Friday, March 30, 2007

The Cover

I did not have a good morning. I struggled to get out of the house, cheered only slightly by how shiny my hair was after it was straightened. I made it to work, rode the bus to the office and tried to breathe. I needed something good. Desperately. I had convinced myself that I could send email. Ask for some encouragement or a distraction or anything.

"You probably shouldn't make any decisions in this particular mood." Friend advised the other night when I talked about how much I missed him. "It's not that you can never speak to him again. Now's just not the time to make that decision."

She was right, I knew. Now is not the time to beg for attention from someone who likely retains the power to hurt me terribly. So I took deep breaths as I walked to my office and unlocked the door. No email, I told myself gently. Maybe someday, but not today. Just endure the moments until you can go home. Two meetings - you really can do this.

There was a large white package on my chair. It bore the logo of Very Good Journal and I lifted to find it quite heavy. I found my scissors and sat down with the soft packing envelope balanced on my lap. I pulled a large white box from inside and smiled as I realized I hoped it contained a frame. It did - my cover was encased in plastic and framed by wood and I smiled as I looked at it. A letter from the editor congratulated and thanked me for my pretty image.

So instead of walking into Boss's office and telling him I was freaking out - having a depressive episode and not coping well at all - I could show him my gift from the journal. He was in a meeting, so I went to show Tim - he took the frame, read the editor's letter and was suitably proud of me. Boss came to my office later and smiled widely.

"Some days it's worth it." He said as he examined the frame. "You get accolades and well-deserved awards and you realize that the job is good. Congratulations! Today's a good day."

Carrie said something similar years ago. "Don't quit." She advised when I was having one of many days when it was just too hard. "When you get something published - when you know your work mattered, that someone might read what you wrote and learn something useful - it's good. The feeling is really wonderful."

I place the first page of each of my papers on my wall. I want - some day - to look at it and think, "Yes. This is why I'm here."

Hasn't happened.

The cover did carry me through the day though. I made it through one meeting and picked at my lunch. I revised the grant and an IRB application and smiled when I saw the frame on the corner of my desk. Then Boss came to get me to go to the afternoon meeting of doom.

I nearly fell down some steps on the way there. Then I was largely ignored for 45 minutes and spoke for less than a minute while handing out my carefully created handout. It's fine - I can do what I want without major problems. No reason to shut down and freak out, though it's been only one of my current sources of worry.

I came home after 5, waiting for the bus (wishing I had a sign that said, "I know it's nice and I should walk. I slipped in my strappy shoes and hurt my ankle on some stairs.") with my boxed frame clutched in my arms. It currently hangs over the bed in my office at home. Boss also found an extra journal for me to take home to my parents. He wished me a lovely long weekend before he went home this evening. I didn't ever tell him how badly I've been doing. I also didn't say that while the framed cover is lovely and I'm very grateful (as I wrote in a thank you email to the editor of Very Good Journal), I'm not sure it makes it worth it. The job is hard. These patients are going to break my heart. I sometimes have no idea how to do my work. I remain uncertain that this is worth it.

But the accolades, a proud Boss and a framed copy of a journal cover are very cool. So today wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. There were good moments - I'll remember those when I smile at my cover upon entering a spare bedroom in my house. Perhaps I'll try to remember them on the drive home tomorrow. And I really should be converting files instead of continuing a blog post. But I very much appreciate the well wishes that have come my way from some of you. I'm OK now - thank you. (Well, not totally OK - I'm out of Celexa and Friend let me borrow some of hers for the weekend. I'm not stable enough to stop the medication for a few days, I think. But I am relieved this week is over.)


Psycgirl said...

Congrats on your cover, and your publication. I like how you put your articles on your walls. I hope you have a good long weekend, and you get your celexa refilled soon. Enjoy your time with your family.

The Contessa said...

That's wonderful news! I love getting things like that!

Congratulations! YOu DESERVE IT!!

Anonymous said...

it IS worth it!! yay you!
hope things get better...

LaKisha said...

"today wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been"

*And that is a great sign!

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