We all go through hard times. It feels unfair when you’re subjected to some kind of suffering; it’s easy to lament your circumstances, and to try to reject your hardship with all your strength. Sometimes, though, you have to shift things around a bit.
At the moment I’m pretty anxious. I have to juggle my degree, my job, boxing, the gym, and of-course, myself. Sometimes, handling all the stress does start to feel overwhelming, but I take a lot of pride in how much stuff I do. When I reflect, it makes me feel pretty powerful knowing that I’m doing all these things despite having a mental illness that could easily spiral if I didn’t constantly chop away at its roots. I like to draw a lot of pride from those reminders of how well I’m doing, but that means I’m less likely to juggle things around when I do eventually start to feel the strain of it all. The strain, and the stress it creates, starts to feed into my anxious thoughts, and gives them new strength that starts to eat away at me. My thoughts about my heart have started to come back with new force recently, and it kept me up late last night with deep worry and anxiety. I’m writing this now as a reminder to myself that sometimes you have to juggle things around a bit; slow down in some areas, whilst making-sure that I’m still going forward, both in a productive way and in my own mental health.
The problem with seeing being busy as a strategy to battle anxious thoughts is that you tend to forget to actually listen to the current of your thoughts. So, you know, when your strategy starts to wear you down, you should probably listen to your mind asking you to please calm your shit. I just find it immensely-difficult to stop, because I have all these ideas about where I want to go, and what kind of person I want to be. I don’t want to tone-down training, because I want to work towards a better physique and I want to carry-on fighting. I can’t stop working, because I need the money, and whilst I haven’t exactly been a model student this year, I do still see my degree as a full-time committment. The point is, there’s only so much time in each day, and as much as it pains me, I’m not superhuman. I can’t do all these things whilst having solid mental health, and I have to accept that that’s okay. What I want of myself, that can come in good time. What’s causing me so much anxiety at the moment is that I’m wanting to study like a Historian, train like AJ, and… well I’m okay with doing the bare minimum at work (sorry about that). I think the best way to summarise it is I tend to burn the candle at both ends, because I want to be proud of myself, but in my mind I can only be proud of myself when I’m going 100% in everything. When I don’t do that, I get stressed, I get moody, I doubt myself, and before I know it I’ve lost my calm headspace and I’m getting sucked-up into a battle with myself that I’ve pretty-much already set up to be a loss, because I just can’t work like a pack-mule all the time. I need that down-time so I can have the good mental health to maintain a good work-rate. My capacity to work just might not be at the level of AJ, and it’s a tough thing to accept, but I’m going to have-to!
Pay attention to how much you’re actually doing. Some people can work more than others, but even they have a limit. There comes a point where you need a break, both phsyically and mentally. You can’t always be thinking about how hard you’re going to work, because by doing so you’re setting yourself up for a loss. It’s much much better (and of course tricky) to work towards figuring out what your best working capacity is, and set small, realistic goals going towards what it is you want overall. As tricky as it is, we all have constraints on how much we can do, and to be at your best you have to know your limits.