28th February: Confidence?

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I do not have confidence in myself.

I do not trust myself to know what to do.

I do not trust my instincts.

Because of past work. Things that are good I didn’t know would be. Too exhausted now to replicate them if I did know what was good about them. Or else what I was confident with, turned out not to be good.

none ?


25th February: aiming for perfection?

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Til just now, for the past 10 days, not much to report. Not feeling so great now.

Don’t know what to aim for, as tutor has now confirmed he is marking against perfection.

Don’t know what to think. Was telling me that meant to make me feel more confident?! Or is it just some mean mind trick he’d playing on me?

15th February: meetings update

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Had a day of various appointments which mostly went well: eye test (definitely need glasses!), tutorial, Senior Tutor & SG.

Senior Tutor:

Conveniently I’ve already written a little summary of my meeting with the Senior Tutor for my parents, just to keep them in the loop so hopefully they won’t worry so much about me:

I talked to the senior tutor this afternoon. It was successful, he said it was fine to push all my deadlines back two weeks. I hope I don’t need that, but it will be nice to have a bit of a safety net if I still aim for the normal deadlines! And will mean that I can take my time a bit more on the Bristol model which is the one I’ve lost out on this past week, without having to ultra stress myself to catch up this week’s work. I think I might try to practice just working 9-5 this week, or some other set of normal hours and see if I can still get a good bit done.



Reasonably useful. Decided that I’m not really helping myself with my ‘rational responses’, or believing my negative thoughts even though I can see perfectly well that they are wrong.


But useful discussing a good calendar approach to work. I need to make sure that uni work is only a smallish portion of my time. Sounds simple, but I think it will be a good way of seeing it in perspective (which I’ve obviously lost!)

14th February: The Feeling Good Handbook

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Been working through this book by David Burns. The stuff in bold are the things I really related to, with italics being my own notes.

Types of feelings (emotions)

  • Sadness, depression
  • Guilt, shame (spending too much time on work, not with friends, family)
  • Anger, irritation, annoyance, resentment
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety, worry, fear, nervousness, panic
  • Inferiority, inadequacy (being unexceptional, average, work ‘lacking spark’ [tutor’s words] etc etc etc)
  • Loneliness
  • Hopelessness, discouragement (wanting to fight being hopeless. But so exhausted trying to do that!)

Types of thoughts

  • All-or-nothing thinking (not on purpose, but seems to be the way that I’ve been pushing myself as much as I can [‘all’], but now taking a break [‘nothing’] – would like to find the middle ground!)(Generally I’m ok with this, I just have a hangup about my uni work at the moment)
  • Overgeneralisation
  • Mental Filter
  • Discounting the Positive
  • Jumping to conclusions (that others are getting pissed off with me, which is now stopping me from trying to get help from tutors. Though I’m fairly sure they are! I’d be pissed off with me if I were a tutor, and I’m pissed off with myself as it is. Need to find out what others think of me?)(Predicting what quality my work will be, what potential employers will think of me, my portfolio etc)
  • Magnification
  • Emotional reasoning (concerned that the more I worry, the more people will think of me as a worrier. Same with ability to meet deadlines. I really think I’m neither – a worrier or poor with deadlines – but the more I keep the worrying up, soon I will be both of those things!)
  • ‘Should’ statements 
  • Labelling (I’m dumb. At least I am in certain things)
  • Personalisation & blame (except that it is my fault)

Am I doing something constructive about the problem, or am I simply brooding and avoiding it?

  • ‘Sometimes a negative feeling becomes a way of life. You may feel sorry for yourself instead of doing something about the problem that’s bothering you’.
  •  I probably am brooding, but trying to do something about the problem. But trying to deal with the problem is becoming a problem in itself (keep getting upset that I don’t seem to be solving my uni problems)

Are my thoughts and feelings realistic?

  • Healthy Negative Feelings – realistic, best to express feelings in order to confront problems and deal with them effectively
  • Negative Feelings – Distorted and unrealistic thoughts, better to change the thought, actual circumstances aren’t the (main) problem
  • My feelings feel realistic, but I can see that they’re not, and suffer from a lot of the above types of thoughts! But acknowledging it hasn’t helped. And I can’t change my beliefs as I do think they’re realistic! (need help going through my thoughts please)

Are my expectations for myself realistic?

  • You may have difficulty accepting your imperfections and your limitations. You may harague yourself whenever you fall short of a personal goal and tell yourself, ‘I shouldn’t have made that mistake’. Although all this self-abuse creates guilt and depression, there may be a hidden payoff. When we do, we try to learn from them and carry on again. But if you punish yourself and act as if your mistakes are unthinkable and unacceptable, it means you’re superior to the rest of us!
  • This seems to sum me up. I realise it and would like to be able to achieve the realistic, without an all-or-nothing approach. 
  • I’m not superior, I would just like to have my effort rewarded. What to do next? Put less effort in, in order to allow reward to be less? That’s not really a good thing!!!

Am I experiencing a loss of self-esteem

  • You will simply waste time and energy ruminating about how lousy and terrible you are. This will only incapacitate you and make the problem worse. In addition, this is very self-centered because you’re entirely caught up in yourself!
  • Genuine self-esteem is based on humility and an acceptance of your shortcomings.
  • Not wanting or trying to waste time and energy – my ‘shortcomings’ are fixable. (as I believe and others say of me – that I CAN DO it!) 
  • Though right now it is incapacitating me. Worried though it is me being self-centered, and I really don’t want to be like that. 
  • Although as I’m at university, the entire point of me being there is for ME to learn! 
  • ‘Acceptance of your shortcomings’ WHY?, when I really feel it is a temporary hitch. I AM supposedly a good creative person that is conscientious and produces good work within deadlines.

Bad Communication:

  • Not expressing your feelings openly
  • Not acknowledging how the other person is thinking
  • Truth: Insisting on being right
  • Blame: other person’s fault
  • Maryrdom: claim to be an innocent victim
  • Put-down: Imply that the other person is a loser
  • Hopelessness: you give up and not bother trying
  • Demandingness: Feeling of entitlment but refuse to ask for it in a direct, straightforward way. (I feel that I need to learn, tutors are there to teach, but I don’t seem to be asking the right questions, in the right way (but I’m not refusing to ask in the right way either!)
  • Denial: Insisting that your don’t feel angry or sad (Trying to pretend my only issue is an academic one = not helping myself to get the right help)
  • Passive aggression: saying nothing or storming out
  • Self-blame: instead of dealing with problem, act as if you’re a bad person
  • Helping: trying to solve someone’s problem without listening to their feelings
  • Sarcasm
  • Scapegoating: telling the other person is the one with the problem
  • Defensiveness: refusing to admit imperfection
  • Counterattack: responding to criticism with more criticism
  • Diversion: dealing with other problems rather with the one on hand.
  • Generally I realise I haven’t been listening to the tutors, purely I’ve just been trying to ask questions for myself. Maybe acknowledging their point of view on my issues will help me see what I should be doing/asking, and encourage them to want to help me.
There’s a lot more to this book!

14th February: Patients, clients and other linguistics

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I like the idea of being a ‘patient’, rather than a ‘client’ – No one wants to be a patient, so it infers that it’s a temporary bad thing, with the goal to be recovered and no longer a patient. While a client sounds like you’ve chosen to be in that situation, and you’ll forever be trying to sort yourself out.

I tend to use the word ‘stressed’ to describe how I feel right now. Though I don’t think I’m using it in its technical meaning. Probably ‘distressed’ is closer to it. But I really want to keep away from the word ‘depressed’, as I think I’m no where near as far gone as I’ve felt before – I would never say I’m feeling hopeless/worthless/etc etc right now. Just really irritated and unsure of what to do next regarding uni work specifically. And for some reason keep getting upset when I try to get help. That is the specific part that I would like to improve on.

Also, I think me saying I’m ‘irritated’/’annoyed’ doesn’t mean specifically that I feel like I’ve been treated unfairly or taken advantage of. Perhaps more like ‘frustration’. Just general thought that things aren’t right/how I would like them to be/how I know they can be. Especially frustrated with myself as I’m the only thing blocking achieving those things. Just don’t know how to do it/can’t do it when I’m upset.

14th February: Notes for what to say to who

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Trying to get it sorted in my mind what  I wanted to say to who:


  • I realised that when I wasn’t upset last time, it was because I’d just got rid of the immediate pressures of my work.
  • You were right, it wasn’t me coping better, it was simply circumstances changing.
  • By the weekend things started going belly up, starting with getting my results from recent pieces of work and realising that the amount of time I had spent was not reflected at all in the marks – in better or worse marks.
  • Negative feelings. Trying to identify distortions & this diary: they have helped as I was then able to see what my underlying hang ups were with my work
  • But unable to get help on the properly – asking unsuitable questions, getting fobbed off, feeling like I’m irritating tutors, too tired = get upset too easily, forget questions/wording of them.
  • ‘Worry time’ ok. But trying to problem-solve – need to address problems NOW or else they build up/tutors not available/end up being more upset. Would it be better to just deal with problems when they come up/when opportunity comes up to address them?
  • Eventually too exhausted, ill.
  • Now on enforced ‘holiday’.
  • Not ‘happy’, but teary episodes are lessening. But at the back of my mind worried that I still haven’t solved root of problem/found a good way of thinking about things. Ie chances are my issues are still there.

Help please with:

  • relapse/setbacks?
  • ways of coping – how to make sure I can go back into studio confident it won’t send me back low. (help find rational reasoning/ways of rationally reasoning)
Senior Tutor
  • Don’t know if it is my mind or the work which causes my stress problems? But neither are excuses – really do want help sorting out knowing what I need to do, ways of working more efficiently, ways of judging my work aside from time spent, knowing what is looked for etc etc etc
  • Please tell module tutors I am serious. I do want to learn! Need help just to nudge me over my current block.
  • Deadlines/extensions etc?
  • I can hope that this week of sleep and catch-up will mean I can cope better now with uni work. But would like the chance to ‘practice’, before I’m up against deadlines-
  • maybe try just working 3 hours a day? or 9-5 or whatever? But with deadline pushed back/flexible if needed?
  • who should I/can I go to for help? Who can tell what to who? From Enise to Senior Tutor, normal module tutors? Can Enise even talk to tutors?
  • I am so confused!

13th February: What do tutors know? worries

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I am afraid that if my tutors know just how mental-ness I am (ie more than just normal stress and more than what Enise let on in her bland medical certificate note), that they’re not going to bother trying to help, as they can just say, well that’s your mental-ness stopping you from working properly. Not something that we, as tutors actually can help with or want to get involved with.

Or is that true? I think that my mentalness is definitely not helping (!), but it really is me underneath that still needs help knowing what to focus on.

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