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Dr. Pepper and the Beasts

November 8, 2011

Dr. Pepper is delicious.

When I have some in the evening, it is anxiety-inducing. I start worrying about whether or not I’ve done what I was supposed to do for the day, which is especially unnerving while I’m getting used to my work schedules. I’m still having minor panic attacks and check my calendar several times a day about when I should be at work next, worrying about whether or not I wrote down the right day, and concerned that any phone call will be work calling, wondering where I am. (I seriously had bad dreams about that last night).

I need to get myself back off of it. Especially because the anxiety is no fun. It’s no better than alcohol in that respect. No hard liquor for me when I’m stressing out, which I’ve found myself to be a rather highly-stressed person lately. It tends to make me blow up!

  • I have debt which is hard to see myself out of soon.
  • My buttface (significant other/boyfriend/insert term of endearment here) is mistreated by his job.
  • I’m still new at my own job and will be learning new aspects of my job for the next 5 weeks of training.
  • I am still figuring out how full-time and its time off works since the familial holidays are coming up.
  • There are family members who I am long overdue to see and I don’t know how to find the time.
  • My only social life is online right now, it’s all I feel I have time and energy for. Even that has dwindled.
  • I have been mentally kicking myself for not writing as often as I should.
I have to remind myself to breathe. To cut myself some slack. No one can beat me up like I can. But here lies the funny thing: beating yourself up for not doing something does not make you actually get that something done.

Beating yourself up makes you depressed and throws you into a cycle that’s hard to break out of. Looking at the bigger picture of what you’re trying to accomplish can be a good thing, but you have to know how to zoom in and focus on the stuff that will get you there. You stay at the big picture for too long and you start seeing years go by filled with unaccomplishments. You zoom out too far and you won’t be able to see the paths that get you there. It can be paralyzing. Then you beat yourself for not doing anything, your brain zooms out, then you’re paralyzed all over again

I’ve got to chill out! I’m only 24. I’ve got decades ahead of me to get my life sorted out and I spend a lot of time worrying internally. You know what will solve the worrying? Doing. I’ve got to trust myself enough that I’ve written my schedule down correctly on my calendar. I’ll figure out my time off by asking about it. My routine will get back into place once I’ve settled into my new job, so I have to accept that there will be that kind of stress. And it will be okay.

If I feel a panic attack coming on, I find it helps to lie down and whisper to myself:

  • You can’t screw up so bad that it can’t be fixed.

Repeat as often as necessary. People hit rock bottom and bounce back every day. It’s a process and generally involves redefining who they are and becoming the kind of person they want to be. People have dwindled down to nothing and have rebuilt a life for themselves once they were ready to stop being paralyzed by fear and regret and shame.

That is not to say that you’re not allowed to admit when something sucks. Stuff sucks all the time. There are a lot of things you can feel shitty about. You are allowed to be upset about things. Feel your feelings. You don’t have to justify why you feel that way. If you don’t let yourself feel upset if something has upset you then you’re a ticking time-bomb. You’ll wind up blowing up at your friend, your spouse, your dog, your fern. And really, what has your fern done to deserve that?

I was pushing that wonderful (awful) stumbleupon button tonight and came across this article which kicked my ass into writing this post. Numbers 1 and 11 spoke the most to me.

“1) Don’t just plan to write–write.”
I have no idea how many times I’ve planned to write and never followed through. It was on my to-do list. And then, hey! It’s beat-up-myself-o’clock at the end of the day when I’ve had too much caffeine because I didn’t do it! I probably won’t catch up with NaNo word counts this month, but ya know, it’ll be okay. I wouldn’t be the first writer to not see NaNo through to completion. I only have myself blame for that. (I’m not sure I should say “blame” there though. I’ll admit, I hesitated. It’s such a harsh word! “Account for” might have been a better use of words, but it is a struggle I still deal with.)

“11) Be without fear.”
I am a writer who is full-o-fear. Screw FearFactor! I am a fear-factory! A worrier by nature. And it sounds silly to admit it, but I am afraid to start writing. I am afraid of getting further into a story. And I am afraid of finishing that story. I am afraid of what comes after the story is “finished,” I am afraid of a lot of things about the process. Almost all of it stems from me looking at the big picture. I’ve zoomed out so far I can see just how much time and energy it’s going to take to see a project through to the end. Seeing all of that makes me very tired just looking at it. It’s very hard for me to bring the focus back in on the task I need to work on to get the wheels going. But that just brings me back to #1: don’t just plan it, do it.

Here it has only taken me about an hour to get 2/3 of the way to the NaNo daily word count, just writing about how terrified I am. It wasn’t spent working on a story, it wasn’t spent editing or outlining. But it still counts as writing; and I definitely needed it.

Part of working through my turmoils involves actually writing what they are. Naming the beasts that scare me. Shining the magnum flashlight on those assholes, “self-abuse” and “paralyzing fear,” and chasing them off into the night.

Oh, they’ll be back! I just gotta make sure they don’t get the jump on me.
~P

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