It’s 5:00 am on a Thursday morning. I can’t sleep.
And it’s not stress that’s stopping me from sleeping. It’s my own ridiculousness.
On Sunday morning, I slept in, like every other student does. This meant that it was after 3:00 am before I got to sleep on Sunday night. I was up at 6:45 to be at work for 8:00. I was very tired in work as a result, and I didn’t really bother going to college afterwards. I did pop my head in to our PhD office to see if anyone was there. They weren’t. My supervisor did spot me and we had an awkward chat outside the Gents’ before I bolted.
I went home for a “quick nap” at 12:00 midday. I woke at 4:00, having missed an appointment for a service on the car. When the garage rang, I was very naughty and claimed that I’d thought I was booked in for next Monday. I’m totally going to Hell.
After sleeping till 4:00 pm, I wasn’t able to sleep at all on Monday night, and I got to work at 10:00 am, beginning to feel very drowsy. I did go to college afterwards, had another stressful but necessary conversation with my supervisor and lunch with my PhD buddies and then came home. I slept from 3:00 pm to 7:00. I got up and watched the final of the Great British Bake Off (“You won’t get up to study or to get your car serviced, but you’ll get up for reality TV?” “Yes. That’s exactly how it is.”) and was asleep again at 10:00 pm.
I woke at 2:00 am, feeling fresh. I read and ate and made plans for an amazing day. I was going to study my ass off and get back into exercising. I was going to be a New Connor and Wednesday would be my day. But then I got sleepy again at 9:00 am, climbed back into bed and slept till 2:00 pm. I’ve more or less eaten since then. Now I have a severe case of indigestion and an unsurprising case of insomnia.
So, I’ve finally come clean to my supervisor about where I really am with my PhD. I also gave him a print-out of this blog, which resulted in a fairly hilarious conversation. I was giving it to him so that he’d understand me better, but mainly because it’s part of the PhD. I can’t write about masculinity and not describe my own masculinity and I can’t write about the Boys and not describe my relationship with them. So it all made sense in my head. And I gave it to him, vaguely expecting him to be excited and he was all “Dude, why are you giving me your diary?” and I got in absolute knots trying to tell him why. I think he now has a clearer idea of what a blog is, but I don’t think he has a clue why my blog is sitting on his desk. I’ve asked one of the other PhD students to bring it up casually the next time they meet. Sigh. By the way, he didn’t call me “Dude” except in my head, but the rest of the conversation is true.
Having told my supervisor the real situation with my PhD – that I haven’t done a tap of work since July, and having told him about my “incidents” before finishing secondary school and before finishing my degree, he has more or less ordered me to go to the Doctor. I am to consider taking a semester or a year off and I am to do whatever the doctor tells me.
Having spectacularly failed in my latest weightloss attempt, I had decided to go to a doctor about that anyway.
So. I’m off down a familiar track. On Monday, I’m going to talk to a doctor about “feelings”. Bollix.
It doesn’t help that I have absolutely no faith in psychiatry. Sure, it’s science. But so was alchemy. To my mind it’s basically peer-reviewed magick. But it’s what the world dictates and who am I to question the world?
I know I need help. But I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to take time off college. That would mean freezing my scholarship, and working or going on the dole. It might mean giving up my favourite element of my professional self, which is my job and my flat in Hall. It would mean not going to the conferences I’d planned to go to, not lecturing the class I’m due to take. And I’m really looking forward to teaching at this level. I love the teaching I do when I teach English, but this is a chance to stand up and talk about what it is that makes us human, and that thought excites me.
I have a lot to lose. 2012 has been a magical year. I’m a different person to the one who started this PhD.
I now have a PhD that I’m passionate about and that I believe has the potential to matter. I now have a more honest relationship with my family, having come out. I have a more honest relationship with myself, willing to experiment with my female side. After allowing my sexuality to slowly die off, I had my first kiss in four years, and I keep putting myself out there, getting rejected and going back out again, like I haven’t done in years. I have swum unaided for the first time in my 31 years. I have redrawn my social life. I went from having no gay male friends in Ireland to having at least three different groups of gay friends. I have gone from being anonymous in college to being at the centre of the social life of my department and made wonderful friends in the process. I have returned to work with one of the finest and funnest groups of teachers in the world. I have my Boys. I have run five kilometres. I have run eight kilometres. I have become an Assistant Warden and am doing a job I love in a place I love and I get a free flat I love out of it. I have started playing with my image.
I have found so much joy.
So I’m going to ask for help, but I’m going to try my best not to run away from my life, or to take time out from my life, because it’s one of the best lives around.