I have been walking a mental knife edge recently. Everything has been stressing me out. Work stresses me out. Not working stresses me out. Friends stress me out. Being alone stresses me out. Eating stresses me out. Not eating stresses me out. My body stresses me out. My brain stresses me out. I’m flipping my shit (quietly on the inside) over all sorts of totally trivial bullshit things. Oh, I have to make changes? STRESS. Oh, I’m waiting around not making changes? STRESS. I need to do the dishes? STRESS. I am waiting for someone to call me back? STRESS. I am supposed to meet up with someone? STRESS. I have to pick up my laundry? STRESS. I have to wake up? STRESS. I have to go to sleep? STRESS. Everything. Anything. So much stress over absolutely nothing. It’s all nothing. SO much nothing that I am stressed out about.
For example, I am supposed to spend 8 days with my friend JJ in Spain in September which should be an exciting thing. We’re going to a wedding and then we’re going to cruise around northern Spain eating ham and drinking red wine. I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks trying to convince myself that it is exciting when what I actually feel about it is dread. I am worried about the cost, I am worried about the time spent not earning, I am worried about this little thing and that little thing. Am I not going to go? Of course not. I’ll go. But I am going to spend every moment until then worrying about it.
I started writing something for this site today that is heartfelt and reveals something about me and I felt pretty good about until I spent three seconds away from it and now I am worried that it’s self-indulgent tripe. What the fuck, Joe. It’s my blog, and I can write whatever I want at whatever quality I find acceptable. I’ve put some real trash on this site before and I will in the future. It’s my prerogative.
And that goes for my other writing too. People ask me, “Man, why haven’t you been writing?” and I like to say, “You know, it’s just not coming to me right now. There will be time for it,” which is partially true but I am neglecting to mention that I am always worrying that everything I do is fucking stupid, that all the time I spend working on this craft which is important to me is wasted. That all of everything I create is trash.
I even do the same thing at work when cutting a job. I worry that every rough cut I do is garbage that people are going to hate my work and I don’t sleep and I get paralyzed into inaction and force myself through the process—one which I quite enjoy and find truly rewarding—because I am worried. Stress stress stress. And have I ever EVER had a client see what I’ve done and say, “Holy shit, this is the worst fucking crap ever, you’re an idiot”? No. Not once. In fact, I’ve never had clients be anything but positive about my work. Clearly, real life experience has no affect on whether or not I am going to worry about something.
And then there’s the social anxiety. What’s that about? I am an outgoing person, but I am constantly worried about my relationships with people. Over nothing. I’ve not done anything wrong, but I imagine horrible things I might have done and start to get all stressy pants about nothing. Foolishness. I wake up worried and I go to bed worried. The only way I can sleep is to be so tired I literally cannot keep my eyes open. If I am not periodically losing consciousness, I am not yet tired enough to go to sleep.
This all plays into my theme this year of slowing my roll. I think the reason I get stressed out (har har) about my drinking is that I know somewhere deep down that what I am doing is not in the name of good times or blowing off steam, but in the interest of hiding from these insane anxious feelings boiling around in my head and chest. I hit the bar wracked on the inside with needless worries, but after a few drinks I start to feel better, and then after a few more even better and I hardly remember that I was stressed as fuck over minutiae when I walked in. Then I wake up after a night of heavy drinking and I feel like a fucking asshole, worse than before, and I start getting stressed out about imagined slights against other people, about bridges I’ve burnt, about shadows in my memory haunting me. I still cannot spend much time around Thompson street and West 3rd, and those ghosts are ancient.
I like to fantasize that I will just ditch everything I own and disappear into the mists and that everything will be ok. While this is a seductive fantasy, I know that it won’t help. No matter where I go, there I am, with the same stupid fucking brain stressing me out about everything. Sometimes I want to punch a wall. Sometimes I want to curl up and hide. Sometimes I want to run away, others I want to stay. I don’t know what the right thing to do is and I don’t know how to address it. I feel crazy and it’s not new. I’ve written about it before and I am sure I will write about it again.
Where can I go to take a vacation from myself? What the hell is going on? Why do I feel this way? I do I still feel this way? Am I just bored and desperately in need of change? What the hell would I do differently? Where would I go? How would I fill my time? So many questions and so few answers. What respite is there? Some suggest taking a trip (which I am going to do) but that’s just running away for a minute and not addressing the issue, whatever it might be. Do you people ever feel like this? What do you do? Where do you find tranquility? How do you calm the storm? See, look, I’m even stressed out about how fucking banal this post is.