In psychology we talk a lot about regression. If that word strikes a rational fear into your heart, then you’ve probably taken at least one statistics course in your academic career. If you’ve got a bit of trauma related to that word, you might just have done my thesis. But regression has another definition outside of calculators and research data: sometimes it means going backwards.
Freud called regression a defence mechanism. He said that a defence mechanism is an unconscious way for our mind to help us compromise on problems we can’t find solutions for. There are lots of defence mechanisms and the idea with regression is that we go back to an earlier stage of development to escape anxiety or stress or fear (and so on) by doing something we used to enjoy.
Which brings me back to my thesis a little bit. That’s definitely been causing me a lot of stress, but in all honesty, that’s to be expected, right? I feel like I dealt with it all okay, though, and after submitting it recently, I decided to take a week off. What did I do with the time? I sat in my room and watched House M.D, played some video games, and called my friends. Sounds great, right? Yeah…
Normally, I’d look forward to summer, but what is there to look forward to?
Except, I haven’t quite come out the other end of the whole experience feeling as good about it all as I’d hoped. In fact, I feel a little bit stupid to say that’s all I’ve done for the past week, but it’s the truth. Then I sat and wondered about the last time I spent a full week doing just those activities and I’d have to say it was at least ten years ago. Sounds a bit like regression to me.
After all that hard work stepping forward with my life and working towards my master’s, why am I suddenly trying to take steps back? I have to say I’ve sat here and pondered that question for a while and I think, with a global pandemic raging on, I have very little forward steps to make right now. Not until I get the chance to take a last few modules in September anyways.
Normally, I’d look forward to summer, but what is there to look forward to? We haven’t left our rooms for months. I haven’t seen my family in almost a year… I can’t see any of that changing soon.
How do I stop going back if there’s no forward?