Knowing the minutiae of events, the details needed to plan a day, and the trees of the forest become the goal of every day. The big picture is in the plan, but the trees are too enticing. It takes all my strength and energy to stay focused and not become distracted by gears in the clock. Too much focus on patterns, designs, clashing, and mixing loses the trail through the woods. To exist between the moment, focused on details, creates a life of managed crisis and devoid of stability. Management sustains an imprisoning homeostasis, wherein activities are missed; and then isolation ensues.
Being overwhelmed can have a physical effect on the body. It doesn’t always need to be pressure, but an overriding omnipresent emotion or anxiety from a routinely occurring event. Triggers can be wide ranging from job promotion to routinely being around negative human beings. The body and mind have reflexes driving actions towards knowable patterns – again the cycle repeats. In the instance of myself it causes extreme stomach and back pain. I begin feeling constant pain in my abdomen that doesn’t dissipate with consuming food. Knots form under my shoulder blade or at the base of my skull as pressure becomes more consuming.
When the stress’ antecedent is removed, stamina must be regrown to fully participate and engage with life. The road to mending is a slippery slope – anxiously re-entering the hamster wheel. Life is a cyclical series of work, relax, work, relax. At any moment during the early moments of recovery there is the nagging thought that the next quick cycle would be the trigger for another physical episode. Regardless of the cycle that a person endures, breaking and starting on a new path is difficult to do.
Over time I have learned that it is okay to feel comfort in drifting within day to day. I began doing this by actively choosing to go through the two boxes of print outs and read, which allowed me to see how much of my fictional cosmology has been told. I began reserving weekends to take inventory of what I have produced. I learned that days do not need to be a constant rush towards the goal line, but can be relaxed and taking inventory. It is on those days, taking stock of what has been accomplished, one can be humbled by the steps that have been taken; we can pat ourselves on our own back.
Friends and inter-personal relationships assist with driving the new path, constantly grabbing the brakes by injecting day-to-day with vulnerable relatable stories. While they are not trained cognitive therapists, friends and co-workers offer opportunities to relate anxieties, failures, and successes. They provide conversations where automatic thoughts, which distort reality, can be challenged. Then the automatic thoughts can be worked through and dispelled with a professional.
It takes a village.