Thursday, November 9, 2006

Sleepless in Roann

I think sleep has gone out of style.

At least, amoung Manchester College professors it has. I belive quite firmly that they all meet in the Winger Conference room at the start of each semester in order to give me as many oral progects as possible, all scheduled within the same week. Tuesday I taught two classes, Thursday I taught one, and Monday I will teach another. All this ought to be accomplished simultaneously with a massive feature article covering the retirement of an English professor, an independent film script I must draft, and the fact that National Novel Writing Month has arrived.

I must pen a 10,000 word novel in the short span of this month alone.

At least I have a plan for the book. The rest of those projects are being thrown together with a manic flair I only achieve when I am moments from having a panic attack. And this week, I have had several. Nothing seems to be moving as smoothly as I like it to. This leads to the traditional problem I am plagued with: perfection.

Who told me I needed to be perfect? I wish I could find out so that I could make them pay. Only at the height of stress do I feel the need hovering at the edge of consciousness. Usually, the feeling is more subtle. An extra five minutes before the mirror, an hour more of research, a chance to clean the kitchen, the living room, to wash the car, to do laundry, anything to make life easier for those around me at the expense of myself. But anxiety from other activities makes this troubling. Instead of feeling remorse that I cannot be more of a help, I feel guilt at being a burden.

I grew up thinking that as a child, one is worthless. You have to earn your place in the world by working hard at everything you do and impressing people by appearing to be more mature than you are. As a result, I was more an adult at the age of ten than most of my peers are today. I prefered studying and reading to sleepovers or parties, I never went out for any reason unless my parents escorted me. This trend continued until the age of eighteen, when I started going places out of the need to make my mother feel as if I was normal, though I feel quite strongly I am not.

I have never met an agorophobic, but I identify with them. I feel myself to be a functional agorophobic, horrified to leave my home and family but forcing myself to comply with societal constraints that depress and aggravate me. Then I feel guilty for not feeling desire to go out. Medicine made me want activity, but the attempt I made to live without the medicine has placed me in the same category as previously. I never want to be exposed. I don't feel safe. I shut myself in empty rooms on campus and focus on silence. I feel utterly apart from the boistrous classmates surrounding me. In times like these, I feel that I am a wonderful student who is also a below-average human being.

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