Courtesy of the kind people at Tor Books: Jo Walton’s THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS, Jane Lindskold’s ARTEMIS INVADED, and James L. Cambias’s CORSAIR.
Since handing in my PhD thesis, I’ve been wandering around in a kind of aimless, bereft fog. My brain broke sometime in the last month: in the past few days, glimmerings of regrowth have begun to appear – I no longer want to run screaming from the thought of reading a novel, or really anything longer than a blogpost, although “enthusiasm for the prospect” is still a ways off – but physically, mentally, emotionally, I am so tired.
It is very bizarre. I am completely off-balance. It feels almost like the state I was in after my near-nervous-breakdown… ha, it’s nine years ago this month, practically, after I had permission to stop (I did my first year of university twice: the second time on a medical repeat) and try to learn how to live with myself again. A curious blankness; a peculiar anomie; the theoretical knowledge that with enough time and proper food and sleep and exercise one might feel real again instead of frustratedly hollow, the ghost of one’s own self haunting ruined passages. But theoretical knowledge is only theoretically comforting. Time has lost its meaning: I can’t conceive of a space beyond the end of a week, cannot conceptualise the shape of so long a time as a month. (If I hadn’t had this happen nine years ago, I’d be more worried: back then it took me about two months to think more than a couple of days ahead again.) My head and my muscles and my very bones ache, semi-constantly, and the physical reflex of anxiety – tightness in the diaphragm, shortness of breath, a tingling in the muscles that presages the desire to run or fight – comes at random moments in my day.
I don’t know if this is normal. I do know I’ve passed through something similar before, so I have to believe I will pass through this and feel more like I used to on the other side, eventually.
Meanwhile I am filling out government paperwork, in order not to starve while I try to find work… give us this day our daily forms, and deliver us from waiting in ticketed lines.
Finishing the thesis is, in case you’re interested, why my column at Tor.com is presently on a break and why this space has been pretty quiet for the last year or so.