In August, I wrote a post about how little time I have due to the large number of commitments I always make. And I think the fact that nobody has realised quite how unreliable I am, is testament to the masking skills I perfected in the latter years of secondary school. Because I’ve been almost burnt out for years.
It’s the second day of term today, and I’ve already almost passed out, took an unscheduled nap and feel thoroughly fed up. While I don’t sign up to do stuff I don’t enjoy (aside from the degree itself), that does not negate how tired it all makes me. I ought to quit something, but I almost always regret it when I do.
I don’t hate my degree subject, for all I say. But while I was brilliant at maths at school, I’ve struggled at university. It’s affected my self-esteem, and however interesting I might find the subject, I struggle to enjoy it just by virtue of disappointment in my grades. And then I feel guilty for not enjoying it as my lecturers are lovely and I don’t want to let them down.
By the end of last semester, I was struggling to survive. Between seven committees, university, and my untreated depression, things kept going from bad to worse. In December, I saw a doctor and started on antidepressants. Combined with a month-long holiday from university, I managed to relax and things got better.
Now I’m back, and the cycle is starting again. Throughout the semester, I teeter on the edge of burnout, pushing myself to the edge and over. I frequently don’t know how bad it is until it’s too late. I want to break this cycle but I don’t know how to do so without quitting what I like (such as the Doctor Who society) to focus on what I hate (like job applications).
Since my depression started, I’ve reached burnout earlier and earlier. I’m hoping with treatment for that, I can extend the time before I reach it and get to the end of the semester. There’s no guarantees though. It’s my final semester, and I’m hoping so much that things will get better once I’m away from this place.
I think I try and keep myself busy to distract myself from all the bad memories here. At the end of my third year (this is my fourth), a bunch of stuff happened and while I’m here I am constantly reminded of all my mistakes. There has been a lot of good at university too, but I just want it to be over now.
Which brings me to my main point. I will get everything for all my committees done, and usually on time. But at the expense of my studies. I almost never study enough, because I’m so exhausted with all the other stuff. Perhaps it would be different if I was studying something else, but perhaps it would not.
I am stuck in this cycle of pushing myself, burnout, rest, push, burnout, rest. I don’t think it will ever stop. I don’t think it can stop, without sacrificing all my interests. And I think the most challenging barrier to ending the cycle is that I’m not quite sure I want to.