Sunday, April 7, 2013

stream of consciousness: re-living and re evaluating my anxiety history, and evaluating my future with it

Dear Diary,


Learning to cope with anxiety means learning to re-interpret a past part of my life. Namely, the second year of uni, when I lived in that horrible house with my two best friends and my anxiety was at its worst. I re-live those memories. As I do, each day seems like ten days as I have re-lived it so many times. The enormity of those memories grow. What was 8 years ago seems like - oh fuck, 8 years ago? mother fucker!


Anyway lets carry on with my thought. I'm doing some songwriting lately. It's stressing me out a bit. Not least because I feel pressure about time, money and job situation.


I have to say, until about 10 minutes ago, I have been managing my schedule well. I'm trying to fragment my mind: Don't think about everything at once, that's too overwhelming. I need to modulise my life and my attention. Focus on specific tasks, forget about the long view, just trust that the long view sorts itself out.


In a way, that's very similar to the anxiety management strategy I lived with in 2005-6. I lived with a lot of pain. Do you know what its like to feel anguish just to go down the right side of the road at the bottom of where you live? Because I was unfamiliar with that area of the city it caused me worry to explore it. To go on the left was a bit easier. But really the ideal was to go straight ahead along the junction, up the hill to where uni campus was. Living through those memories, it serves as a hindrance in sofar as reminiscing about the past does not help the future, or my present. Thinking about the mental strategies I developed, however, is like rediscovering some part of my ancient wisdom. I did learn and persevere to counter my anxiety. The anxiety didn't go away, I just had to face the demon.

I would say to myself: Don't think about the exams, don't think about coursework deadlines. Just read 2-3 journal articles today, then do your notes for the coming lectures, and go to sleep. You just have to deal with it. The big stuff comes from setting the foundations.

Then the anxiety was lessened, so the story goes. I started getting 2:i's and I reailsed that I believed I could be saved. I felt relief. Then I started acknowledging that I had a fledgling social life with all the societies I was involved with and new friends I had made. Then I got comfortable, Then I got depressed (August-september), then it went downhill again, then I went to hospital. When I crashed, I really crashed hard. Re-living memories doesn't tell me or help me reflect how much it really hurt. However, re-telling the stories as I do on this blog helps me re-contextualise, trying to help move away from the pathways of thinking I had. The pathways of thinking I had are much like walking down a street physically. I remember the streetlights, the shops, the coldness of the air. But what If i chose to take a different route? When I remember things, I often remember experiences, things like walking down the aisles of a co-op and feeling anxious about taking an unfamiliar off-main-road exit. But what if I stepped away from that immersive level of memory and used more (to use the Kantian term) reflection. This is how I think-going through my memories helps me.

I assigned a big task to myself - clear out all of the journal and blog articles on my readability profile saved list and try to read as many as I could tonight. Too ambitious. It would be a nice thing to clear it all up, it would help me move forward with my non-priotiy tasks. However, when I think about this composing I have to do, it doesn't help me. It makes me feel like everythign I do is in vain.

My new method of fragmenting my thoughts suddenly had its limit - for fucks sake, don't look at google groups when I'm in reading mode.

I really did good this week, and this sudden anxiety I feel undermines the perception of what I did this weel. I'm going to summarise monday-saturday:


  • 3 gym sessions (4 activity sessions including garden tomorrow - if I bloody wake up!)
  • Applied to 14 jobs this week
  • Shift at work
  • 2 fatigue days
  • Thought about composing stuff
  • 1 piano practice day

No comments: