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I long for peace

By Raggamuffin · Apr 22, 2021 · ·
  1. "Guess what?"
    "Guess what?!"
    "Guess what I had for tea last night?"

    I don't get why people get so enthusiastic about food, and the need for melodrama? Then again, the 2 people involved were obese.

    Shortly after hearing that announcement, the director of the company just came over and asked each desk clump what we thought about pineapple on pizza. You feel obliged to humour a director, but I'd have felt a greater sense of relief if he hadn't asked me directly what I thought.

    Anyway, I said to myself this would be a positive post. Venting is all well and good, but it comes across as ungrateful and tedious in my opinion.

    Yesterday as I was staffing on my lunch break, a very orange skinned woman came out of the beauty salon opposite the park where I staff and proceeded to ask me if I would like to staff at an outdoor event they're having in 3 weeks. Apparently there'll be a DJ and outdoor stalls and such like.

    I agreed - although as soon as I did, my mind was deconstructing the positives and replacing them with negatives. I assumed the music will be a chore to listen to. Mainstream stuff that you hear on the radio of in pubs and clubs. Stuff that social people will enjoy.

    Still, it's staffing - it's always enjoyable to do, and even if it's at an event I probably won't enjoy, I should be grateful that someone asked. Mind you, it's probably unpaid. Then again, being paid for staffing makes me feel awkward. Admittedly it shouldn't - as I'm sure making money from staffing would be good for me.

    This first week back in the office full time is exhausting. So much to catch up on. The admin and processing side is nonstop and incredibly dull. I'm starting the day with energy and a degree of enthusiasm. Followed by a burn out not long after lunch.

    I continue to write down every task I do on my computer and how long it too. Dividing up my day by tasks and duration initially felt like a productive and worthwhile task to offer to do. After the end of the first day however, I realised it wasn't enjoyable - being put under the microscope so to speak. Tomorrow will be the last time I do it I think. The manager hasn't once commented on it since I started sending them, and that reinforces my belief it's a rather fruitless endeavour.

    I really wish art and photography wasn't tainted by failure. I haven't drawn in over a year now, and I've not used my DSLR to any real degree in nearly half a year. Every time I've made something and I get positive comments, or I see how good it is - I feel like a failure. Wanting to have a career from what I make, and yet never amounting to more than a couple of sales of prints, and never having sold an original.

    If I kept pushing, I'm sure I'd see results. But every thing I've attempted so far hasn't satisfied me. Getting my FB page to over 1000 followers, setting up my website, getting prints made and bulk buying frames and materials etc. For what? 1 sale last year of a photo print?

    I see successful people who've "made it" and to say I'm jealous or bitter is an understatement. The jobs I've worked are so tedious and the only saving grace has been the people I've worked with who broke up the monotony. In this job though, I don't have any friends, and I don't have substances now to take the edge off my emotions.

    It's not a helpful mindset to think it's "now or never" and yet I've been waiting over 16 years now and I'm sick and tired of the routines I've been stuck in. But I'm also worn out, and exhausted by fruitless attempts to try and make a go of things.

    I had my therapy session last night. Another positive experience - I told her at the end of our session how I genuinely look forward to each session, which is something I hadn't experienced so much with previous therapists.

    We discussed how the body can remember past traumas - what the mind forgets, the body remembers. She recommended trying to tune in more to how my body reacts. I'm no stranger to stress affecting my body - in fact for many years I suffered from severe health anxiety which conjured up 24/7 symptoms for years. But it also took years to realise the mind-body connection and that my stressed mind was leading to a stressed body.

    Nowadays I don't ache as much at all. Sobriety, diet and exercise are all helping I think. But I still notice times where my body plays up - and I try and piece together what might be causing it. Rather than my old mindset of assuming I was gravely ill with some undiagnosed condition - I look to my surroundings, to how my day has been, and what stressors there might be.

    I spoke of how I'd been feeling rather baffled and unfulfilled by my sobriety - hoping it'd help my depression and anxiety, but feeling rather hampered by how much harder sobriety has made certain aspects of my life. I spoke of wanting to buy my own flat and be my own person. Try and do new things.

    She reminded me however, as she often has done - that I often focus too much on "doing" and that I should try and be more mindful of simply being. Reminiscent of the quote my Kurt Vonnegut:

    “I am a human being, not a human doing.”

    This is probably why I get myself so down - I'm always focusing on what I think I need or should be doing. In fact, it's one of the points brought up in several books I've read regarding depression. Here's an exert from a site I just found when I Googled "depression shoulding"

    "Should statements can be impacting your struggle with panic, anxiety, and depression. Find out how shoulds, oughts, and musts contribute to panic disorder, and how you can reframe your thoughts in a positive way."

    This is what happens whenever I draw a picture or take a good photo - I start to bombard myself with all sorts of expectations:

    "You should show this to people."
    "You should be selling your art work."
    "You'll never make a career from what you make."
    "If you aren't selling your work, what's the point of making it any more."

    I tend to go through cycles with my creative work. I enjoy being creative, and yet I weigh myself down with unreasonable demands and expectations. And yet, when I see how others have made a success from their art - I wonder how different am I? Am I not valid?

    Isn't talking yourself out of "shoulding" a negative process in of itself? Being content with not progressing? If you kept talking yourself out of getting things done, you'd end up stagnating.

    Part of me has to try and manage my own expectations. It's similar to my ideas (or ideals) of how life will be when I move out and buy my own place. I paint this idyllic picture in my minds eye, and yet I don't want it to be an anti-climax. Similarly, I can often work myself up so much prior to an event happening, that when I actually experience the situation - it fails to live up to all the time and worry I invested beforehand.

    Perhaps I find work so draining because all you are in a job is a "human doing" - at least in this job it feels that way. Doing 2 people's jobs is never going to feel fulfilling when they refuse to pay you overtime and you're on a rubbish salary. The only "human being" side I have to my jobs is when I socialise, and I don't really do that here.

    I often find myself wishing I was more outgoing - basically picturing myself as something I'm not. Around friends I can be outgoing, but even then, those moments are fleeting. It feels a little redundant to wish to be something I'm not, because I'm always going to feel like I'm not living up to expectations that could probably never become a reality. Truth be told, when I witness people who are very outgoing - they annoy me, a lot. Why would I wish that upon myself? More "shoulding" I suppose.

    Towards the end of our therapy session we spoke of me saving that fledgling seagull at work and how scared I am when this years gulls start nesting on the roof. I said if I see another fledgling on the roof, I'm not going to be able to switch off.

    The more I spoke of me saving this fledgling, the more emotional I became. I've noticed with several therapists in the past, when I get really emotional, I see their eyes tearing up as well. It's clear my current therapist is an animal lover too - and sensitive.

    I've often thought being sensitive is a hinderance, and yet - it's who I am. Why try and change it? Of course, when it makes me anxious or depressed - I should do my best to steer myself away from such emotions. It reminded me of a line from the TV show Boardwalk Empire - "I am who I am - who else could I be?"

    That quote then reminded me of what I once saw on this forum. The Maori word for autism "Takiwatanga" which means “In their own time and space”.

    Sensitivity, creativity, and austicity (a word that features in a book about I'm reading) - none of these aspects of myself need altering or forcibly masking. My therapist sympathises with how exhausting my masking is. It's probably why I indulge so much in time away from people when I'm not at work. I need time to be myself.

    At the end of the day, I might believe in a craving to fit in more, but why on earth would I want to be the same as everyone else? It's clear from my way of thinking that I'm frequently not happy, or at odds with who I really am. There's so much needless inner conflict, and I long for peace.


    About Author

    Ed, 34, UK

    I'm an underachiever with numerous talents. Exhausted by people and being stuck in the rat race. Unable to shake depression for nearly 2 decades.

    Approaching a year and a half sober. I've undertaken numerous lifestyle changes in recent years. I'd hoped they'd provide some solace from mental health issues. In reality, I know work is my main stressor. 16 years spent in jobs I've never considered careers, or worthy of my time.


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  1. Rahere
    Peas on pizza. Have a slice of the Nobel Peas Prize, for a net contribution to human development.