Masters Degree and Having to Focus

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  lniebauer 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #65877

    lniebauer
    Participant

    I’m 47,a single mom with 3 boys, 11 – 16 at home. I’m a Title 1 Reading teacher, just got my degree 3 years ago. Now I’m working on my masters. My latest class has had far FAR more homework than any of my previous classes. The list of what all I have to do overwhelms me, shuts me down, I procrastinate, stress out about it, avoid it, and then I put myself into deep stress levels while I race to get the work done…..which takes hours and hours and hours of focus to get it done. I had to do a 15 page annotated bibliography. 15 sources, 1 page per source. I was so exhausted after doing 8 pages one day and caught a cold going around. Took me 6 days to get over. The fatigue was the biggest struggle. The anxiety of the rest of the homework puts knots in my stomach. I’m nearly done, praise God! But I don’t want to keep doing this. I’ve got to figure out how to change my feelings about my priorities. I kept talking myself through it as I worked and worked. Tried to be upbeat, allowed myself short brain breaks. But still the intense urge to get away from the work was so strong it took all my energy to fight it and stay on course.
    Can anyone else relate to this? I have ADD, take vyvanse, an anti depressant and anti anxiety. I’m very self aware and self reflective. But sometimes my strategies seem powerless to my screaming brain.

  • #65945

    jnlmhny33
    Participant

    Hello Iniebauer,
    This is my first time replying on here. I am in my last semester before receiving my Bachelor’s in Psychology. I am 38, and a single mother to 3 girls ages 21, 17, and 12 (2 youngest are still at home). I know exactly how you are feeling. I am the same way. I stress myself out, so much so, that I procrastinate even more than I normally do (which is a lot), which makes me even more stressed out! I am almost 4 years into my degree and still haven’t found a strategy that works for me. I have ADHD, Inattentive type. I was finally diagnosed at almost 34 years old, after over 12 years of being treated for depression and anxiety and being on every single anti-depressant out there with no relief. I am currently taking Adderall and although it helps me tremendously with most things, it does not help with the stress of school work and getting it all organized. I am sorry that I do not have any advice on how to help, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your struggle. Good luck with the rest of your courses. I am planning on getting my master’s after this and I am extremely nervous about the workload it must come with!
    ~Jen

    • #66145

      lniebauer
      Participant

      Jen,
      Thank you for sharing your story. It does help to know that I’m not alone in the struggle. I too have the inattentive ADD. I struggle with depression and anxiety also. I was hoping to wean off my anti depressant a year ago, but then I hit perimenopause and had to put that idea on hold. Sure didn’t need new hormone issues adding to the struggle! But I do and have to try to sort things out.
      I read some things about the ADD brain and how it resists priorities, and that the part of the brain that wants the “fun” stuff overpowers the other. It basically said that part was immature in its development. Made sense. I am trying to find new ways to look at my priorities so I don’t have an attitude that instantly rejects the priority of my homework. Easier said than done, but at least I’m aware of it and I have a plan of action.
      I think what gets to me the most is how I feel physically as I try to stay on task with priorities. The battle is exhausting. I’m starting to see a therapist again to help me gain new perspectives.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  lniebauer.
  • #65957

    RockChalkNLD
    Participant

    Hello!

    I’m 27 and finishing my MBA right now. I have one daughter and another kid on the way, and also work 50+ hours a week.

    I say all of this to say that I am sympathetic, if not empathetic to your plight.

    I’ve found that I need project management/planning tools to effectively coerce myself into working smarter. I use a project management tool (free!) called Trello. It allows me to plan the work that needs to be done. When I have a plan of attack I feel less overwhelmed. Sticking to that plan is a whole different story, but breaking the work down into manageable chunks has made a world of difference for me.

  • #66149

    lniebauer
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing, RockChalkNLD. I appreciate you letting me know about the project management tool. I will check into it. I do rely heavily on my phone alarm to remind me of things I have to accomplish. I would forget so many things if I didn’t. I look forward to seeing what Trello has to offer.

  • #66271

    Penny Williams
    Keymaster

    Another idea is to have a study buddy of sorts. It doesn’t have to be someone in your class or even studying at all, but someone who can be present and help you when you need it. Just the presence is often reassuring and can keep you powering through. Although, you have to be careful who you select — some will be more of a distraction. 😉

    Penny
    ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #66283

    lniebauer
    Participant

    Great idea. I have done this with housework. And yes, you do have to be careful who you choose. 🙂

  • #66685

    lniebauer
    Participant

    I’d also like to know if cognitive therapy can help with sorting through the perspectives that are adding to the anxiety and procrastination. And I would like to understand why I can physically feel my body tensing, shaking, wanting to run and escape from the demands. Why is it so intense?

    • #66791

      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Anxiety and fear of failure are powerful — they can cause physical symptoms. Especially if similar situations have been traumatic in the past.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #67077

    hayes
    Participant

    Iniebauer – I’m a 50 year old high school teacher (23 yrs) and father of 2 (19 yo son; 16 yo daughter). I really struggle with all the correcting, lesson prep, and organizing. Sometimes I have to live with disorganization! It allows me the space to give my best energy at the necessary professional times (grades due, semester exams, etc). I get worn down quite a lot by the constant stream of work.

    The reason I think (and might be for you) is that I love what I do. It’s why I have the periods of real stress, ‘freak-outs’, and paralysis-inducing fear. I’m a good teacher, love what I do, and want to do it well. I think it’s what makes us good – that capacity (I refuse to see it as a disability!) for deep empathy and feeling. I also believe it’s what can make us inspiring to others – they see how much we care/feel for the things we do and the people we encounter.

    Thanks for sharing your story! We all know it’s never easy – even during our ‘easy’ times! Find ways to care for yourself – you’ll have better energy to push through those dog days of research and writing. Good luck! CHRIS

  • #67079

    lniebauer
    Participant

    Hayes,
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. Hearing another’s story certainly helps bring my own into perperspective. I love my job too. It’s the kids. Helping them unlock doors that are in their way is the most rewarding thing on earth.
    I am grateful for my job. It fits me well and allows me breathing space since I’m not in the general classroom. I am with kids for maybe 30 minutes at a time. And in those brief periods I give them my all.

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