Operation De-Stress: Relapse

This was a bad week.

I had a lot of work to do for my job as Ray Wenderlich this week. I had deadlines for the update to the book that I forgot about and obligations for my talk at RWDevCon along with my regular duties for the Swift Team. I deluded myself into thinking that because I don’t have a conference for a while that I had a period of freedom that was premature.

Instead of doing cleaning in the mornings I was catching up on work for these various obligations. Things went downhill from there.

I didn’t do my yoga any morning this week. I think I did my meditation once.

I was going into this holiday weekend thinking I would have dedicated time to work on my graphics projects. I forgot that I had social obligations.

On Thursday I spent all day making pie and spending Thanksgiving with my other family, so that day was shot. Then on Friday I had Thanksgiving with my actual family. I got some stuff done, but being away from my house and in an unfamiliar environment made it difficult for me to focus. I also felt under the weather because I wasn’t drinking enough fluids because I didn’t remember to when I sat down to work.

I feel very silly talking about this stuff, but if I get off my schedule I get sick. I set up routines for myself to stay healthy and take care of myself because if I don’t I forget to. If I don’t make my tea in the morning I forget to drink fluids. If I don’t schedule a walk or some kind of exercise then I don’t do it.

Black Pixel is having a holiday party I was planning to go to in Seattle on my birthday, but I realized that the disruption of trying to work in an unfamiliar place was going to interfere with my ability to function.

Here is the reality I deal with when I travel somewhere.

I have to make sure I have access to hot water or else I don’t get my tea and it throws me off my whole day because I won’t drink fluids. I have difficulty at conferences when they have breakfast that is just pastries because if I don’t eat protein in the mornings, specifically warm proteins, I have difficulty functioning. I used to bring a lot of things to conferences with me to offset some of these issues. I have found that most conferences have tea, so I don’t need to bring my tea brewer and my loose tea. I haven’t figured out a solution for the warm protein thing yet. I should just bite the bullet and get breakfast at those conferences rather than just feeling grumpy.

A lot of people have somewhat made fun of my request that someone make sure I buy food for my train trip back from 360iDev. I need people to help me find food because when I am off my schedule and in places I am unfamiliar with I get very discombobulated and it becomes difficult for me to function. I get paralyzed by choice. Surrounded by a lot of restaurants I don’t know. Having to choose one. Then further having to choose what I want from the menu. I usually look over the menu at a restaurant before I go so I know what I will get because if I don’t, I will spend half an hour pouring over the menu trying to figure out what I want and that is rude.

The thought of going to Seattle, trying to figure out how to get to my hotel and from the hotel to the office every day and trying to figure out how to feed myself without access to my kitchen or a working knowledge of what is around me was too daunting for me to deal with.

I was supposed to go out with people yesterday. One person was having a joint birthday party and another person was having a game night. I lied to these people and told them I had a migraine because the thought of trying to leave my house yesterday not once, but twice, was too overwhelming for me to deal with.

I lied because people don’t understand. I told everyone I had a migraine because that is something people understand. They don’t understand the complete and total exhaustion of losing an hour just traveling to and from Madison. Of being in a place that is not mine, that I don’t control. I find being in public to be incredibly overwhelming. I didn’t used to, but it’s gotten harder.

Most of the conferences I attend are relatively small with a lot of people I know. I usually have a hotel room I can retreat to when I get overwhelmed. I find doing a talk in front of a hundred people easier to deal with than having to spend time at a restaurant in the mall where it is noisy and chaotic and I have nowhere to escape to.

I have no idea if this will get any better. I don’t know if I am making it worse by doing things like working from home. I don’t know if this is because of the divorce or getting older or what. I think I used to be able to deal with this stuff, but I never really immersed myself in large crowds of people for concerts or other events.

I just know that some days I cannot fucking deal with anyone and I just want to stay in my house. I get overwhelmed and I stop doing things I need to do. I am seeing the clutter in my house accumulate because I need to clean it but I can’t. I am spontaneously buying books from Amazon because that is what I do when I get stressed out, which adds to the clutter. Just because I know I have a pattern of behavior doesn’t mean that I can keep myself from doing it. It’s simply a symptom I can see that tells me I need to do better.

So I am hiding in my house. I am going back on my schedule tomorrow. I am going to get myself back into a stable state so that I can hopefully be able to go to the grocery store and get lemons for my tea before I run out. I am hoping to get all of my food cooked before more is delivered on Tuesday.

I am replacing my yoga with a long walk. The yoga wasn’t really working well and I didn’t do it every day like I was supposed to. I also have gotten rather sedentary and my watch keeps cutting my calorie burn target each week because I barely move. I used to walk when it was warm out because I didn’t have to put on socks and my shorts were what I just normally wore around the house. I don’t want to put on jeans and socks and shoes every day, which is why I really should be doing that. I might have trouble being out in public, but I can take a quiet walk around my neighborhood without being bothered and getting out is probably good for me.

Also, as much as I want to get on my graphics stuff, I should go back to cleaning in the morning before work. It was working well for me and it made me feel better, so I am going to go back to doing that, even though it means there is an hour of productivity in the morning that I am giving up. If I have obligations for Ray, I will do those, but I am trying to reserve that time to cleaning up something.

I know I can’t control every aspect of my life. There are holidays. There is my periodic trip to the grocery store to get things I don’t want to have delivered. There are the days where I will feel overwhelmed by loneliness and will need to get out or else I will go crazy. I don’t know if I want those days to happen more or less. I have friends I never get to see who I will make time to see because they are important to me. It’s a balancing act to see how far I can push myself before I retreat back into my cave. I pushed myself too far this week and I am in damage control mode. Going to try to spend today recovering so that I can focus on my job tomorrow. I also need better coping strategies rather than just letting myself spiral downward until I smack into something that breaks my fall.