Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anxiety dreams...

I used to get anxiety dreams around once a week, especially during my first few years of grad school. I had a few last night, and realized that I haven't really had one in at least a year. While that's pretty awesome, I'm not thrilled about the prospect of them coming back.

Last nights anxiety dreams: 1. I was all set to go to a radiohead concert (Tangent- In real life I have tickets to a Radiohead concert next week! Hells yes!), and I couldn't find the tickets, and then when I found the tickets I couldn't find B, and then when I found B we got taken hostage by terrorists or something so we had to escape to get to the concert. Then when we finally got there it was too late and the concert was over. My dad featured prominently in this dream, especially when I was trying to find B.

2. I was teaching a summer class (not true) and I got interrupted and lost my place in a book of lesson plans (I don't have a book of lesson plans, I just carry the lesson plan for that day, but whatever), and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I was just in the middle of teaching, or find my place again. Then my students decided that since I had no idea what I was teaching, that meant they should critique me as a prof...and they kept saying things like I clearly don't know the material, I dress terribly, I'm too enthusiastic and they think that I'm insane...etc.

So back when I was having anxiety dreams like this at least once a week or more, I kept a pretty good dream journal in my other blog. And I started noticing some themes emerging, which have come out here. One theme is being prevented by outside sources from doing something I really need to do or really want to do (Ie radiohead concert). My dad usually always shows up in that dream, playing the roll of the person keeping me from doing what I want/need to do (Once I had a dream that I had to go rescue my cats from freezing to death, and my dad wouldn't give me a ride...stuff like that).

Another theme is giving a presentation of some sort and forgetting what I will say (ie dream #2). Some other stuff that has frequently shown up is my teeth falling out (classic freudian dream representing powerlessness), falling from high places, and being late to stuff (also in dream #1).

So there you have it internet, the things that give me anxiety. And anxiety dreams are always different from other types of dreams...they are always very clear and I can remember lots of details about them (unlike other dreams), they are always accompanied by a sense of anxiety, and I always have them when stressed out in a major way.

Things that are stressing me out right now:
1. Applying for professorship jobs and all the work involved with that (including writing cover letters, putting together teaching portfolios, writing up research and teaching statements, revising my CV for the upteenth time, and trying to come off in such a way that I rise above the 200 other people applying to each job I am applying to)

2. writing my dissertation- I have a year in which to write it. I have 2 months until I have to submit a fully written chapter to a conference that I have been accepted to. In those 2 months I also have to submit all my job applications, revise my syllabus for my class this semester, and I start teaching that class in less than a month (thankfully it's a class I've taught twice before though). I'm working on the data analysis part of my dissertation now, but it is slow going...and one of my advisers wants me to use this method (multi-state life tables) that I have no idea how to use, and every article I can find on it confuses the heck out of me. The other method I am using, I know a lot more about, but I want to read a book on it before starting that so that I am sure I am doing the method 100% correctly. I agreed to tutor another student on that method (event history analysis) in 2 weeks, and that is giving me motivation to learn more about it.

3. My officemate, and the stuff involved with changing offices. For the past two days we have not talked at all, just said Hi. While it is nice and peaceful, it is also tense and awkward at the same time. I haven't told her I am changing offices, and am hoping to quietly move while she is on vacation at the end of next week, so I don't have to deal with her. (Can't move till then anyways, cause the student in my new office hasn't moved out yet). But just seeing her every day, even though we are not talking (or maybe because of that) is stressed me out.

4. Wedding planning...we have booked a place, but have no plans for food or anything like that. And like a typical engaged couple, we've been fighting a bit over planning. Although the fights have been because neither of us really gives a shit about the food, and yet we feel obligated to provide it, and yet neither of us wants to plan things out, because we both don't give a shit. Last night I was basically like "Ok B if you don't plan the food stuff, then there will be no food, because I am already sick of planning stuff!" So we'll probably talk about that some more today...although compared to the last time I was engaged, when me and my ex fought pretty much every day, stuff with B is still going amazingly the point where I keep waiting of the other shoe to drop, and yet it seems there is no other shoe. We have had like a total of 4 fights since he moved in almost 4 months ago. 1 fight per month is a freakin amazing average I think. Especially because at least 3 of them have been really really stupid, and once we were both less tired/stressed out about other things, we realized how stupid they were.

5. I find out whether I have the BRCA1 mutation (as my dad does) on Monday.

6. I also didn't have a weekend this weekend cause I was at that conference, so I feel like I"ve been working every day for weeks with no break.

So my solution? Well I'm going to take the morning off from work (well, maybe I'll read up on a methodology book I have at home), go see Pineapple Express at noon with B (who has the day off), and then go into work around 2ish and work until 7 or 8 tonight. That way I don't feel guilty about not moving forward on my dissertation research cause I will do it later today, and I also will avoid seeing my officemate for most of the day, since she tends to come in early and leave around 4 or 5.

Yeah, now to go make a cup of tea and sit out on my porch and read my fascinating book, "Event history analysis with STATA"


  1. Pineapple express looks pretty kickass. I can't wait to see it.

    As for food, i'm going to convince my mom to bake u guys a cake, unless you want real food or something.

    i think if you tell all the guests it's pot luck, you'll get a lot of food. between motti and the rest, the menu will surely be eclectic.

    As for dreams, I don't remember them very often. Usually when I need work done on my car i have dreams about getting into an accident, like if i need new breakpads, I'll have a dream about losing control of my breaks and speeding off a cliff or something.

    Have you considered meditation? I find it helpful seomtimes to stop doing anything and just think. Cuddling up with a book is peaceful, but you're still distracting your mind. I find that meditating sometimes helps clear my head and lets me narrow my target on what needs to be done.

  2. I don't know if we're going to do it potluck-style anymore. The problem is that 90% of our guests are coming from out of town, and that B doesn't want his parents to feel 'left out' of the potluck...but since they are coming from really far away, if they would cook anything it would have to be in our tiny kitchen, and I don't know if I want to have people cooking things the day before our wedding..I think we will want to just chill out and not have to be on good behavior for his parents and stuff. :)

    I should do some meditating...or better yet, hit up a yoga class (which usually involves meditating at the end).


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