I have had a strange and glum week. I have been struck each day with that horrible lassitude of being overwhelmed, where there is just too much on your plate to do any of it, and so you stare at the wall instead. I have been struck with a crisis of conscience, thinking that I am not making progress, that I am a fraud, that I do not belong in science and should not persevere in searching for an academic position. Staring at the wall in defiance of my to-do list leads to the perception of not making progress becoming reality, and the sense of impending doom spirals from there.
I am usually someone who looks in the mirror and thinks “hey you, looking good!”, who finishes a piece of work and thinks “nicely done”. I am a touch arrogant, and I am certainly well-equipped to provide positive feedback in the absence of any other feedback (I don’t know how anyone could make it through grad school without a healthy command of this coping mechanism).
Then I remembered I was taking progesterone.
Progesterone makes me moody and glum and lowers my coping mechanisms. I’ve documented it pretty well by now. I spent the whole weekend watching ridiculous things on the internet and reading book 5 of Game of Thrones, which helped, though did not address my (admittedly not-that-big-or-scary) to-do list.
New dilemma: will the happiness derived from successfully incubating a human counteract the despair-inducing effects of heightened progesterone should I ever conceive? It’s going to be a weird nine months if not.