I’ve been feeling kinda blah lately. I’ve got this anxious, shaky feeling that just keeps buzzing in my head, and it won’t leave me be. I’m starting to feel like I’m slipping, losing myself, losing touch with the goodness in myself and becoming bitter, cranky and hard.
My thoughts and emotions are in a big messy tangle that I’m struggling to work out. I’m feeling supremely overwhelmed by the many facets of my life. I feel like I never have enough time to do all the things I ‘should’, let alone the things I want to. I’ve got a ‘to do’ list that’s just growing longer by the day, and every time I tick something off, I find myself adding five more items. I feel like I’m doing so many things, but I’m not doing any of them well. I can’t help beating myself up for being a bad girlfriend, friend, daughter, blogger, worker, crafter, cat-mama, fashionista and human being.
When I left the city, I had this idea that my life would somehow be easier. I envisaged spending heaps of time with my family, going on loads of romantic outings with my boyfriend, writing incredible blog posts, selling buckets of stuff online and all the while wearing cute outfits and smiling widely. I thought I’d have time to learn to sew, to get my drivers licence, to kit out our new home and to try out tonnes of new recipes. In truth, I’m getting nowhere with any of these things.
Living with a partner is easier in some ways and harder in others. When you live alone, you’re totally responsible for yourself. That means you have to do every damn thing, and if you don’t, you’re screwed. If you forget to do the grocery shopping, you’ll have no food. If you don’t pay your rent, you get evicted. When you live with someone else, you’re a team, and you help each other to do all those tricky and yucky jobs. There’s a division of labour that makes things heaps easier. On the other hand, you’re more accountable. If you’re alone, you only have to answer to yourself. You get the final word on all decisions. When you live with a partner, you have to consider what they’d like to eat for dinner, and how they want the lounge room set out. Some things take longer because there’s a brainstorming and discussion process that just doesn’t exist when you live alone. This takes getting used to, especially if, like me, you’re very independent and super stubborn. I’m supremely happy living with Ross, and I know that this move was the right choice. However, getting used to our new living situation has been tricky at times. I’m used to always doing things my own way, and it’s hard to relinquish some of that control.
I’ve also started working, which is eating into a huge chunk of my week. I know that I need to work, but I kinda wish I didn’t. Although there are a lot of good things about working- I have fantastic co-workers, my boss is a gem and I don’t need to worry about money- the daily grind is starting to grind me down. The work I’m doing is quite physically taxing, and I’m finding myself exhausted at the end of each shift. I’m working in retail, which, while I like it, is not what I want to do with the rest of my life. There are days when I get sulky and resentful of this day-job that pays the bills, but robs me of the time I could be spending building my dream career. I despair at the amount of energy I’m putting in, effort that I would prefer to be expending elsewhere. Some mornings, I wake in an anxious tizz that I’ll still be working in retail ten years down the track, and that my dream career will have become a pipe dream.
I’m finding that those magical plans I had for this year are dissolving. I haven’t taken a single driving or sewing lesson. I haven’t done anything revolutionary on my blog. I haven’t finished the writing projects I had planned out. I haven’t sold a single item from my etsy store. I’m lucky to see my family once a week. Our home is a bit of a mess, with an ever-growing list of things to be fixed, improved or re-done. The weight of best-laid plans is crushing me. I feel frustrated with myself for not finishing any of the things I set out to do. I want to scream whenever someone asks me, “So, have you gone driving yet?” or, “Gee, your garden’s in a bit of a state. What are you planning to do with it?” It’s bad enough when I’m beating myself up over the things I ‘should’ be doing, but it’s even worse when it seems that everyone around me is ‘shoulding’ all over me.
To make matters worse, I’m feeling truly lonely. Don’t get me wrong- Ross is fantastic and I love the fact that he and I get to spend so much time together. Although I consider him to be my best friend, I can’t rely on him to be my sole support and source of fun. It’s not his job to keep me company all the time. I’m longing for some time with my mates, except that I haven’t seen a single one of them since I moved. It’s as if by leaving the city, I dropped off the face of the world. Nobody wants to venture out to the sticks to see their old pal, particularly when she’s acting so dreary. And so I feel sorry for myself.
The strain is starting to show in my disposition. I’m getting cranky and short with people I love. I’m snapping left, right and centre. I’m throwing tantrums at silly things, like when the ring-pull comes off the can of cat food. Even when I have a bit of me-time, I can’t silence the anxious whispers that seem to be closing in from every side. I’ve become that whingy person who greets every invite with, “I just don’t have time!” I don’t like this neurotic harpy I’m morphing into.
I just needed to get some stuff out, to explain why things have been slow here for the past few weeks, and may continue to be slow. I know that I need to be patient, and to make the most of the time I have by chipping away at those projects I want to get done. I know that eventually, I will make progress and things will start to look the way I want them to. I know this. But in the meantime, I need to get things off my chest, to let some of the rabid thoughts out of my brain-box so they’ll stop tormenting me and I can get some peace. I need to figure out a way to silence the should-ers, or at least to drown out their cries of expectation. I need to find a way to take care of myself, inside and out, and to be kinder to myself. I need to give myself a freakin’ break, but I’m not entirely sure how to do that.
Any thoughts? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your ever-growing to-do list? Do you have any ideas for overcoming anxiety? How do you look after yourself when you’re going through a rough patch?