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It’s a gorgeous day – warm and sunny. I’m still sitting at my desk, trying to ignore it, and failing miserably. I’m sick to my stomach with anxiety. I really do need to go outside and forget about everything for awhile.

But. My dissertation manuscript is due in a week.

I still have three chapters to edit and four more chapters for which I’m waiting on feedback from my advisor in order to finish editing. I still have to put together the appendices and smooth out some document formatting. Yes, it can be done. It’s actually not as bad as it might sound. The fact that I know that doesn’t help me get the work done. I’m sick of doing the tedious tasks that remain. I want very badly to finish this step, and yet I also lack the motivation to do it. This is a paradox that I really don’t understand.

Anxiety is getting under my skin.

Everything else that captures my interest gets done first because it’s actually interesting, which has terrible consequences. The pressure keeps building. The anxiety becomes unbearable. It feels like something in a horror or sci-fi movie where a spiky alien creature is moving about under my skin, feeding on my insides, and there’s no way to get it out without a strange, painful, and very risky extraction procedure .

I have no recourse to address this anxiety except working. I can’t take an anxiolytic that puts me to sleep, which rules out the prescriptions I have. I can’t resort to cannabis, which is perfect for these circumstances and extraordinarily effective without being handicapping, because being between psychiatrists means that I shouldn’t jeopardize a clean streak. I’m within an inch of buying a pack of cigarettes, even though I haven’t smoked in almost 9 years.

My sense of urgency is completely overwhelmed by the sheer boredom of dealing with these dull details plus my extremely limited attention span. Half of what I talked about with my therapist the other day was how to work under these conditions. Other than the drugs, I don’t have a good solution right now.

Please, please let this too pass.