Monday, May 23, 2016

When Doing Nothing Is Really Doing Something

I've been dealing with some incredible anxiety and cycling lately. Not incredible like "Incredible Hulk" incredible. More like, "I'm incredulous that I could have this much anxiety and cycling in such a short period of time", incredible. There have been numerous factors. Little things, like the week when Grace decided she did not, in fact, have to go to the bathroom on her morning walks because it was easier to just go in the hallway any time she pleased while I was at work. Or the pain in the ass that is Pennsylvania's car registration and inspection procedure. Or the hit to the wallet that is Pennsylvania's car registration and inspection procedure. Then there was the fact that I learned my air conditioner was blowing hot air, despite the fact that it worked fine in the inspection two months ago. Or the fact that I am indeed going to need my deck replaced for safety reasons, when I previously thought it could be corrected without being completely torn down and reconstructed. These things add up.

Add to this a more active than usual cycling disorder. And trying to figure out what I want to do with my life - an ongoing struggle that I've not quite come to grips with or anywhere near that. Or trying to plan for my future, despite a lot of important unknowns (hey, clichers and platituders - I know life is full of unknowns, I'm talking about big uknowns that there are no point in discussing here). I'm a planner and an organizer. My brain does whatever the hell it wants whenever the hell it wants, and so, I need the rest of my life to be nicely organized. I need things to hang on to, to steady myself when my brain makes me feel like I'm drowning. I need solid footing, routine. I don't like big surprises. I can't fathom any more unknowns in my life because my entire brain is an unknown every waking minute. And yet it feels like unknowns have been fired at me like cannonballs lately. Things I thought were set that now need to be more flexible. And they aren't life-altering in the literal sense. There are a lot worse things, I know. But saying that someone can't be upset because others have it worse is like saying that you can't be happy because others have it better (I totally stole that from some FB meme). Suffice it to say, I've been pretty freaken' stressed out. And everyone telling me not to stress out, to relax, to go with the flow? Well, I .... you know how I do with that. Not well. Not well at all.

So this weekend, I needed to start turning things around.  I had a gala on Friday, which was a surprising amount of fun considering that I dislike crowds and groups and being social in general. I was SUPER anxious going, but it turned out pretty well. Also there was dancing, so that helped. But by Saturday morning, I was completely physically, emotionally, and mentally spent. Literally, I felt I was both too drained to move or think. It had all taken its toll, and I felt completely defeated.  I needed to take some action. And so, I decided to do something I rarely ever do - nothing. Absolutely nothing. All weekend.

To be fair, I did required things like take Grace out - luckily for me it was raining and she hates being out in the rain so some quick runs into the courtyard were sufficient. From about Saturday at noon on, I sat my ass on the couch and watched cheesy Hallmark movies until I went to bed. You know what's great about hallmark movies (certainly not the plot, acting, or cinematography)? They're predictable., They all have the same plot. Everyone one of them. Someone is down on their luck, bad breakup, bad job, whatever it is. They go back to their roots, find themselves, fall in/rekindle love, discover their true calling, and live happily ever after. There are literally zero surprises in Hallmark movies. Which was exactly what I needed. No frustrating plot twists. I've had that enough lately. No anxiety about what's going to happen to your favorite (can that be used for a Hallmark movie) character. Just good old predictability and happiness. How refreshing for a brain like mine during times like these.

By Sunday, I decided to watch something a little more "real". Que House Hunters marathon. (Hint: they always go with the house they pretend to like least - still no shocking plot twists). I felt a bit better and even managed the energy for an at-home workout. I folded the laundry - ok I lied, I did put laundry in the washer and switch it to the dyer and then the laundry basket on Saturday, so I guess that's something. I did some brief client work that took all of 10 minutes, and I organized a few things in the house that needed organizing. But I did nothing mentally or emotionally strenuous. I couldn't have if I tried. I wrote my usual morning pages. I read a little. I did a guided meditation. At night I did some coloring in my coloring books. All introverted, creative minded, relaxing things that I love.

I am not feeling 100 percent better. I think that will take quite a while. I don't think I'll ever be able to "just go with the flow". That's not me. I can get a little better at it. Hopefully. It might not make me shake with anxiety and frustration. But I'm not a chill, laid back person who can just sway with the breeze. I need to anchor myself to the few things I can, because my brain certainly isn't one of them. At least, though, giving myself a break from almost everything allowed my brain time to rest. I didn't try to control anything. I didn't try to fix anything. The most intense thing I needed to figure out was which socks matched which in the laundry basket.  All in all, a very successful weekend.

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