Sometimes, I crash and burn.
I’m sure it’s partially fueled by depression … and partially fueled by living in a constant state of stress and anxiety … but that doesn’t really matter in the long run because it happens. Some days, I wake up, and it’s all I can do to get out of bed.
This Crash-and-Burn is characterized by the following: bone-crushing exhaustion. No matter what I do I can’t seem to get enough sleep. Slight nausea and queasiness. Headache. And bone-crushing exhaustion. Did I mention that already?
The Crash-and-Burn is also generally accompanied by deep feelings of sadness and guilt. I just feel lousy. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to go anywhere. And I hate it. I hate that I feel so … blech! And that kick-starts the guilt. There are so many other things I could and should be doing: reading, riding Artemis, working on a craft project, going out somewhere, heck – even cleaning the apartment (!), but I don’t want to do anything. I just want to sleep. And when I can’t sleep anymore because I got 17 hours of it in the last 24… then I watch TV.
I go for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathons, personally. Why? I like watching powerful women kick some serious butt. And I like watching somebody who has real problems to face – come on, an apocalypse brought on by the town’s mayor trying to turn himself into a demon?!? Nothing I’m going through compares to that! But I never feel any better after watching 6 straight hours of Buffy. In fact, if anything, I feel even guiltier.
And that’s not because I have anything against a relaxing day in front of the TV. I know lots of people can sit and watch 6 straight hours of TV and not bat an eye at it – my fiancé is one of them! He loves watching TV and he could lounge on our couch with the box on all the time. But I know that watching TV doesn’t make me happy. I don’t enjoy it the way I enjoy other things that I do.
So why do I do it?
Well, that is the question, is it not, ol’ Shakespeare? Why do I reach such points of despair that all I can even fathom doing is a Buffy marathon?
And what can I do to make it stop? That is my real question. Why is somebody who loves doing things like reading, riding a bike, crafting, and blogging wasting precious weekend hours on an activity that doesn’t do it? Because that is what I did this past weekend. It was 2 straight days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched the entirety of Season 5 in just 2 days. I didn’t read a page of a book, didn’t write a word for The Realist Adjusts the Sails, or touch any of my crafting projects. I did clock in some Artemis time, but nothing, nothing, nothing compared to what I normally do on a weekend.
And the scariest part? This Crash-and-Burn used to happen more frequently – several times a year – but it has diminished significantly since I started taking Paxil. In fact, I haven’t had an “episode” this bad since I started taking Paxil. So I resolved that Crash-and-Burn was depression related, and my wonder drug was keeping it locked down. And it probably is … one item on my agenda is to get back into see my doctor and talk about my Paxil dosage … but I think there is an element of stress here too.
Now, I’m not going to use this as an excuse to start drinking wine again. But as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am still having problems with relaxing, and the one antidote I have found in the past is wine. However, I am on Day 23 of No-Wine, and I intend to keep going with it because wine is not the answer. I know that. I have to find some other way to relax. But I do think that dropping the wine has upped my stress levels. And upped stress levels has contributed to the Crash-and-Burn. My body reached that breaking point, and decided to just … well … crash and burn.
So, how to make it stop? Adjust my Paxil dosage. But what else can I do? I tried to think of stresses in my life and how I can reduce them. But I think the problem runs even deeper than that. I think the problem is stressing in the first place.
Because my life is not stressful. It shouldn’t be. But I am stressed. I am stressed all the time. And I think it stems from being a Type A perfectionist. There. Problem solved.
Well, definitely not solved, but I am a Type A perfectionist. And I pour a lot of energy into keeping things organized, orderly, and straight … but I was reminded today: life is not organized, orderly, and straight. Life is a mess. And being alive means living in the mess. Author Anne Lamott wrote on her Facebook:
Here’s how to break through the perfectionism: make A LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often… Celebrate messes—these are where the goods are. Put something on the calendar that you know you’ll be terrible at… Now, today. One wild and crazy thing.
I haven’t figured out a wild and crazy thing to do today. Or something to put on my calendar that I’ll be terrible at. But I want to take steps in this direction. I want to fight the perfectionism. I want to find the joy in the mess … my mess. Because I hope that finding the joy in my life will limit the stress. And relaxation will become a regular part of my life – a normal, natural part of my life. And these hobbies I love so much? They won’t take a backseat to Buffy again.