I’m always amazed when the same thing happens every single time: for some time, life is smooth. I get up, write, work, (soooometimes) do some exercise, sleep, repeat. Then, all of a sudden and at the worst of times, every single thing –good AND bad– happens at the same time, leaving me struggling to juggle all of them at once.
I’m not the best juggler; I’m not the worst either. In general, I get things done well enough so the perfectionist in me is able to sleep at night.
What I am, though, is a failure at keeping calm during those times. I feel this current of nerves running through my body that breaks havoc on my mood, going from extreme excitement to unravelling depression with the same speed of hummingbird wings. Nothing seems completely enjoyable because there is a cloud of doom hanging over everything I touch. I turn into captain grouchy and into a professional complainer. Yeah, I know… I don’t like myself those days either.
Sometimes it gets so bad I feel a hand is gripping my heart, constricting it so much my chest aches and my breathing speeds up. At those times I get angry with myself because I am able to rationalize all my end-of-the-world feelings and I know it is stupid for me to get into such a state when all I’m dealing with are deadlines, and some of those, even self-imposed. In my line of work, be it my PhD studies or my writing, no one will die if I don’t manage to do something perfectly, so there is no reason to get all worked up. Still, even if my conscious mind doesn’t believe that, my unconscious definitely believes volcanos will erupt, earthquakes will shatter the earth and I’ll drown in a sea of responsibilities.
When I go in anxiety mode, I find it harder to get out of bed and do, well, anything. It’s harder to focus. I feel I’m slower than a snail, while the day flies away, leaving me behind, wondering how could so much time pass with me accomplishing so little.
It is also harder to write. I look at my own words and they look like crap, the story resembling the shambles of Pompeii more than a well crafted story. It only adds to my downward spiral.
Yet, even as time hurries away, so do the many deadlines and tasks pass and with them, calmness fills me as I feel the danger ebb away from me. Like in a movie, the sun shines again and all is right in the world and for a time, I smile, I’m free and the world has meaning again.
My writing doesn’t look so bad, right? Might I even dare say it’s starting to look a little bit more professional? I return to my routine. I laugh easier and daydream of all the possibilities the world has to offer.
That nirvana doesn’t last, the same way the dark reign of terror doesn’t either. Life, to me, is a sine curve with its ups and downs, with high and low tides that shake me to the core for a time and then lift me up to soar among the clouds. Life is a rollercoaster I don’t want to end, I just need to learn how to enjoy those dangerous curves and 90 degree falls.