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It's Not Easy - Confession 18

2014.07.28 12:41:30
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image Since I have no other ideas and my mind is once more bogged down with stressful thoughts I guess it's alright to write another rant about real life happenings for once.

For the last few months it's been exam preparation time! The exams start next week. There are nine of them and span over three weeks in total. Out of these nine I don't feel confident in a single one of them and for some of them I have not studied a single second so far.

It was rather clear to me since the end of the semester that I would not pass the exams, no matter how hard I studied. I simply slacked off too much… well, no, I didn't slack off, I just distributed my time really badly. I slacked off from studying, solving exercises and keeping up with the material, yes. But I did a lot of other work. This of course does not excuse my behaviour, but I'm not going to pretend like I did absolutely nothing. Either way, back to the point: I knew I wasn't going to pass. I had merely a single week available to study for each of the classes and that was less than half as much as I feel I would need to have a proper chance.

Given this I started trying to settle into a more calm mindset. I tried to come to terms with the fact that I would have to repeat the year. Being calm about the matter and not stressing myself out would also have the benefit of a better learning environment, so even if I did fail I would at least gain something out of the studying period without coming close to a complete breakdown. Now, this sounds like a great strategy in theory. There are, however, two crucial pitfalls.

First, it is extremely, ludicrously hard to convince myself that it is ok to fail. That it is ok to repeat the year, that it's ok to spend another year on this to try again, that it's perfectly fine not to worry. I don't know why it is so unbelievably difficult to accept that it is indeed fine and that fact by itself bothers me a lot. I'm just so very uptight about these kind of things and while I like to be the relaxed kind of ‘hey no biggie’-person, there is always a raging storm within me that occasionally breaks out and presents itself as heavy depressive moods. Thanks to my psychologist it's not that bad and I can usually talk things over with him to calm me down, but it's not enough and these breakdowns still happen every now and again.

Second, this does not guarantee that I'll actually be willing or motivated to study at all! And that's been the most difficult part for me, since regardless of how easy I can try to take things it still can't manage to make me study every day. And that in turn feeds my anxiety, which ups the stress and then destroys the relaxed mindset. It's… yeah, not easy. The first few weeks I was able to study regularly and things seemed to go well enough. However, the more I studied the more the realisation trickled into my mind that I would definitely, no way Jose, be able to do it with the time I had available to me while at the same time trying to keep stress to a minimum.

This incapability to accept defeat and to admit that it's fine to lose or that it doesn't matter in the first seems to be a trait that is rooted very strongly and very deep down in my psyche. If the stories my parents tell are to be believed I've been a perfectionist about everything since kindergarten. ‘Alright’ was never good enough and neither was ‘good’. I am ludicrously competitive about things and I have an instinctive reaction of shock and worry whenever someone enters my areas of expertise and interest. I immediately start freaking out and believing that they will be better than me in no time, regardless of how realistic this scenario is.

If you want to genuinely freak me out all you have to do is start showing independent interest in any area that I'm interested in or even just research something about it and then show me how I don't know anything. I have huge awe and fear of intellectual superiority and I despise nothing more than making a fool of myself. All of my most painful memories that haunt me are situations where I felt immensely embarrassed because I pretended to know more than I did. Whenever I talk about something I'm not very sure about I get afraid that someone who knows better will appear and figuratively punch me in the face by correcting me.

Knowing these things you can explain a lot of my behaviour. Why I'm so very hesitant about publicising my works, why art is so incredibly frustrating and pain inducing to me, why I can't stop working, and so on.

I'm even afraid of saying that any of these problems that I experience are a matter worth bothering others with. Who am I to know? Maybe most people have it even more difficult than I do, I genuinely don't know and I would hate to pretend that I do because it risks being very wrong. Sometimes I'd love to say that I'm mad without joking about it because that's often the only explanation I can find for my completely sub-optimal behaviour, but again, I really don't know if my troubles are in the least out of the ordinary or problematic. Not that classifying myself would make any difference whatsoever.

I'll stop myself here before I end up writing a masters thesis on why I'm dumb in blog format.

Written by shinmera