Can’t focus

So much is happening right now, and I can’t wrap my brain around any of it. In the midst of my recent good job fortune are several pieces of sad and, in at least one case, completely heartbreaking news.

I want to be happy about my grant. I want to be excited about the job prospects that have become available. But guilt from a completely unexpected source (recently finding out a good friend and colleague is leaving research due to lack of funding) is making celebration nearly impossible.

I’m also finding it incredibly difficult to focus at work. Bench work isn’t so bad, but only because my project requires very little brainpower. When I dive into the literature, however, twenty million things that are going or could go wrong eventually take over.

I’m nervous about falling on my face on the interviews. I’m scared the only job offers I’ll get are ones where Hubby won’t find a job. I’m afraid we won’t be able to sell our condo.

Not to mention I think I’m getting a cold sore. But I’ve never had cold sores before. Maybe I just bit my lip during my sleep. Not surprising, considering I tend to grind my teeth when I’m stressed.

And then there’s the fact that all of this feels trite in the shadow of tragedy. There are times when all I can do is stare at pictures of Monkey and Hubby, and all I want to do is leave work to cuddle with them both.

I really need to get my head screwed on tight and buckle down. There are only two things I have control over – my preparation for interviews, and time spent with my family. I just wish I could get my mind off all the things I can’t control.

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7 thoughts on “Can’t focus

  1. I’m sorry you are having to deal with all of this at once. I think the ‘harder’ you try to ‘make’ yourself focus, the more likely it won’t happen. I have no idea what your time frame for interviews are…in a couple of weeks? Not scheduled yet? If there is considerable time, I might just take a piece off to ‘focus’ on grieving. Some of your fears and worries are what we all go through when we are looking for a new job with a family in tow. These feelings can be smothering without a lot of outside stressors. Maybe try to let go a little bit and see where it gets you. You are a strong person. You can do this! Take care of yourself–big hugs to you!!!

  2. Good luck!

    I agree with giving yourself time to grieve if you have that time. If you don’t, put it in your day planner for the first available time.

    Your grant did not cause your friend to have to leave. As you continue on in research, you can’t feel guilty when you have good fortune and someone else does not. Research life is a roller coaster of bad and good fortune for everybody. All you can do is keep throwing darts and hope some of them will hit. That’s true for everyone.

    Worry about one thing at a time re: jobsearch. If the interviews don’t pan out, it doesn’t matter if you can sell your condo. Sure, it’s ok to come up with contingency plans (run the numbers for if the condo won’t sell), but only to the extent that that helps you feel better rather than worse. What’s the worst possible scenario, and if that happens what are your options. Your worst possible scenario is that you turn a job offer down or you don’t get a job offer– these are both no worse than you are now.

    Cold-sores are not the end of the world. Some of us have gotten them for years and we’ve survived, even through middle-school.

    Good luck. You’re going to be ok, but you will need dedicated time to grieve. Loss is very difficult. These other things, you’ll pull through no matter what happens.

  3. I’ve got some time before the interview. But I have family in town next week, then Hubby and I are going on vacation. In between I have lab stuff that I absolutely HAVE to do, and once we get back from vacay I need to prepare for the interview. I guess I could plan the grieving for vacation, but we’ve all been looking forward to our first family getaway.

    The worst part of the grieving bit is it’s going to be drawn out for, oh, I don’t know how long – weeks, a few months maybe. I think that’s why I’m struggling with it so much; it’s not like any other grieving I’ve dealt with, and I’m not really sure when it’s going to hit me (kind of comes and goes).

    Oh, and I’m thinking it’s not a cold sore after checking things out more closely in the bathroom mirror… and no tingly. Looks like I’m back to biting my lips at night. 😐

  4. As for jobs/condo/etc, I’ve been working the worst possible scenario game in my head for a little while; it’s almost always a sure-fire way to calm myself down. Right now I feel like I’ve gotten just a few too many things piled on for it to be effective. My best plan of action these days seems to just put my head down and ignore everything else, but eventually stuff starts to creep back in.

    I know it will all sort out, and I’ll take the time to grieve at some point. It’s just kind of hard to figure out when to do that, since I don’t really have a timeline to work with. This drawn-out crap is really hard on everyone, not the least for my friend’s family, I’m sure.

  5. So glad you are getting a vacation in there! Hopefully that will clear a preoccupied foggy brain. Not to get all new-agey up in heah, but maybe the thing to do is to acknowledge these feelings as they come. What I mean is that when you start to feel that wave of sadness, just take 5 minutes, put everything else down, and feel it-really feel it. Then let it go. Sounds so easy, right–well at least I am good for really haha funny ideas. Take some time to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments-you deserve that!

    Glad that it isn’t a cold sore-stress can bring them on, but you would feel the tingle.

  6. I agree with this (from nicoleandmaggie): “…you can’t feel guilty when you have good fortune and someone else does not.” I mean, otherwise, you would never celebrate anything! There are always good things and bad things that happen – to you, to your family, to your friends, to your colleagues, etc.. You’re good fortune doesn’t have to be eclipsed by the misfortune of someone else. If that person is a true friend, they will be happy for you in spite of their difficulties.

    As for everything else – all I can say is just take one day, one task, at a time, and make time for the things that are really important to you right now. (((hugs)))

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