When depression or anxiety begin to emancipate themselves from my psyche, they often appear as the Hulk of roadblocks. Some, more than others, are their own worst enemy and I am one of some.
Life consists of anything from menial tasks to larger endeavors all requiring a degree of focus, willpower, and follow through. It isn’t to say that I lack any of those, as in fact I have them in abundance when something piques my interest and curiosity and I can’t help but dive headlong into the deep end until I all but drown from saturation. It’s the musts and needs and have-tos where my overly developed sense of autonomy becomes more of a hindrance than a help. Current example: graduate school.
I’m more than excited about graduate school. I can’t stand the idea of waiting even the 3 years to finishing my PhD and grow deep roots into academia. I have a multitude of ideas and theories and concepts I want to question, research, explore, uncover. Whether or not we discover the secret inner workings through brain mapping at UCLA, or we simply embark on a philosophical journey questioning the ethics of treating depression in the brilliant, the questioning is a huge drive for me. I have NEVER stopped asking why. I am still in awe of those that believe the debate of nature versus nurture is still remotely on the table. At every turn, it’s clear there is no versus. I witness a perpetual exhibition of genetic influence colliding with environment. Can’t it be that the debate is over? There is no winner, but a tie even if lopsided one way or another.
In some ways I’m an example of both nature and nurture perpetuating each other. However, my roadblocking Hulk remains a byproduct of self more likely through nature than nurture. There is an undercurrent of physical discomfort that often accompanies the psychological turmoil. In how this relates to graduate school, my roadblock is there before I even begin. I am stopping myself. My references are stellar and awaiting my go ahead, I am schooled and prepped for furthering my education, and clicking submit is all that is really left. Except for the pesky and dreaded statement. I’ve written my share of theses on research design. I have written 10+ page papers on the globalization of Ireland… I have 12 chapters of fiction written and awaiting completion… But how do you impart yourself to a committee that will decide your future? I want to go to your school because, where else? Now let me in. I’m awesome. There have been a thousand versions and formulations of my statement of purpose and they all seem so completely droll and self-important and puffed. The perfectionist in me will NEVER send in ANY statement of purpose because it will never be complete, right, or ready.
How do you summarize the best of yourself into 600 words on paper,when you could summarize your goals and enthusiasm in person with what is more than likely over inflated confidence? I have outlines, I have streams of consciousness, and I have nothing that doesn’t sound like an essay about nothing they don’t already know. The Hulk could at least help bat me around a bit and hopefully jostle something loose that might sound like something other than pompous prose. But I beat myself up enough already when aiming for perfection.