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It’s a dull, gray day. I’m feeling similarly. I even put on my lightbox this morning. Twice.

I can’t help worrying. My anxiety levels have steadily been climbing since returning from the north woods. Everything builds up until I can’t stand it anymore. On a good day, I just go merrily about my business. On a less good day, it all freaks me out. I keep trying to get my life in order, and it keeps not happening. After awhile, I feel like it can never be accomplished; might as well just give up on the whole thing.

Whale vertebrae at a special exhibit at the Montréal Biodôme. The bones are trapped by circumstances not of their making behind an artistically interpreted protective fence.

One of the big things I wanted to do on my vacation was get a few things in order around the house. I didn’t really get very far with that, and now it’s distressing to think about all those things that still need doing. I didn’t write any blog posts to queue up for this week (so that I could focus more on work when I’m supposed to be working.) I haven’t done my DBT homework for tonight yet. I have a pile of blog posts to read and respond to. The reusable container cupboard is an overflowing mess. The “bar” is layered with half-finished craft projects – a sweater that needs blocking, prescription bottles intended to be transformed into a pen/pencil organizer, materials for the T-shirt quilt. A basket of stuff I intend to list on Etsy is still sitting on the piano bench, weeks later. Everything has a rather thick layer of dust on it.

But I did do things this weekend. My to-do list for yesterday looks like this:

  • put away backpacking gear (mostly done)
  • DBT homework
  • clean out container cupboard
  • catch up on periodicals
  • clean out returnables
  • Etsy listing
  • enter bird data
  • blog posts

I also ordered some things that we needed around the house – backup batteries for our water purifier, replacement cartridges for the water pre-filter, new cushions for our outdoors chairs, a dog brush. I cleaned out a little email and read a few blog posts. I notified someone at my new workplace that I’ll be available to meet this week. I entered my May mood data into a spreadsheet. I met with my supervisors about my postdoc. I did stuff, just not the stuff on the list. I do that a lot, and then I get frustrated about it.

My to-do list for today looks like this:

  • Look up CSA start date
  • Log food (I’m counting calories again)
  • Journal article copyright paperwork
  • DBT homework
  • Submit dissertation for award competition
  • Postdoc planning
  • Send dissertation chapter to supervisor #1
  • Update CV
  • Send CV to supervisor #2
  • Set up work tracking system
  • Pull books for writing group member to borrow

I’m sure that’s not all I need to do. In fact, I know that there’s much more that should be getting done. I keep track of my to-do items with productivity management software (OmniFocus, I love it!) and keep having to reschedule due dates.

I know I’m my own source of stress. I know I make lists that have too much on them. But sometimes I can knock out the whole list before 3 PM. And sometimes I can only get one or two things done. That’s more than a little frustrating.

There’s no real point to any of this, except to say that my mood is down (44 on Moodscope this morning, unlike the rather high May scores) and anxiety is up. I’m sure this will pass, but whether or not it’s true, it feels like I’ll never ever get caught up on anything.

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