My Coping Mechanisms Were Overwhelmed

I don’t think I’ve ever had a week that has tested my coping mechanisms as much as this past one has. 2023 has been a rough year, but this past week has been a special brand of hell. Not only have I had to deal with a few incredibly stressful events such as cancelling a flight and booking a new one, confronting my body image and gender identity issues as I get fit for a suit and buy new clothing, and trying to ramp up my performance at work even more as projects get shuffled around and my timeline gets drastically reduced, but I’ve also been trying to juggle preparations for this trip I’m going on. I have dropped every single ball multiple times this week (or had it knocked out of my hands by circumstance) and, despite wanting nothing more than to crawl into a hole for twenty-four hours so I can rest and recover before cleaning up and trying again, I have had to carry on immediately. I honestly don’t think I’ve had a week where I’ve had to just suck it up and keep going when I’m this stressed and miserable since I moved out of my parents’ house.

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Trying To Actively Fix My Burnout

I’ve been battling burnout for years now. I was driven away from my last job because of the demands placed on me and how all my work was punished because it didn’t fall neatly into the metrics my new manager used to rate my performance (despite how my old manager had approved of and supported my work). My new job was better for a while, but years of dealing with one of the most difficult people I’ve ever met and a great deal of institutional indifference to new ideas, modernization, and change in general have slowly ground me down. Since it is a slower process, I’ve been able to work to counter it, but there’s only so much to do when you’re also in the middle of a pandemic and the economic system you live in is doing it’s best to extract every single penny it can get from you and people like you. There’s no time to rest, little space to get a breather, and almost no ability to create either one of those since the only thing that will let me potentially escape in the future is working as much as my health will allow me to. It is not a great situation to be in, honestly.

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Anxiety Is A Terrible Roommate

Some days, having anxiety is a lot like that moment in a movie where a dog starts barking about something and it is clear to the people around the dog that something is very wrong. The dog’s behavior makes in irrefuatably clear that there is a problem that needs to be corrected, but when that problem isn’t incredibly aparent, most people are at a loss for what they can do to handle whatever has caught the dog’s attention. There’s been jokes made for decades now about how people respond to a dog clearly attempting to communicate something when they don’t know what that is, everything from answering as if they know but without committing to an interpretation (“Yes, yes, I know”) to falling on popular media references from decades past (“What’s that, boy? Timmy fell down a well?”).

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Dark Days And Long, Sleepless Nights

As I was going through some notes, I realized it has been two and a half months since this one night where I was so stressed out that I wound up staying up all night. I wasn’t exactly well-rested going into that evening, but I thought I’d be able to handle it without too much of a problem given how frequently I used to be able to go without sleep. While I did, eventually, get through the day, it was not the simple but tiring experience I remembered. Much to my chagrin, given how much I relied on this ability to carry me through my bouts of insomnia, I have slowly but surely reached the age where I can’t function without any sleep. It is an unfortunate fact of getting older, but more unfortunate is that this loss hasn’t come with a corresponding increase in my body’s day-to-day demands for sleep. I still struggle to fall asleep just as much as I used to and the impacts of losing sleep seem to hit me harder. At least until it comes time to fall asleep, again. At that point, it pretty much counts for nothing.

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I Overstimulated AND Overwhelmed Myself at the Same Time Today

I spent a great deal of today staving off an anxiety attack. A lot has been going on lately, you know? I’ve also got a lot of stuff coming up on the horizon like an international trip, a wedding I’m a part of, job applications, needing to move this summer, and way too much more (mostly work stuff I’m not putting here because that’s transient stress/venting and I want to avoid venting about my job on the internet). Plus, I’ve have had a few long-running relationships begin to crumble over the last couple days thanks to people choosing the dumb wizard game over doing the right thing in support of someone they cared about (me, a non-binary person). It’s been wearing on me, to the point that I am a confused mass of emotions and exhaustion that vascillates between wanting to collapse and feeling mostly fine (which is mostly me coping for work since I need to be at least a little present and presentable while I’m on the clock). I need rest, I need some quiet, I need some love and support from my friends, and I need to not hyperfixate on the latest Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom trailer.

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Dangerously Beautiful Winter Weather

Every day this week has been sunny. From weeks of clouds and mild weather, we’ve emerged into sunlight so bright it’s blinding as cold winds keep the area so cold it is dangerous to go on walks despite it. With wind chills frequently bringing the temperature below the negative ten degrees fahrenheit temperature that marks the point where exposed skin might get frostbite over the length of a normal walk, I’ve had to take special precautions in order to continue my daily stroll. They’re relatively minor, thankfully, since I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and have access to the kinds of winter gear required to prevent any damage to my person. The only problem I wasn’t really ready to handle was just how blinding it has been outside, every single day, thanks to the heavy snow we got last weekend and the brilliant, cloudless days we’ve had since.

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The Line Between Naivety and Forgiveness

Trust, once lost, is not easily regained. The process of losing trust can be anything from drawn out and complex to instaneous and simple, but regaining it is always a time-consuming and difficult affair. We’re seeing a lot of that play out in the world these days, on a lot of different scales. Perhaps the biggest and most difficult to define example is people losing faith in government instituions. A much smaller but still impactful example is the recent loss of trust in Wizards of the Coast. It will take decades to restore trust in government instutions, especially given how every day seems to bring more evidence that the institutions we thought were safeguarding our government are actually just there to serve and protect the most powerful and wealthy among us (not that we needed more evidence to believe that). Likewise, it will take Wizards of the Coast a long time and some pretty extreme conscessions for people to trust that they’re not simply kicking the can down the road with this latest backpedaling they’ve been doing.

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Fresh Burnout and Emotional Exhaustion

After an incredibly exhausting start to my year, things are starting to calm down. All of the major events that showed up in the first weeks of this month have passed and I’ve had at least a couple days where very little has happened. Additionally, I went to my most recent session of family therapy, reflected on how it had gone for a few days afterwards, and decided that it would be my last. It was only a single hour every week, but it took up a disproportionate amount of my idle thoughts and most of my active ones as well, so I’m looking forward to thinking about things I enjoy again, such as my various writing projects, fun video games, and the other aspects of my life that I want to work on to improve myself rather than attempting to lead my parents toward growth. Hopefully I will have a chance to rest and recover from everything that’s been going on so that I can once again enjoy myself rather than continue the staving off of misery that I’ve been doing lately. And while I have made little progress on any of my major worries for the rest of 2023, I’ve done what I can for now.

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