Relief? What relief?

I have, as of two minutes ago, handed in the draft text of my first case study. It was meant to be about 5,000 words, and ended up almost 7,000. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that I have ten case studies, and ten case studies at 5,000 words each is 50,000 words, and the hard limit for the entire dissertation is 90,000. So there’s not a lot of wiggle room, and this was probably the shortest and easiest game to analyze out of those I selected. None of this is why I’m trying not to throw up in an office trash can, though.

I am not one of those people who feel relief when they complete a task, or hand in a piece of work. I am one of those people who immediately going into a massive panic, overreacting and assuming that I will be chucked from my program and end up back in Texas couch-surfing, unable to afford tacos. I do very well under the stress of production, but very poorly under the stress of post-submission. I think we don’t talk about this as a reaction enough. We’re taught it’s acceptable to stress about the making, and the doing, and that there’s even something a bit off about us if we don’t feel the pressure of deadlines. We’re not taught how to manage what comes next, the nerves and the worry and the fear. My supervisor has literally never given me any reason to feel this fear, she’s been nothing but supportive of my work, and helpful with my writing and research, and yet, there it is, the fear.

I’m not sure what to do about it. I think there needs to be a larger conversation though, on how academia privileges certain stress and how it glorifies certain poor mental health responses.