I’ve decided to give myself a little break. No dissertation work, or even thoughts about the dissertation. A dissertation vacation you might say.
Why? Because I don’t want to end up in the hospital again, away from my family. Because I don’t want to have a miserable year, caught in a slump that has me working at 50% instead of at 90%. Because I don’t want this to be that deep. That serious. Serious enough to sacrifice my health.
I got some advice from a professional woman I respect very highly that I should consider taking a year off to get better, to truly heal. What’s the worse that would happen? She recounted how black women tend to work themselves into the ground, knowing they need help but refusing to ask for it, knowing they need time off but unable to admit that need.
A year off, or rather a year added, would be divine. A year to collect data and then a year to write it up would be fantastic. Sometimes I feel robbed of a year by getting the JD, because I have to fit all of my dissertating in one year. But it is what it is. And I don’t have another year. There’s only this.
So instead of a year, I’m taking ten days. Ten days to run, to do yoga, to paint, to nap, to cook and to pray. Praying being most important. To let The Lord hear the cries of my heart for healing. To be able to meditate on the word where Jesus invites me to lay my burden on him and instead take up his burden, which is remarkably lighter.
Sometimes I don’t feel deserving and that stops me, but then I remember that none of us are deserving. I’m not special. I’m. Not. Special. That thought both calms and terrifies me. It both relieves anxiety and ramps it up.
Today another person I respect told me he was proud of me. I shook my head, and said thanks, and then he said, “you have a lot of things to be proud of.” Depression and anxiety make those words dead. But I’m committed to breathing life into them. As I run, as I asana, as I paint and as I pray, I’m breathing life into those words.