A few weeks ago I posted about being ambivalent about the start of the school year. I was hoping that by now I'd have found my rhythm and that the rhythm and routine of the school year would help me feel better about all things school-related.
Well, I'm still waiting for the ambivalence to disappear.
I don't feel good about myself right now, about being back at school, even about being in social situations with my friends. I'm usually fairly outgoing among my friends and co-workers. Lately? I hide in my office unless I absolutely have to talk to someone, and when I'm out with friends I'm strangely quiet. I just don't know what to say or how to engage with people right now. I'm slow returning emails and phone calls. I feel like I have to try really hard to be social and "interesting" to people. I feel like I just complain all the time---maybe that's why I'm reluctant to engage with people I care about.
School-wise, my confidence is at an all-time low about my teaching. I'm teaching some really great stuff to some really interesting students, and one of my courses has a ton of buzz around it (but interestingly, only from people outside my department). But my brain has chosen to play, in an infinite loop, all the negative things that my colleagues have said about my teaching. As a result, I find myself starting to do some really unhealthy things, like overprepare for class, stress about things beyond my control, and second-guess every pedagogical decision I make.
I thought I was hiding this fairly well, but yesterday a colleague I'm really close to pulled me aside and said "You do not look happy. Something is definitely wrong. Tell me what's up." And it was then that I realized that I've been in denial about this stuff for a long time now, and that I had to do something to make me feel like I have some semblance of control over my work life, which is where I think this all originated in the first place.
So for now, I'm in a funk. I'm trying to find my way out of it, muddling through life for now. I'm not sure how long I'll be here, or if this is just a temporary thing or one that will linger. Hopefully I'll figure this all out soon.