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Procrasti-nation: It's where I live . . . and I'm tired of the scenery.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm tired of being the anxious control-freak perfectionist.

I'm tired of my anxiety about normal, everyday things getting in the way of me enjoying life.

I'm sick and tired of this being part of my identity, of who and what I am.

Why can't I progress on my dissertation? Because it has come to be synonymous with anxiety and a tight, pressing, asphyxiating pain that starts in my stomach and moves to my chest, making it so I can't breath . . . or even move as I become paralyzed by "what ifs . . . " What if it's not perfect? What if I don't do it right? What if I can't finish it? What if no one likes it? What if I let my (thesis advisor, husband, parents, Foundation which sponsors my research) down.

What has become my coping mechanism for anxiety? Procrastination. If I ignore it long enough . . . maybe it will go away. Perhaps I will fail. But I won't have to deal with the anxiety monster on my chest.

Except my relocation to Procrasti-Nation doesn't eliminate my anxiety - it only delays it. And while I have removed that which produces anxiety from my mental sphere, it replicates, grows exponentially, like some sort of mental mold, with psychosomatic spores taking over my peace of mind and dominating me.

What do I hate about my current address (1 Hiding behind the Bushes, Denial Place, Procrasti-nation)? I hate how attached I am to the drama involved in making, day after day, the same wrong decisions. I hate how I seem to revel in my whoa-is-me persona. I hate how much of an idiot I am when it comes to how I process stress and anxiety. (Yes, I said idiot. Read this blog opinionator.blogs.nytime s.com/2012/08/11/the-anxio us-idiot/ which I found thanks to this insightful post by PSSN4FITNESS www.sparkpeople.com/mypa

It's time for a change of scenery and a change of strategy. In the long run it is less painful to deal with things now than to face the eventual blow-up. Unfortunately, this unhealthy and counterproductive way of dealing with the things that stress me out has become such an intrinsic part of my identity (to the point where now my husband is starting to develop some of the same habits) that this is going to be even harder to change than my eating or exercise habits.

But if I have learned one thing from Spark and Flylady, it is that the power to change is in our own hands, and that any problem can be overcome by taking baby steps, facing our fears and just getting down and dirty and DOING IT.

I'm ready to move to a new place. A place where the motto of the people living there is "Just Get it Done and THEN Have Some Fun." A place where happiness, not guiltiness is the most common emotion. Somewhere that I can feel like I deserve to go to the beach, hang out with friends, go to a concert or to see relatives on the weekend and not feel trapped in my home, avoiding, procrastinating and sticking my head in the sand like an ostritch, all of which only serves to feed the anxiety fungus fogging up my brain.

I want to enjoy my wonderful life, my wonderful family and friends. I want my husband to have a happy, optimistic and calm wife, not a frantic, wigged out anxiety attack waiting to happen.

How do I get there? How do I begin the journey from Procrasti-nation to a better destination? (Any help on names for this new country would be appreciated) Is it called HappyLand? The Continent of Contentment? Self-realization-nation?

I have the feeling that this will be the journey of one thousand steps. One thousand small steps in the right direction. Much less thinking and ruminating and much more action. And each step in the right direction will pave the way for another, whilst I learn to shut up my inner critic, my inner worrywort and my inner perfectionist and stimulate another, happier, proactive me: Do-it-now me. Confident me. It's-okay-to-make-mistakes me. Life-is-fun me. Conquering-my-demons-means-gro
wing me. Bite-the-bullet-and-do-'er me.

You get the picture.

Just as I have learned that cleaning is actually blessing my home and family (thanks Flylady!) and taking care of my body is actually loving me and healing me more than food would; in essense, blessing my body; I need to retrain my brain to understand that a pro-active, head-on, no dodging approach to life is another way to love myself and to ultimately bless the one thing left - my mind.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think we're similar in more ways than just living in Spain and struggling with in-laws that stuff you with fried food... :-) I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. I'm also trying to conquer my inner demons day after day (mine especially have to do with social anxiety - Spain is an especially bad country to suffer from that, don't you agree?). So, like you wrote, baby steps.
    2287 days ago
    Done is better than perfect...
    2287 days ago
    OMG, I can relate to EVERY SINGLE WORD of this blog! Beautifully written and so thoughtful. I seriously dream of this land that you describe. Now The Contentment Continent and "Just Get it Done and THEN Have Some Fun" are my new mantras. Guilt is my constant companion as a result of the paralysis caused by all those fears you mentioned. One of our professors calls this the curse of the high-achiever. That makes sense. Never feeling satisfied is part of the fuel that has motivated me for years and yet when does it end.

    I worry too about the impact this has on my marriage. I get tired listening to myself on the phone flipping out yet again about something that is stressing me out. It's exhausting and I can only hope that I can turn things around and I can be that calm, helpmate that my husband deserves.

    Definitely keep me posted on your progress on this. I will be on this journey also. I am thinking of keeping track of one major stressful item that I have taken care of per day. If you are interested, there is a book called The Art of Getting Things Done which I found helpful. It gives you some any procrastination tools.

    Oh and thanks for the shout out btw =).
    2288 days ago
    Great blog. You don't live there alone either. I think I'm your next door neighbor. emoticon
    2289 days ago
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