happening, it would behoove me to go to this conference. In fact, I have been hoping that this conference would spark something in me and I would start to feel jazzed about science stuff again. I am hoping that this conference will revitalize me and I will once again be a person who cares about science and outreach and education.
So, what’s the problem? Money.
Ever since I found out I will need to pay tuition for my last quarter, I have been freaked out about money. This has gotten worse due to medical expenses and being unsure of exactly how much our insurance will pay and there is a high deductible. And, of course, going to the conference is an unnecessary expense (I’m paying for it out of my own pocket, of course). So, now I wonder if I should be going or not, knowing that I have no real interest in any career at all and maybe once I do have an interest in a career, it won’t be science-related (though, logically, that seems unlikely).
So, I worry. I think about whether or not I should be going to the conference every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep (if you think I’m exaggerating about that, I assure you I am not). I am filled with anxiety because I know that if I am going to cancel I need to have done it yesterday because there is a waiting list for people to attend. If I cancel, it will still cost some money because it will cost money to change my airline tickets. And, if I cancel, I will lose this opportunity to potentially become revitalized.
If I don’t cancel, then, of course, it will cost more money than if I do cancel. My husband assures me that we can afford for me to go to the conference. I should just accept this. He handles the money matters in the marriage and he’s very money conscious (which is why he handles the money matters; please no comments on whether it’s appropriate for a liberated woman to allow her husband to handle all of the money concerns for her, I have enough to deal with). So, I should just believe and trust him and stop worrying, but I can’t quite bring myself to do that. What if there is an unexpected medical expense and our insurance won’t cover it? What if there is a problem with the car? What if we get pregnant and we need the money for the baby because, well, babies cost money? What if we really should put that money into savings or a retirement fund because I have almost no money set aside for retirement and when I get to be 65 I have no money to live off of because I never was able to get a job because I never recovered my ambition and there’s no family to take care of me because we were never able to have kids? What if I go and I have a horrible time and I have so much anxiety, I can’t leave my hotel room? What if I don’t go and I never recover my ambition and I always wonder if I could have been revitalized by the conference? What if I go and regret it? What if I don’t go and regret it? What if, what if, what if??????? The What Ifs become more and more far-fetched and unrelated but they just keep popping up in my mind over and over and over again until I go crazy from it. Literally.
So, I worry. Should I go, should I not go? Every night. Every morning. Most afternoons. I make a decision and then am immediately filled with so much anxiety that it’s the wrong one, I think I’m on the edge of a panic attack. So, I have to calm myself down by not thinking about it. But, I have to think about it because if I’m not going to go, I need to tell someone now.
God, I am so screwed up. Somebody stop the crazy train. I would like to get off it.