ho hum

*warning* rant ahead…

The Black Dog came to visit last week, and hasn’t thought about leaving yet. It’s the worst turn I’ve had in months and my poor Magpie is being really patient with me now. So just allow me to vent and talk about it a little. Sometimes it helps, sometimes, it takes a few more weeks of bleakness before I come out the other side, more or less intact. It’s funny how one can feel fine for months and then all of a sudden, some little, stupid thing can push you over the brink – and every worry – finances, study, health, time affordability, comes rushing to the front. The chapter’s really not helping, because my supervisor is very absent at the moment – being Head of School, he’s got a lot going on at the moment, and believing me to be fine – doesn’t really worry about not making up meetings.

But I’m really not fine with this research, I’m a medievalist up to this point, and the Romantics are a whole different kettle of fish, so yes, I have been struggling – and the creeping lethargy that I really wasn’t paying that much attention to until it was too late hasn’t helped matters much either. Knitting has progressed slowly, purely because I can see the results of my actions (instant gratification there), but in knitting, I feel really guilty about not working or reading my research. I just can’t read at the moment though, I’ll catch myself staring at a paragraph for 45 minutes and then give up in frustration. My huge insecurities showing, I really do just want to get up and walk away around about now. It’s dangerous – this guilt and these insecurities of mine – they make me second guess myself and feel bad about eating, sleeping – even catching the bus – because it means I’m not studying. It’s a bad way to be, and in worrying so much – I really get far less done.

The thing that set me off this time – you’ll laugh at this – the straw the broke the camel’s back was a sink of dirty dishes. I’m so sick of going to uni – staring blankly at books, going home and doing the damned dishes that I just sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, and started to cry. It was, of course, the safer of the two reactions I could have had – the other being smashing glasses in the sink. Yes – talking about variations in mood. The dishes have been quietly done since that outburst – and not by me – which is very sweet and beside the point; but the real moot point here is how to shift the Black Dog from his watch in my house this time around. I don’t know how long this ‘down’ is going to be here – it’s been a quite while that I’ve been ‘up’ and I’m hoping that this is just a brief episode, and that the episodes will get all the more brief as time continues on.


In other news, I went to a fairly quiet SnB in Dickson at the Quality Hotel last night. They’re a little slow on the food progress, but at least it was far more welcoming than The Front has been. Hope this new venue takes off.

And now, I need to try do some more writing. Keep on knitting, everybody!

listening:She Will have her way – various
reading:Michael Gamer – Romanticism and the Gothic – Cambridge: CUP, 2000
knitting:Baudelaire on 2.5mm DPNS in Opal Sockwool and Fetching on 4.5mm DPNS in Lincraft Lima (Olive) – don’t even ask about the second project. I don’t want to talk about this yarn.



  1. I soooo feel your pain. I went to bed crying the other night because my bra hurt. Well, it wasn’t just that but, like you, it was the last straw… Perhaps the Black Dog could become ‘lost’ during a good brisk walk? Its always the last thing I feel like doing, and the one that does me the most good!

  2. ugh, i’m totally with you. my black dog and i are on pretty good terms.. when he stays over i know what to do.. but every now and then i totally panic that he won’t leave again. at the risk of sounding like a shrink – try to up the self-care. You can’t study if you make yourself sick, so try to factor in you-time. i know the guilt thing is huge, but even if its half an hour, that time is yours and you arent letting anyone down by doing things to keep yourself sane.
    hugs xo

  3. What can I say? Yes, I know about that f**king black dog, and really, you know, someone should take ALL of the black dogs around here and just shoot the damn things.

    I’ll second the motion to take some guilt-free time out, setting a firm time limit so you don’t panic. I’ve found mindfulness helpful (I have Jon Kabat-Zinn CDs / MP3s I can lend you if you’re interested), even a 10 minute session can help. Be kind and forgiving to yourself (((hugs))).

  4. Damn I wrote this whole post.

    Ok, trying again.

    The black dog visits here too, more for hubby than for me, and it’s the little things that can really set it off. We can deal with the big things because they scream the loudest.

    Hang in there. Hugs.

  5. what a great post. i had a visit from the black bastard a couple of weeks ago and it too was set off by something small, but highly symbolic (ie, the thought that a friend had betrayed a confidence). i cant tell you how difficult i find doing a phd, i suspect you have a fair idea, and i find the dog visits regularly because of it. not the work itself so much but the insecurities, will i, will it,be good enough, will it ever get done, whats the point of this research anyway, and if i have to read one more thing i will scream, cry or smash things. like spidey, the self care is the key, although its the thing you want to do least, and for me, that really does mean taking time away from it, knitting, walking dogs, and doing the one thing i desperately dont want to do, leave the house and talk to people. get thee to an snb, even if you sit quietly and say nothing. and know that it will pass. it will. take care. my thoughts are with you. xx

  6. Yep – I know the feeling well. Stick in there – we are all cheering you on.

  7. Bloody shame that black dog doesn’t have fibre we can spin. He seems to be visiting so many. Chin up.

    I really just wanted to thank you for the parcel you dropped to my work. And since I don’t have your email address, I couldn’t thank you that way!!!

  8. Ah – the old black dog. Silly old mongrel – we don’t want him here, so why can’t he take the hint? He’s a frequent visitor here too – usually turns up when he smells the self loathing and the panic about time, dirty carpets, and on Saturday, a stray tissue in my dark wash. That kind of thing takes an age to get over.

    I wish you all the best, CF. I’m not going to tell you to “chin up” as that is the most unhelpful thing to hear. But I will tell you to be kind to yourself, knit up a storm, and don’t be anxious about your supervisor (although when you next see him, tell him you’re not fine, and set all meetings with him in concrete!).

  9. I just found your post re: Black Dog, lots of ((hugs)) for you. I think the black dog has friggin moved in with me, seems more like a room-mate than a visitor sometimes. Anyway just know that you have loads of support in bloggyland, and if you can try and take some time for yourself.

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