Full disclosure. I’ve never contemplated self-harm. I’m not built that way. My design comes with other flaws. Equally deep rooted and hopefully useful to explain.
I spend a lot of my time under pressure. From clients, colleagues, myself. Mostly myself. I’m driven to be good at things. I guess I feel that life is a challenge, that I can win.
I embrace pressure. I ask for it. I create it. I never really have problems getting out of bed to do stuff. Time is limited and I want to use it for things.
I’ve always run my own businesses. I’ve done the ‘90-hours a week, earning no money’. I’ve walked around my life like a zombie, eye twitching with fatigue, isolating myself from ‘trivial’ things to keep on working. Clutching at projects till we both die from asphyxiation. Its not healthy.
The problem is, at the time, you think it is. You think that doing lots of work is good. Stack the hours up and good things will happen. Sometimes they do…but the thinking is flawed. You begin walking in a circle. Work is good because work is good. Non-sense.
There’s a difference between inspiration and obsession. Obsessives are not good sharers. I’m not a good sharer. Of food, work or feelings. Mostly feelings. I’d struggle to tell you I’m upset even if someone close to me has just died. I bottle it for later. A wine cellar full of distress.
Pulling out a vintage bottle here and there to use as fuel for another late night clicking away in the glow of my MacBook (other computers are available). Except when you walk home after a 36 hour shift, not feeling any joy or sense of accomplishment, and your shoe-lace snags. You trip, you fall. But you don’t hit the ground. You hang there, in a constant loop. Fraying at the edges, partially conscious. Numb.
Numb to the pressure. Numb to the tired. Painfully numb.
But you can’t stay there. Something has to tear. Numb is the worst kind of pain. It provokes no aggression. You can’t fight it off, because you don’t know its there. I struggle with it.
But struggle is good. Because it means I’m aware of it. I can tell the signs. I’ve learnt the cause the hard way and I have some pills of advice that I take when I need to fight it off. Nothing especially clever, or revolutionary. But tried and tested by me. One person with one set of problems, that may or may not be in some way similar to yours.
Maybe they will help you:
Cook and Share
Eating is both necessary daily and entertaining. Barely anything else on the world can be these two things. Sharing it with people is an easy way to escape to the world. To get some perspective from outside, where the airs is clearer. Where there is no need to bottle pressure.
Dance For Yourself
I don’t dance like no-one is watching. I do dance when no-one is watching. Life is more fun to a beat. It makes me feel like everything is a little more connected. When things are this simple, pressure looks ridiculous. The antithesis of numb.
Have Nice Things
…and spend time keeping them nice. Polishing shoes. Ironing shirts. Doing the menial, manual tasks that are instantly rewarding (oooh shiny!). They settle my brain down. Stopping the compulsion to accrue pressure. To prove my worth. Doing things for me.
So thats it. How I deal with pressure. Not scientific, not proven. Just me.