The marathon is finished. My Summer Tests are corrected, and half of the results and comments entered in. So, essentially I’m done. I’m on holidays and everything is all better and I will never feel stress again – at least not for another three months, right?
A while ago I was trying out a website called “SuperBetter” which was focused on using various tasks and methods to help you build up resilience in different areas of your life in which you might struggle. One of the things it recommended was that you should always have on your list a “next thing” that you’re looking forward to in the future. It also recognised that once a big event had passed you were likely to experience a “slump”, and thus recommended getting a “next thing” to look forward to on your list as soon as possible.
This is possibly effective in some small ways, but here’s the problem as I see it: it encourages (1) living in the future, (2) always jumping from “crash” to “excitement” and (3) having an external point of focus for your happiness. I’ve stolen the phrase Load Bearing Repository from Captain Awkward, and it’s fairly apt in this context.
Finishing up with school work, getting to the Summer Holidays, completion of the marathon relay – all hard become a load-bearing repository for my feelings of stress and inability to clean house or draw or do anything. It’s all just been heaped on that pile for the past (at least) month anyway. And now that pile has been removed, my supporting pylon has been removed and I feel adrift. I’m not suddenly all better and all motivation and energy. The same background worries and daily stresses that have always been present are still there. My house is still a mess. I’m still terrible at remembering to be in contact with friends and family, I still don’t spend the time I want to on drawing, I still feel overwhelmed and stressed out about life.
What has been triggered by the advent of Summer is a sudden re-desire to drink. I think this is likely to be the case for a long time whenever I experience a change in situation. I just need to get used to not drinking as this version of me, and that might take a little while. I guess the danger would be that after a long time of not drinking and not wanting to or needing to think too much about it, I might get blindsided and not be prepared for a sudden urge to “join in the festivities” or think “well, I’m okay now – look how easy it was to stop last time!”
I even notice in that last paragraph that I describe it as being a “long time” since drinking (or thinking about it!) and actually, it’s only been 8 weeks. 8 weeks is not a long time out of a person’s life. It’s not even a long time out of a person’s year! And as for a long time not thinking about it… well, everything’s relative, of course. And when I drank nearly daily, I thought about it daily – more than that even. In fact, the less I was drinking, the more I thought about it. I probably do think (and talk!) about it a fair bit here, but I can honestly say that most of the rest of the day, it doesn’t really come into my mind any more than, say cigarettes. i.e. If I happen to see them advertised, or used by people, I think about it, but otherwise, not really. This is a pretty strong contrast with the hundred times a day (probably not an exaggeration!) I would think about or worry about drinking, its effects on me, my desire for it, my desire to stop. A whole lot of wasted energy.
Now I just do that with food! Maybe less, though I’m currently pretty obsessed by what to eat that won’t leave me feeling wretched and with a cramping stomach. It’s so hard to grab quick fuel that is unprocessed and/or without bread! I thought I was going to eat a pitta bread with my breakfast this morning, but a small mouthful and I just knew that it was going to make me feel sick. So I had an egg and an orange instead. Seems like an odd combination, but it was the best I could do with what I had on hand. Maybe having a batch of rice cooked up and accessible would be the way to go.
Anyway, I’m just stopping here today with no real resolution about anything. Just a tiny bit more awareness perhaps. I think that’s the point.