December 16, 2007

One down, three to go

I got a concussion once and the doctor told me to rest my brain: "don't overstimulate yourself," he said. For him, this meant I should sit in an empty room and do nothing. For me, this seemed completely impractical -- didn't he realize I use my brain for pretty much everything? I was on spring break with the softball team, and staying understimulated is nigh onto impossible in Myrtle Beach. But I did my best.

By claiming overstimulation and "doctor's orders" I could get out of any activity, and I took advantage. Suddenly, I had an excuse to avoid the remotest possibility of stress. I opted out of strenuous activities like having conversations, watching movies and eating ice cream. "Sorry guys," I would say, "I don't think I can do that. I'm trying not to overstimulate myself."

As absurd and impractical as the doctor's advice really was, even the minimal sensory deprivation I was able to achieve was pretty nice. Letting go of the need to be engaged in anything at all was surprisingly freeing. That Myrtle Beach doctor gave me a language for stress-reduction that I've been using ever since.

I decided to become a librarian partially because I really appreciate having control over the pace of my life, I've learned that I value stimulation in moderation, and I think this career will allow me the freedom to determine just how stressed out I'm willing to be. Dumbly, I've chosen to pursue this path at SI, which feels like the most intense library school in existence. It makes my brain hurt just to think about it.

I told you about my concussion and my quest for understimulation because I realized today that SI is pretty much the most overstimulating experience of my life. Done with the first of four semesters, I feel shell-shocked. Completely addled. Kind of like I have a concussion. All I want to do is vegetate, in fact it seems right now that that's pretty much all I'm capable of. So if anyone asks me to go anywhere or do anything, I think I'll just say no.

After all, my brain is healing. It deserves a rest.

1 comment:

  1. katie!


    i've got a month here after roughly four consecutivish semesters of seminary, and all i've been doing for the past week is reading comic books and playing video games.

    it's lovely.

    now i think i'll go find some ice cream.