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I’ve been quiet and nonresponsive to comments lately because I’ve been traveling again. Coming back, I’m way overloaded with work and stressed out.

This is a rational, calm version of how I feel lately. (c) Shannon Wheeler, but I added the color.

I should be working right now, but even looking at my work makes me anxious. I took an Ativan a little while ago and it helped, so I started in on a few tasks. But the moment I sat down to the desk to really work on the one task I’m supposed to finish up today, my hands started shaking again.

I’m very frustrated with my inability to adequately manage my own workload lately. I don’t work quite as much as I used to, but I haven’t reduced my commitments. Plus my work ends up being very stop-and-go due to mood swings. Sometimes I’m madly productive, other times stumblingly slow to do anything. I feel like I’m the latter state right now, and the work keeps piling up.

My supervisors are starting to chastise me for doing too much, and in truth I did do my usual routine of agreeing to more than I can really handle while my mood was adequately elevated that I genuinely believed I could do it all. I hate that I do that. I don’t know how to stop doing it. Perhaps something to ask Hippie Dude next time I see him.

I’m criticized for not saying no more often, and now my supervisors are scheduling a meeting to help me work out strategy and whatever. Basically yanking my chain back a little. I’m just not keeping up well enough to accumulate additional commitments. It’s pretty upsetting for me, to be honest.

It doesn’t help that I’m also dealing with a bit of jetlag and winding down a smoking relapse to get back to quitting again. The gray weather weighs on me, despite my blue light. I am inordinately distracted, unable to determine which is most important of the many things that need my attention. I’m trying to manage seasonal bounty of produce, canning, freezing, and drying food. I’ve been nervously assembling “scrappy book” pages like mad the last few evenings, because that pile needs to be reduced too. I’m trying really hard not to start another knitting project or two, since I already have one going. That’s a sure sign of being mentally checked out; the one-project-at-a-time rule has been in place for years and years.

I can’t stop myself from wandering off and losing time trying to make things more orderly. I have an overwhelming need to make my surroundings as uncluttered and Zen as I can, so I do everything I can to eliminate the piles of paper, unopened mail, used toner cartridge, old car stereo, stuff to donate, everything I can possibly remove from my life. I can’t work until my desk is cleared enough. I try to do it in stages – clear a little, work a little – so that I get some work done. I haven’t managed to dig myself out just yet. Every time I turn around there’s more stuff that needs attention.

I feel like I’m being compulsive, so driven by anxiety about all the work that I’m having a hard time facing. Avoiding the work by doing other, less critical work, which just makes the critical stuff more critical. Over and over. I see that it’s utterly self-defeating and yet can’t make myself stop doing it.