Postcards from the Road, Day 4: Now it's time to get serious for a minute

I've done a lot of stupid shit this year.

Yeah, I said it.

It goes all the way back to accepting the job from RC at OD. I knew that my former GC boss was a sophomoric drama-monger whose life is largely dictated by his Hitler-esque wife, and I could have accepted that and said no when he wanted to steal me from my nice, cozy job at GC. Technically, that was 2007, but it all exploded in 2008. I won't go through the massive list of emotional, professional and financial FUBARs I've had over the past 12 months, because it would not only defeat the purpose of the conversation I've been having with myself (and the ensuing blog entry), but it would be one more way for me to harp about all the shit I've been through.

And this is not an entry for bitching about what I've been through. I've done enough of that. Saying I've done a lot of of stupid shit this year was just a way of accepting that I've made some choices I would not normally - or ever - have made. Yes, a lot of it has been out of my control. But a lot of it has been within my control.

So, going forward, what can I do with that knowledge?

I woke up this morning and realized that I barely recognize myself. Looking back, I can see how I've allowed myself to develop the traits and characteristics I've developed - or, at the very least, adopted - and I can see how some of those traits/characteristics/habits have affected the choices I've made, and even the way I've reacted to the things that were outside of my control. I've become a procrastinator, for one thing. I think I've learned that making decisions without thinking about them for a long, hard time can land me in trouble. So now my goal is to find the balance between procrastination and speedy action.

I'm still a long way from feeling all Mary Fucking Sunshine, but now I'm able to steer myself back to all of the things I have or can do when I start worrying about what I don't have or can't do. I'm also moderating my eating and drinking very well. And I feel so much better about those decisions. In a way, mental illness is as much about feeling ill as it is about being ill. When things were really bad, for example, I would take action or have a thought, and even though that action or thought - going shopping, for example - was perfectly logical, healthy, and pleasurable by most people's standards, I knew somewhere in my mind that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. That my thought process was disordered, even if the decision or the thought itself was completely normal. For me it was all about covering stuff up. And now I just want to see things as they are.

I'm emotionally exhausted, so the idea of simplifying everything even further than I already have is so attractive. There are still a lot of demands being made on me, and they're every day demands that most people wouldn't think about, like making a trip out to the post office or 7am lab work or dog sitting or budget-balancing or several pages of paperwork. Those kinds of things are really difficult for me because they all happen at once and have conflicting deadlines along with all my work demands and 7 loads of laundry and dog and cat duties. Normal, every day stuff - but it happens in giant shitstorms and overwhelms me. I can't stand being in my house some times because there's so much to do - is that dog pee I smell? I thought I cleaned that all after he was trained? Why is there fluff on the floor? Now I have to sweep, too. Oh, shit. I have to run 8 miles today. That's another couple hours of planning and execution I have to make time for. Now it's almost 9 and I go to sleep in the next hour. I'm too tired to move.

A lot of the time, I end up doing very little - which, to me, in my overacheiving way, feels like nothing. Dusting and watching TV one night, running and bathing the dog the next, washing the dishes and changing the kitty litter after that - that's most people's idea of doing things they need and want to do, of getting things accomplished, right? But that's my idea of not accomplishing anything, because even before I slow down I am all too aware that I also have to worry about the things - the laundry, the paperwork, the mail, the budget, the vaccuuming, the filing, the toilets, the phone calls, the workout, the gift-buying, the dinner-making - that I haven't done yet.

Being here is good because I can really ignore some of those overwhelming "tasks" for a while and still conquer some of the minor things that have been hanging over my head.

I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but I do make goals. And I will be making a very thoughtful list of those this year, indeed.

2 tidbits of wizdom:

IM Able said...

Something my therapist and I are working on recently -- which has been a challenge for me because it is so far afield from my usual m.o. -- is to stop defining myself based on what I *do*.

I get up every day and define the day as a success based on my completed tasks, issues solved, groceries purchased, meals made, training done, etc. So if a day occurs that is ABSOLUTELY NORMAL, but just doesn't include lots of tasks, I find it hard to not feel that reflect on me personally.

She tells me it's pretty darn unhealthy and dragging me down a huge amount. We work now on detatching my self-worth from the things I do and, instead, finding my inherant qualities that make me valuable and worthy. A lot of it forces me to pare away the over do-ing and keep life simple.

I has helped. It take discipline to do all the time. But it has helped. Enormously.

Wes said...

I agree whole heartedly with Jaime. The beauty of living starts from inside of you. You don't suck it in from the outside. The simple life is a WORTHY GOAL. I've been living the life of a moron (that's a good thing!) for twenty years. Can't touch this :-)

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