The last few weeks have been a long mental struggle for me. I can’t point to any single element that’s the cause, just the combined weights of myriad stressors and challenges without end. The bad part is I know there are other people with much larger pressures and challenges, so I even feel guilty writing about what is essentially me quietly going crazy for no good reason.
But let me back up. I’m not crazy. I’m human. And though I understand that other people are going through much worse situations than I am, this is important. So for a time, I’m going to toss off the yoke of unnecessary angst and guilt and talk about the positives and negatives I’ve noticed of late.
First, the positive…
I’ve never been someone who enjoys conflict. It is emotionally draining and mentally crushes me as I do everything I can to avoid it. And this week I had something arise that I always knew in the back of my mind could come up as a blogger, but never had to deal with myself. (The situation is still evolving or I’d write about it here. Suffice it to say I had to chat with two friends about it – my business partner and a high school friend who is a lawyer. They are helping me deal with it as things develop.)
Yeah, I know – that sounds pretty negative. And it is. The positive was the weird way my brain processed this event.
Lately I’ve been reading more about the Stoics like Marcus Aurelius and listening to folks like Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) and Aubrey Marcus (Own the Day, Own Your Life). And generally just trying to chill the f*ck out. I’ve always lived too much in my head, making mountains of mole hills. My last few years of learning to love CrossFit has changed my mental outlook to embrace adversity and change much better than ever before. And it helps that my wife, a force of nature, has been whittling down my resistance to change over the last two decades.
Apparently that has all added up, internally, to a better head space for me.
As the events unfolded in my e-mail and chatting with my friends about the situation, I became almost detached. I watched as my emotions bubbled up as always, with panic, fear, and anger, but it was as though they belonged to someone else. The rational part of my brain apparently decided they wouldn’t do me any good anyway, so it just shoved them to the side in a safe space and let them go while it processed the rest of it mentally.
It was bizarre. And awesome. Though the whole situation is infuriating, it didn’t overwhelm me emotionally like it might have in the past.
So that’s a positive amidst all the crap on that front (and the next).
Then, the negative…
Adulting sucks. I have a billion things going on that I need to do. Some for work. Some for home. Some for my family. Some for my publishing business. It’s all piling on. And I know I’m not handling with all of that well.
I’ve tried some different things with to-do lists and they lasted a week as the overwhelm rose and fall in waves. So now I’m just trying to deal with things as I remember them and have the bandwidth to do so. Some days are better than others. And I’m coping, but not well. (Remember that guilt I cavalierly tossed away earlier in the article? It’s back with a vengeance.)
So here’s my request for help. Does anybody have coping strategies for how to deal with the overwhelming minutiae of modern life? I’m interested in hearing about them.
Let me know.