Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Well that was an effective hour.

I had a free hour and I want to chip away on a paper I have been working on for two years. I've just started writing an introduction. If I keep chipping away at it I might finish it.

I spent an hour and all I did was edit two sentences and add five references after the second.

For the first sentence I couldn't find a paper I wanted to check something about. This was particularly frustrating because I was looking at it on this exact same computer two days ago. It's like not being able to find your keys even though you know they are on your bed.

Anyway the point of this is that maybe this was an effective hour working on a paper. Or maybe it wasn't. I really don't know.

Since I had my nervous breakdown two years ago I really have felt that I am very ineffective at work, not being as productive as I feel I should be. But I really have no idea if that is imposter syndrome or if I really have been less effective than I used to be.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

It's always the small things…

I always meltdown over the small things. Really small things. I can crash out emotionally over misunderstanding how waitlists work at a really busy Alphabet City bar. Or over a facial expression, a tone of voice, of forgetting an appointment, packing or planning to move…

And when I crash out, I crash hard. Curl up into a ball. Cannot stand physical contact -- and simultaneously crave it, and crave comfort, like I do air itself. Cry inconsolably.

But it is always the small things.

The big things don't do this to me. A relative dies, and I'll barely react. At funerals I am more puzzled over my own lack of reaction than I am feeling anything similar to how people describe sorrow. News of relatives being ill are concerning, but seldom bring me out of balance.

The Trump election horrifies me, and I have many many friends whose freedoms, lives, existences are in immediate and concrete danger.
And my emotions are (I think, I have some medication titration going on that confounds ,my results) … non-responsive.

It is always the small things.
The big things seldom faze me, but the small things can annihilate me completely.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Hi Ian, I'm Anxiety, Remember Me?

A few weeks ago I had an appointment with my cognitive behavioural therapist.  I had been feeling very good although even then he made me look inside myself in an uncomfortable way - asking me not if my world view that I am a bad person was wrong (which I am used to) but asking me if it was "helpful". Which of course it is not even if I am, and so that was not a conversation I wanted.

Anyway the point of this is that for the first time after maybe a year of visiting him, I have not made a followup appointment because we agreed I was doing well.

And indeed for the first time in many years I had found that whole days will go by without me thinking "I am the worst person in the world" or "I want to kill myself", two internal mantras that have been my constant friends.  I mean the kind of friends where they are people I hang around with all the time even if they are constantly hassling me and making me unhappy.

Things were going well.


Then a few weeks ago my related but different old friend came back. The one called Anxiety, who caused me to have months off work a couple of years ago.

I don't like to ascribe causes but I think this was related to a work project which I was working very hard on and which was not going as well as I had hoped. And I have been worrying a lot about recent political events (which you will not need to to be told about if you are reading this here and now, and if you are reading from the future I don't want to remind you except to say, goodness, well done for reading this, I am glad that the world hasn't ended which is my main worry to be completely honest with you.)

This whole long rambly post is to bring one ray of light into the situation. Despite having much more anxiety than I have had for months, I have been able to do a couple of things. And this has come about despite them being the kind of things that my anxiety doesn't like. And it has partly from the conscious experience of recognising that just because I am anxious about something doesn't mean it will come out badly.

The two things I mean are that I have made some arrangements for the family involving lots of small decisions about what to do, where to stay etc. This is exactly the kind of thing that I find difficult so it is good I was able to do it.  And the second - which sounds almost laughably trivial - is to arrange a car service. That was tricky because I had got fed up with my main dealer so wanted to find somewhere else, then used somebody's web form to book it which didn't work so (wait for it) I had to ring them up and talk to a person.  Yeeeucch.  But again, from experience (and I assume to most people this sounds ridiculously obvious) people who are wanting your money are usually pretty good on the phone so obviously it was indeed no problem and I booked it. But actually making that phone call despite the fact it was anxiety inducing is something I am fairly proud of doing.

You might note that neither of these two things relate to the two things I have been worrying about, but at least I think it's a healthy sign that I could do things which in the past I would not have done when I was feeling anxious.

So it's not all gloom and doom.