So yesterday was actually much easier on me than I was expecting. Just goes to show – you can’t predict the future. I spent a little time spinning out and worrying about my ability to physically cope long term with my work given how bad I was feeling Monday and Tuesday, but I could have spent longer in that place; I could have wound myself into a tangled mess of fear and anxiety and false predictions and panic.
I didn’t do that and I feel pretty damned proud of myself for that fact.
I’ve got a “mantra” (as a shorthand for something I’m saying over and over to myself) that’s helping me shut down those spin-outs at the moment.
“That’s the future.” And then I move my brain on. I don’t even say the “don’t worry about it” or “you can’t know it” part – all of that’s implicit in the phrase. That’s the future, so stop fucking thinking about it because you’ve got plenty to deal with right here in the present and you can’t afford time wasted worrying about stuff that might look completely different after a night’s sleep even.
I know it’s not a long term solution for dealing with life or anything like that, and it’s not as though I’m never ever thinking about anything in the future. I’m adding stuff to my calendar, making appointments, deciding what we’ll have for dinner and all that type of stuff. I’m just not brooking any shit from a brain who decides it’s got nothing better to do that run around like Chicken Licken declaring that the sky is falling.
Even if the sky were actually falling, there’s not a hell of a lot I can do about it right now, and I might as well get that wet laundry hanging.
So I’ve been using three main tools to help preserve my sanity from my own attacks: (1) Writing here in the morning – that actually really helps. It feels like having a chat with the adult version of myself (yeah, I know – I never said they were very grown up) and it sets me up for how I’m going to decide to respond to things that day. (2) Taking pause for breath and generally slowing down. It doesn’t come instinctively to me at all to not run at things full-throttle and shave off thirty seconds of travel time between classes and all of that, but those cumulative half-minute groups add up to exhaustion for me if I don’t take them. And they don’t actually cost my classes all that very much. So I’m the teacher who’s a bit late for half a year. It could be a lot worse. (3) “That’s the Future”. It’s helping a lot. Especially when I start to fast forward in the pregnancy and imagine worst cases, or worry about the house and planning or how we’re going to get to France or any of that jazz.
(That reminds me though, sorting out a new passport needs to be on my to-do list.)
So, all of that is really helpful, but guess what my jerk brain decides to randomly worry about now?
That I’ll forget to use the tools and I’ll crash into chaos.
Hey! Hey, jerkbrain! Guess what?! That’s the fucking future, so screw you!
I know I shouldn’t fight with my brain. I know we’re ultimately on the same side, but honestly, some days he’s just like a misguided colleague who won’t listen to anyone else’s advice. Yup, my own brain is the most egregious of mansplainers and the epitome of white male privilege. “How cute that you think you know what’s best for yourself,” says brain, “but actually, here’s what we’re going to do:”
And then proceeds to make the worst possible emotional decisions for us.
Just in case you’re wondering, I do know that we’re all my brain here, and that even the me who’s typing here and telling jerk-brain to shut up is still driven by brain. My psychotherapist might disagree, speaking of the parts of us that reside more in the body than in the brain, but I don’t know. I still feel like I’d be as me as ever in a robot body – so long as I had enough sensors to really experience that body, maybe?
But I guess that’s all a bunch of thinking and speculating a bit too far for tired morning self today.
I’m a bit under-prepared for school at the moment, but it’s kind of good enough. And good enough is everything right now.