Being your own worst enemy

It’s 12:10 am, and I should be sleeping because I have work tomorrow. But, I can’t sleep. I am ruminating and stressing, and rather than toss and turn in bed and try to fight the lump of anxiety in my throat and the tension in my neck, I look for solace in J’s Macbook Pro (it’s so pretty).

Sorry for not posting for a while–I’ve got posts in queue, but haven’t gotten around to writing. It’s partly due to a self-imposed embargo from the internet over the long weekend, but mostly due to the fact that I’m burning out at work and in life, and I just don’t have the energy to be creative.

I hate quoting cliches, but I really do think that I am my own worst enemy and it’s resulting in anxiety, stress,  downright no energy, and–my own worst nightmare–lack of productivity, disorganization, and inability to “give” of myself to people I care about in my life. In my efforts to outdo myself and achieve–Achieve what, you ask? I really don’t know. And this is my problem. I want to do well in every facet of my life, but I have never really sat down to indicate what “well” means. Knowing what I know about myself, this unclear definition of “well” floating around in my frontal lobe is probably unrealistic and unachievable. I have a tendency to say yes and have good intentions, but I’m finding that for the last several months, I haven’t been able to deliver. I have a constant nagging feeling that I’m doing something wrong or not good enough and letting someone down, and rather than DO something to address these anxieties, I agree to take on more without really being able to even get it done. How f’d am I feeling right now?

And now add, if you like, the superfluous amount of change I’ve undergone in the last 7 months–moving out, moving back home, moving out again, setting up house with the hubby, getting married, experiencing a family tragedy, my ongoing mourning and grief, my family’s ongoing mourning and grief, changing jobs, taking on a new job with more responsibility and essentially working 2 jobs for the last 5 months, adjusting to being married, adjusting to financial concerns that now affect two people instead of just one, adjusting to family expectations–blah, do you really want the list to go on?

Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a right to complain–to anyone who’s not me, I’ve got it pretty good. I’ve got a great husband, a great job, make a decent living, live in a great condo with beautiful (I think) furniture, have great friends, have a super close family, have a blog that people actually read (thanks!).  And I know people who have it way harder than me. I see it with my own eyes on a daily basis.

But, fuck that. I can only compare myself to my experience. I look like I’ve got it together, but really, I’m just a neurotic ball of anxiety and stress and guilt and worry, and I keep spinning and spinning in one spot exerting all this energy but getting nowhere. It’s like I’m active and inert simultaneously.

And, then, there’s that little voice inside my head that says–if you can’t deal with this shit, LBB, how the heck are you gonna deal with motherhood, jobs with higher demands, complicated family stressors, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON!

I have always had some trouble following rules–others’ rules for me, policies, procedures–and I am finding that as I get older and take on more responsibility, I’m having trouble following even the rules I set for myself. And by rules, I’m not talking about morals or principles–those are pretty well set. I’m talking about rules for living, rules for setting boundaries; for example, don’t stay at work past 5 pm, wake up on time, say no. So, that neurotic ball keeps spinning and spinning…

So what do I do? I have always tended to take care of myself and not rely on others too much. Some people have interpreted this as conceit or perfectionism, but it really is just years of self-reliance and a healthy sense of self-efficacy. I’ve always believed that no matter what challenge I had, I could always get through it with my abilities and my wit, and I always did. But now, as I process all that I’ve written, after all the change and upheaval I’ve gone through, I am not so sure I am able or witty or clever enough to get through all the challenges hurled at me simultaneously. It’s almost like my sense of self has been toppled, and I’m standing beside a pile of rubble wondering if that was me and wondering how the heck I’m going to build myself back up. Is this the time for me to throw in the towel and finally say, I can’t do it all?

Even writing that is hard.

Or maybe I just need a vacation. Or a good night’s sleep.



5 thoughts on “Being your own worst enemy

  1. I’ve been following your blog for a year now and I really love your writing.
    And you know what? You’re entitled to feel the way you do. Everyone goes through life differently even if the problems seem similar. I’ve been where you’ve been and all I can say is go easy on yourself. Take a little breather…in time, everything will fall into place 🙂

  2. We all go through this, and I understand where you’re coming from. I think you nailed it when you said that you need to define what “well” is and what you want. Sometimes that means giving up certain things and figuring out the the “noise” while focusing on the things that truly matter to you. It all depends on what you want out of life. If I came to you with what you wrote in your post, what would you tell me? I was feeling like this a couple of months ago, but I realized that I have full power in how I feel each day. As the Frou Frou song says, “there’s beauty in the breakdown”…not that you’re having a breakdown but in these moments you can learn, grow and change your mind and there’s beauty in that and it’s something that’s very powerful too. Ok, I’m rambling here, but hopefully you’re feeling a bit better today and holla at your girl =)

  3. Well Dear LBB

    I think it is important to note, the paragraph that you wrote, that reads “..and now add…” and ends with “…do you want the list to go on?”. When I read this paragraph, all that comes to mind is, “duhh…the girl has had so many MAJOR changes in her life, in SUCH a short time, of COURSE, the change will result in some unease!!!”…

    But I like to picture the roller coaster as a metaphor for life often. It goes up and down, and it is sometimes terrifying on the upswing, because somewhere inside, we all know, that the “upswing” can not last and we go down again. We are often apprehensive. However, the roller coaster, although dipping and rising, is on a constant up swing, and the downs never go as far down as the previous, even though we feel like it sucks sometimes.

    I agree, go easy on yourself. Change in your life has been huge, and it is time for you, in my humble opinion, to step back, take some deep breaths, and allow yourself time to recover, grieve, adjust, cry, laugh, sleep, eat, hug, yell, love, hate and ultimately flow.

    Allow yourself, also to step outside of what I guess could be a learned behaviour, of “achieving” or even “sacrificing”, or even the illusion of “selfishness” when all you really want to do, is NOTHING, while wanting to do EVERYTHING. Just speaking from personal experience.

    Quoted cliches of roller coasters…and an added one of, “this too shall pass”…and another added cliche of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…sometimes help.

    You are deeply self-reflective, intelligent, and a beautiful soul. Self-reflection in itself, means you are alive, and embrace change, although it sucks sometimes. Those who are emotionally vacant, have not even come close to growing from experience, feeling adversity, and ultimately shining through as MORE YOURSELF.

    Re-birth? Perhaps on some level. You, my dear, are NOT emotionally vacant, so you MUST go through upheaval, because you are a passionate person. If I can see that, simply from reading your blog, then it must be true even more in person.

    Breathing is under-rated…in my opinion, so is meditation. Meditation can be simply focusing on taking a walk down the sidewalk, or the feeling you get when you open the shower curtain, and get a little cool breeze, while you reach for your towel, or focusing on the nourishment in your plate as it reaches your body.

    Easy to say (or preach..haha)…but being in the moment (although cliche as well)…is SO under-rated. These small moments, can kind of help get through, at least an hour, or a day, or a week…..etc..

    How about these books?
    “The Miracle of Mindfullness”
    “Emotional Intelligence”

    Or better yet, how about a mindless, stupid, hollywood (or bollywood) movie, to help with a little temporary, but much needed escapism? Chocolate Truffle or french fries?

    Apologies for sounding preachy. The things you have written, resonate with me on some level, although with completely different experiences.

    Hang in there. I can GUARANTEE you that this place will NOT last, it simply is impossible. I can also GUARANTEE, that you will come out of it, having shaved off some things from the past, and as a beautiful woman, who is more herself than ever.

    Just be patient.
    It will happen.

  4. I agree with all the comments above. You have gone through a lot of change recently and well, its just catching up with you. You can’t keep juggling all those balls forever, one of two will eventually hit the floor and you just need to learn how to pick it up and start again without any judgement. I agree, be easier on yourself (easier said than done I know) and bust out that ‘attitude of gratitude’ to curb those oh so anxious, unsettled and blah feelings that have a sneaky way of creeping back in. I use to think I could do it all too…made me feel good…well, I learned quickly that if I wanted to stay stressed going solo all the time would take me there…so I sucked it up and admitted you can’t do it all and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Do that and you’ll feel loads lighter.

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