0201 – breathe

I did not imagine that this is what I would begin the 200 series with. I knew that it was probably going to be something different, or something unexpected, but this was outside of my range of “unlikely things that might happen”.
The past few days have been strange. Scary. Weird. I don’t know. I feel like I’ve been on the brink of some sort of burnout. Or perhaps I DID burnout. It reminds me of 2007, when I felt upset and miserable all the time and wondered if maybe I was on the edge of depression. Or was I depressed altogether? It’s difficult how subjective these things seem. I always imagine that it only counts if you’re utterly incapacitated. But I’m significantly inconvenienced, significantly hurting, significantly unable to live the life that I want.
(Ah, but what if what you want is unreasonable? Maybe the solution is to want less. I like to think that I’ve thought about that. I don’t want material possessions. I don’t want a watch, I don’t want a car. I don’t want everybody in the world to love me anymore. I don’t want a huge fanbase or follower count like I used to. I don’t want to run an incredibly popular blog anymore. All I want is to be able to sleep well at night. All I want to do is to smile and be confident and happy that I’m on top of the things that matter to me. To be a good husband, to be a valuable member of the team at work. To laugh heartily. To not feel like I’m breaking promises, missing deadlines.
I’ve definitely written this before. Several times. Over the years. Just as I had written several times about how I ought to quit smoking, and I had written several times about how social media addiction was a problem for me. I haven’t smoked a cigarette since July, not one. Not a single puff. And I unfollowed 99% of people on Twitter and Facebook, rendering both my feeds really boring. So I spend very little time on that.
But when I remove those things from my life, it just reveals so much more ugly. It’s like destroying the first Reaper that’s right in front of your face, and then seeing that there are a hundred more in the distance advancing towards you. Cigarettes and Facebook were just the numbing agents I was using, self-medicating with, to keep me from having to pay attention to the desolate landscape of my life. Now- here the moment I say ‘desolate landscape’ I know that that sounds like overkill, hyperbole, that I have a lot of things to be happy and grateful for. I mean outside of that. So maybe my metaphor isn’t good enough, apologies for that. I’ll figure out something better along the way.
My back is killing me (I think stress/posture/anxiety related), and I’ve been having shit quality sleep and have been waking up really tired and out of it. I feel like I’ve put in a lot of work to become better and- yeah I’m seeing some results but I feel like I’m really losing steam. When I’m on the train on the way home I feel tempted to scream or hit strangers. I mean- there are no voices in my head telling me to do it, and there are no hallucinations or anything- I’m just a lot more irritable. A lot more frustrated. Everything seems to be in the way between me and the person I want to be, the life I want to lead.
I realize I have to let everything go. I have to prioritise my own health before anything else, because it would not be cool if I end up with legitimate health problems induced by stress- stomach ulcers or high blood pressure or whatever. That is not a price I am willing to pay.
I find myself grasping for things that I imagine might help. I started reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits. I looked up Guruka Singh on YouTube again. I think back to how I felt in a sensory deprivation tank, how the breath is like an ocean, and how I need to take deep, expansive breaths.
I know that there exists within me a power that I do not comprehend. I don’t mean that in a metaphysical spiritual touchy feely way. I mean literally, there is an intelligence, there is a strength, there is potential. Legitimate potential. It truly exists, I truly believe it. I have seen glimpses of it before. I can understand if it’s not something you can turn on at the flick of a switch, but I know that it’s something that can happen more.
Am I making sense? Am I missing something? I’m just in a lot of pain and I need release and relief. Writing helps me with that. I need to keep dropping things off my ship so that I can get back to really simple fundamentals and get myself to do the really most important things. I have been suffering tremendously from a problem of prioritisation. I grew up trying to persuade myself that I didn’t need priorities, that I could just improvise and random-walk and flit around from thing to thing, and that would be fun, that would be okay. That I would be some sort of roguish/vagabond/happy-go-lucky type. And you know, I think that’s still possible- just that there’s actually discipline involved in that, too.
A strange thing that I’ve got going for me- I’ve been making my bed every morning for a few weeks. I’m pretty sure I started doing this because of a speech by Admiral McRaven. He said to make the bed. And he seemed like a man who was in control of his life, enough so that they tasked him with leading other men into situations of absolute chaos. He also suggested a whole bunch of other things, and maybe I’ll revisit that.
But first I’ll make the bed. First I’ll sit in silence and breathe, because my brain needs tuning. First I need to put everything out of my mind and put myself first- not my cravings or my urges or my desire for random distraction and random-walking and random-exploration, but my stated self, my “that’s who I want to be” self.
I can do this. I believe it. I just need to relax. And then I need to pick one really small thing out of the most important things that I need to do, and do that- working backwards from what I’m supposed to deliver. It’s the hardest thing in my life so far, to have to confront this reality so starkly without distractions and without escape clauses. But I either fix this, or I ruin my own life. I know that sounds needlessly dramatic, and that the lizard-brain is wired for this sort of drama… but I have too many data points already. If I fail here, yeah, I can build myself back up eventually- but it will take so much longer. If I miss this bus I will have to wait months, maybe years for the next one.
You will not fucking defeat me, Resistance/saboteur-bum. You will not take my life hostage. I will fight you. And I will fight you with commitment and conviction that you have not seen before.

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