I last wrote specifically about this period of time back in September. September! And I am pleased to report: progress. In the last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of the things I’d hoped for in this break from deadlines come to fruition.
For one, I realized the other day I’ve reached a crucial tipping point: my writing and other creative work have become more interesting to me than my go-to distractions. Writing is still hard, but I would now actually rather do it than avoid it. Which means I don’t really have to employ very many of the “rules” that I pondered in my last post about this, because the attention is coming more naturally.
Another thing: I have almost no symptoms of anxiety and depression. A few little dips here and there, as is natural for those of us who struggle with such things, but at this time last year I was on the floor with a box of tissue way too often. I can only assume that eliminating the things that were causing me to feel overwhelmed has made this huge difference.
Thirdly, I spend a lot more time with my in-town friends than I had been. Almost every day I go out somewhere and see someone for work or play or food or coffee or all of the above. Over the past few years, I’ve felt like I “don’t have time” to do this regularly because of the ack-my-deadline cloud of dread that I dragged with me at all times, yet I somehow found time to spend with my friends online, often to avoid work. Now I’m simply having a lot more tangible fun, which helps everything else.
When the day comes again that I do have a deadline–and I’m sure it will (I hope it will!), I believe that the rest and recovery and new mental habits I’m accumulating now will stick with me. For years I think I’ve had this identity of “I am an anxious, busy, overwhelmed person,” and now I’m creating a new identity rooted in feeling more calm, capable, ready, social, and hardworking in a good way.
(Please point me back to this post six months from now!)