When I was a teenager, I used to have awful bouts of insomnia. My mom insisted it was because I didn't let my brain wind down--I needed to get off the computer, quit reading, take a hot bath, and let myself relax. What she didn't understand is that once I get anxious about something(s), it's very difficult for me to shut my mind off. The byproduct of being an active reader is an active imagination and, in turn, a mind capable of a lot of wandering. Sometimes this is nice. I don't get bored easily. But when I'm stressed out, my mind won't shut off. It just keeps wandering.
Last night, I exhausted myself to the point of passing out almost immediately. But Richie was tossing and turning from heartburn and that, combined with the heat in my bedroom, woke me up. I got him some Nexium, cranked the A/C up, turned a fan on and laid back down...and then stayed awake worrying about all kinds of stuff. I checked my email at 4am to see if my professor had written me back. I resisted the urge to do thesis research. I calculated how many days until payday and how much money I had. I worried about Marla. I checked on Richie again. I thought about my upcoming trip to Chicago. I worried about stuff at work.
A lot of this stress is thesis related. Due to a combination of things, I still haven't even submitted my thesis proposal. The deadline for the final draft is April 2. I don't even know if my adviser will accept it at this point. I haven't officially sat a panel. The more research I do, the more research needs to be done. I worry I'm complicating things, then I worry that I'm not going in-depth enough. I feel like I can finish it by March and revise by April, then I worry that I'm fooling myself.
I can graduate without it, sure. But I said in my statements of purpose to various grad schools that I was writing a thesis. And, I WANT to write a thesis. Badly. I want to do it because I want a tangible body of work I can point to, a proof of my scholarship. I want to push myself. I want to DO something, not just learn something. And the prospect of that not happening is disappointing to me on a level I can't even begin to describe. Not to mention the added feeling that I would be letting so many people down, the feeling that my degree would be, in effect, worthless without a thesis.
The best I can do is wait for my adviser to get back in town, see what he says and work my ass off until that happens. And keep my fingers crossed.