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2008-01-11 - 1:08 p.m.

...the blues...

This morning I woke up with the blues. Sad enough to contact a couple of my colleagues and ask if the same thing happened to them. This morning I just felt overwhelmed with this sense that science is going to pass me by (if it hasn't already). I just felt very sad, and left behind (after four days of maternity leave..)

As a neurotic scientist, I'm used to feelings of inadequacy...they never go away, and you just have to accept them as the demons of being an academic. Your work is never done, and so accepting this life means accepting that there are many times when your work day just cannot end at five pm. And in fact, you rarely if ever have the sensation of completion, or the sensation that you are accomplished, or the sensation that you will be able to do something the right way, because you've never tried it before.

I usually describe those demons as knowing that the water is cold, but you need to jump in anyway if you want to have the feeling of reaching the other side. The water doesn't get any warmer but you have to get through it. People frequently credit me with having a lot of confidence - it isn't true - it's only that I jump in the water even though I know what it is, and even when I don't like it. But I guess, coupled with a big life change, my anxiety feels a little different this morning...and it's hard to stay positive.

It didn't help to learn that I've been removed from the steering committee and proposal of an international project - one that I had originally spearheaded. And now they are going on to the next phase without me. It's no longer my baby. You know, I don't even really WANT to be part of it; and in fact, I don't have TIME to be part of it. But it's got me feeling upset, because I feel left behind. A part of me feels like it has been orchestrated in such a way to exclude me. Given that my former boss is involved, there may be some element of truth to this. But it's also probably scientific paranoia on my part.

But I think it's more than this whole international project thing. It's anxiety about where I'm going. And whether I'm ever going to get there in time. It's not like any other maternity leave - I need to keep up or be left behind.

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