cold leftovers (how the hell do I ever get essays done?)

April 24, 2013

I swear, the issue isn’t so much the hard work necessary on essays or even the subject of the essay itself as it is the same uneasy, coiling fear I find so hard to tamp back down. I’m not sure what it is I’m afraid of- failure? starting? the vast unknown? lack of control? lack of understanding as to the right way to go about essaying, and thus fear? generalised anxiety associated with the concept of essays built through high school and one panic-attack-laden university degree?

unsure, but it’s the hardest thing to deal with. most of the time I spend on essays is spent primarily on making myself unafraid enough to tackle them, and it takes the most work and the most distraction and the most courage-bolstering and the most- everything. it’s always the worst aspect to any form of essay-writing I’ve done since at least the beginning of university. I don’t know how other people handle it. do other people even have this?

like seriously, as soon as I find myself having to work on an essay, there it is- anxietyanxietyanxiety and it’s really hard to work and concentrate on things when your brain is pingponging frantically off every nearby surface in a low-level susurrus of fear. and then the next however long is devoted to carefully winding myself down, which follows thus:

being physically mindful: making sure I’ve eaten enough, that I’ve drunk enough tea, that I’m physically prepared, that I’m drinking water and not too tired, that I’m breathing properly and deeply, that my feet are planted on the floor, and if it gets particularly awful that I’m physically aware of my own body.
and then emotional work: listening to enough soothing, enveloping choral music to uncoil me a little (Lauridsen’s contre qui, rose is an excellent example of this- there’s a reason I mention it often), and then maybe writing myself a pep-talk or a blog post on the subject to talk myself down (see: this post), and if I’m still stressed, trying to unknot those particular stressors in a separate document, preferably while breathing deeply.

and then if it’s subsided enough, the next bit consists of either ballsing my way through a bit with a lot of shouting and capslock in the hopes that my momentum will propel me through to the other side, or switching on the Sensible Brain which sits on the rest of me until it shuts up, and then lays out, very sensibly, a list of things to follow and then we trundle gently along taking one very small thing at a time while trying very hard to ignore the bits that are low-level screaming.

mostly a combination of the two works. mostly the sensible brain manages to hold off the hoard of fretting-invaders, although that only really works for a few hours at a time. but god it’s hard.


nrgggh. okay. I’m going to go work on this essay and try to breathe deeply while doing so.

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