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I am realising that I am feeling very confused as to what level of notes I should be taking from the course and from the books. My reading has slowed down because I want to give consideration and thought to what is being said and to take notes. But rather than spend time taking notes which permit a time for reflection I tend to just take a snapshot and move on. But I then don’t go back to those snaps and reflect on them. I’m not even organising them properly. Some of my notes are on paper and some electronic and it all feels a bit of a jumble. I’m almost worried that I’m reading too much and writing too little. I have a large pile of books that I have bought, most of which suggest another few books to read. I’ve been using the college library and a few from the local library. I can come back to these books if I want but I am worried about not noting down the useful interesting extracts from each book. I’m also concerned that I’m not absorbing enough material from the books as I quite often read books more than once. And yes, I can hear how ridiculous this all sounds.

It’s as if my head is exploding with excitement from thoughts that I am reading and I’m running around from one thought to another like an excited puppy with no sense. I am excited. This is the first thing for many a year that is really gripping me and it’s as if I’m so unused to feeling stimulated that I don’t know how to do it. Old me says I should organise and categorise my thoughts and papers and that will calm me down. New me says read another book and get excited some more.

I’m also worrying about the next essay which is the first proper one in that it is 2,500 words maximum and will need comprehensive referencing. I haven’t quite got my head round that as it seems that everything must be quoted or referenced and everything you write in your own words must be linked to the book where you read it so nothing (at this stage of writing) can be your own thought. I really need to just sit down and start writing the first essay so I get my head round it.

This is a level 3 course, which sounds grand (so much better than level 1 or 2!) until you realise it’s equivalent to an A level. I am over thinking it and over complicating it.

Going back to the course I had a moment of feeling intensely competitive when someone said they read a lot as he referred to his past notes on Freud. It’s not a competition and it’s not actually about how many books you read.

After our brief introduction to Freud we held a discussion on building rapport. I didn’t write much down. I was actually in a very good relaxed mood which has been much of the week. I am currently in a good place where my anxiety has substantially diminished. This may not last for long but I am trying to be aware of it and to enjoy it while it does. I can feel a calmness in my head that is quite pleasantly relaxing.

We spent twenty minutes talking about how the course was going and offering some feedback which took a while to get going but was interesting. I was up for a course outline that actually told us what we had to cover during the year as it was all a bit vague and others spoke of not being sure that we were covering all the material we were supposed to each week and what that was doing for their anxiety. It was actually more positive than I thought it would be.

PD was a bit of a revelation and a review too. A couple of people said they still didn’t know what this was about. It is essentially a group discussion that is almost unguided, where we can express our fears and thoughts about the course and anything else that touches on to it. But six weeks in and it’s still full of quite a lot of silence. It very strongly emphasises the difference between those who talk a lot (2), a fair amount (3 including me), those who are reluctant to say anything (5) and those of us who are in between (4). I did say that it was much like therapy in that you had to take a risk and open up, that if you didn’t put anything into the session you weren’t going to get anything out. One of us did open up as to how vulnerable she felt in the sessions and how she felt it was just a matter of time before she did crack. She wondered, as I have, whether people wanted her to shut up, whether they thought she was boring and had nothing to say. It is quite hard when you are trying to push yourself to speak out but so many people don’t. You have very little clue as to how they are reacting. Everyone protested that her comments were well received and G made the absolute spot on comment that the one thing he could say for sure about this group was that it didn’t contain any arseholes. Yay.

B talked again about listening to other people’s problems and I realised that both calling them problems irritated me and not talking about his own stuff. He seems to think he doesn’t have any which is reminding me of my father, unsurprisingly. Having recognised that I don’t know where to go from there.

So, I admire D and C for their openness and honesty. I am not at their level of saying so much but I did decide that I would try and put more of me into the sessions, and me, not my children. No one has to push themselves but the session will be more useful if you do. I did push myself to say some things that I wouldn’t otherwise have said, including that a lot went through my mind at PD that didn’t find its way out of my mouth. We are already more of a sixth of the way through the course and it’s no good waiting for PD to flow on its own by session 20. I will continue to try and put more of myself in.