Monday, November 5, 2012

Molecular Biology Blues

I've been in a pit lately.

I can't recall when it started...  A month ago?  Two months?  It's irrelevant.  Basically I've been experiencing a marked increase in the pressure I've been receiving from the boss in terms of how much work I'm getting done.  Additionally, he's been getting almost shrill in his complaints (bolstered to a large degree by confirmation bias) about how much people are working in general.  He says "Every time I leave my office, I look to see if the lights are on in the lab and they're always off, nobody ever works late."  The most recent time he said this to me I snapped at him that it was total crap because excluding the night I left early (8:00 pm) to do laundry, I was in late every night that week.

This is not hyperbole... I'm working late almost every night, I'm coming in at least one day on the weekend, sometimes both.  Excluding a few late-evening beers with friends, a few hours of errands,  a brief visit with my parents and friends in Canada, and a hurricane-induced day off, I've been doing nothing but coming to this lab for the past couple of months.

I haven't been climbing.

I haven't been lifting.

And hence, I'm sinking into a pit.

While I was doing my PhD, I learned that climbing regularly did a massive amount of good to keep me mentally and emotionally healthy.  Truthfully, I don't think I'd have ever made it through the degree without that outlet.  I think it's not just the physical release (although it really does a lot more good for me than I'd ever have predicted), but while I'm climbing I'm having a nano-vacation from work in that at the moment I'm climbing, I really can't be thinking about anything else.  I have also been suspecting that I was getting a comparable thing when doing my heaviest lifts (although I know that my need for focus is more tenuous when I'm doing lower-weight reps).

So now I don't have these releases thanks to work pressure.  I could scream about how the students here are putting in far less time and effort that I am (true), and that it's completely ridiculous that so much is resting on my shoulders (probably true), and the boss is being an unfair asshole judging me by the standards he chooses to apply to his own overweight, high-blood-pressured, high-cholesterolled, pre-diabetic self (just whining now), but the screaming isn't going to get me anywhere better.

My old-school coping mechanisms of drinking excessively and stress-eating are also not going to get me anywhere better.

What I have to do is just simply dig my heels in and go climbing and go lifting whether the boss bloody well likes it or not.  I had every intention of doing that starting today (!!!), but of course, just as I was sorting out my gym gear so I could go lift, the boss wandered into the lab to chat with me about what I was doing and now I'm staying late again and waiting on one of the students who needs me to help him do stuff he's not familiar with.  I'm also guessing that by the time I'm done here (after an 11 hour day), I won't have the energy to go into the evening gym crowd to fight for a squat rack.  Heck, I've barely got the energy to wait on the student anymore.

But seriously.... I feel like crap.  I'm tired, my lungs are lousy, I'm dipping into lowers moods at increasing frequency, and I'm losing faith in myself.

I know this is just a big self-pity dump, and I can completely understand people having zero patience for this sort of thing, but I needed to bleat for a bit.  I also need, really badly, a little encouragement to get back into the gym.  I'm scared that all the progress I've made has completely wasted away and that I'll have to start from zero all over again.


  1. oh my gosh, haven't been here in a bit, but girl! We are gonna get you back in the gym! Move move move! Also, you're priority. I do not give a damn what job you have, you're priority. Figure out how to make them think the job is priority, and make your physical stuff your priority. I'm not even kidding, it's that simple, it's what I do, it's fanastic.

    But get back in the gym NOW. You'll feel good again as soon as you do. Okay? You'll stop beating up on yourself as SOON as you go in there and do a session. Just get in the car and don't have any other goals or priorities but getting there. Or, okay, maybe not a car, if you don't drive/have a car, but get there.

    I'm happy you got back into bouldering a bit recently, that will absolutely help.

    1. thank you! I really appreciate this. I need a few people hounding me to get back into the gym and stay there, just until the mood lifts and I've got the self-motivation happening again.

      So happy that you're out there!