I was recently encouraged (‘Ok, what the fuck, Kate?’) to examine my various insecurities and anxieties around making plans. (‘Are we doing this? Thursday, right? I can maybe do Friday if I move stuff around, how’s Wednesday? Give me a day. A day!’)
Many years ago, when first dealing with anxiety, I would regularly lose a day sitting perfectly still, unable to move from my bed until I’d run through my options for the day, considering every possible outcome of every possible decision, forming backup plans within back up plans until night fell and I’d have to admit defeat, reset, and hope to wake a little more decisive in the morning. More recently this has applied to other issues, helping me miss several deadlines wondering whether the job was really right for me right now, whether it would fit in with any of the other hypothetical projects I was stalling on actually applying for. So with writing, unsure if this is the script I should be working on right now, should I be looking at submissions, pushing the plays I’ve miraculously finished, or should I be blogging, should I be journaling, or working on that other whatever. Somehow even reading is tangled in this process- ok, but will I learn anything from this book? How does it fit in to the other stuff? Ok this one kinda fits in with that one script I’m working on, research, yes! But then this one makes more of a point about the thing that started the whole, no, I need a break, here’s a good light read, but is it too light? Shouldn’t I be challenging myself? Ok I’ll just sit and look at nothing, that’s good too.
I’ve found ways of dealing with the every day. Lists! Lists of things I need to achieve in a week, jobs to apply for, people to respond to, appointments to make. Then lists for a day, which may involve one or more of these tasks, as well as simple things like showering.
But of course life happens and you have to adjust the things you were planning to do, make swaps, because let’s face it, all the plans you’ve made so far are lying in the gutter because who the hell told you you were allowed a dream? Fuck your dreams, you want to act? Been getting back on your feet after the whole medication disaster? Oh, you’ve got an audition with a good company this week? It’s a movement workshop, that’s great! Fuck you, you’re on the ground, get those crutches out of storage and hobble on home, loser.
Where am I ?
Yeah so I’m beginning to accept that you don’t know what’s going to happen in life, leading to the new strategy of making things up as I go along. Pick a thing, go do that thing! It’s brought some good experiences, some spontaneous get togethers, some good writing progress, some jobs applied for that I’d previously considered impossible. It’s also brought several days of poor hygiene, because showering doesn’t always occur in the moment. Eating garbage because going grocery shopping isn’t as appealing an idea as going for a swim right NOW! Falling behind with my CBT work, which, yes, with practice over time has become a more natural process, but every now and then you do need to sit down, look at where you are, flag up any problems and find a way to deal with them. That, or you end up over thinking whether or not to have a damn shower.
There’s a balance to be found. I hope. I hope I can find some middle ground between endlessly trying to predict and plan what I’m doing every minute of every damn day so I have a chance of actually achieving any of it, and just winging it and hoping for the best. Neither strategy is working right now.
And it bleeds into how I interact with other people, and it shouldn’t, but it just does. When it comes to making plans with fellow humans, I know they’re dealing with much the same thing, on whatever level. Life is weird all round. I know this, and I know it’s best to roll with it and be grateful for the moments I find. However. As much as I struggle to, I still feel the need to pin things down sometimes.
Maybe it’s the practical considerations. I need to factor in rest time, to do whatever else needs done that week, and ensure I have enough energy left. Maybe it’s comforting, in moments of uncertainty when life is a little more chaotic than normal, to know that if nothing else, at some point you will see a face, and have a conversation, and forget about all the decisions and plans and problems and just be in a damn moment.
Maybe it’s some hideous clawing demon made of all my past pain and present insecurities and confusion and feelings of helplessness just screaming for attention that must be destroyed at any cost.
Who can say for sure?