Dealing with something always being there.

This is a bit of a rant.

There’s a feeling that has been consistently in the back of my mind since more or the beginning of last year, before even the whole pandemic stuff happened. It is not a good feeling, and if there was a single word to describe it I would, but since I don’t know what word that is, I have chosen to refer to it as the “there’s always something, isn’t there?” feeling.

It is that feeling that happens whenever you have managed to get through something (anything: pain, an uncomfortable situation, an economic struggle, a relationship tumble; anything), and getting through it means you have lost that tunnel vision that so often hounds those with a problem, and once you’ve lost the tunnel vision you’re able to focus on everything else going on in your life and you realize that that was not the only thing bothering you, that there was some underlying bother that you hadn’t noticed previously and that now has your full attention.

It is also that feeling that happens when you lose the tunnel vision and it turns out that everything is fine, but a problem pops up right away.

Both of these instances end up with you sighing and thinking “There’s always something, isn’t there?”.

Last year was brutal. First the pandemic, which was its own collective stress that still has its grip on us. Then I broke left pinky toe while walking around barefoot in the apartment and throwing kicks around – I’m not crazy. I do this while twisting my back as the same time as my kick hits its high point so that I can stretch and crack my spine. It feels nice. It is also a very stupid thing to do with no foot covers and without spatial awareness, because you can break your toe. Again, I’m not crazy, but I didn’t say that it was smart, either. I digress.

Then our cat passed away.

Then and throughout the whole year there was a hounding anxiety prompted by being in a different country than my family and worrying about them because I don’t trust the leaders in my home country and their handling of the pandemic; and then there was the worry that the most powerful nation in the world would be destabilized due to the insanity of a somewhat deranged yet powerful man, and, as neighbours to that nation, that we would get some of the proverbial shit that hit the proverbial fan.

Then economic stress because I can’t believe I’m closing in on 30 and I am not able to afford a house, a car or economic stability, so my mind races to find different avenues through which I can secure some passive or mildly active income, which prompted me to overwork and hurt my hands, and with the wrist braces on I think: “why must there always be something”.

I think that the problem with this line of thinking is that it is pessimistic, defeatist and travels at high speeds through the aforementioned tunnel vision, with its destination being a fireball of stress, disappointment and confused hyperventilating.

And I believe that once I start falling in this well of always something (bad) being there it is hard to extend my limbs, hold on to the wall and stop screaming and think straight. So I need to taka deep breath and climb back up.

I don’t consider myself to be depressed or at a bad stage in my life. If anything, I think I am very fortunate to be where I am, being with whom I’m with, doing what I do, rambling on the internet about things and stuff. I do know that I tend to focus on certain problems and let them take a hold of me, falling down a spiral of anxiety and worse-case scenarios that takes a while to get out of. So I need to remind myself that to stop focusing on something always being there, I need perspective.

Well, perspective and other things.

But first is perspective. Perspective will help me see the big picture and stop this tunnel vision.

Once I have perspective I can focus on assigning and withdrawing responsibility. That sounds weird. I mean, with perspective I can figure out how much of what has been happening has been due to something I have or have not done and how much of what has been happening is completely outside of my control. Breaking my toe? Totally my bad. Overworking and damaging my arms for at least 3 weeks? Yep, guilty as charged. The fate of a nation comprised of millions of people? Yeah, no, that one is a bit outside of my paygrade.

Having perspective and having assigned responsibilities I can work on things that haven’t happened yet or that I want to happen, for example buying an effing house. You know, things that cause me mental anguish. To do this I think I need to temper my expectations. When I was 21 or 22 I started thinking that everything in life and our experience of it comes down to expectations, and it is up to us to temper these expectations in order to not go crazy and actually enjoy life. This now seems rather reductive but I think I had a bit of the right angle, in the sense that expectations play a huge part on how we take things. I expect to be able to work a lot of extra hours in a week in order to do my own projects aside from my day job, and I expect the fact that I have not been consistent with my exercise to not be a problem. So when I hurt my wrists with overworking, given my expectations, a cloud of bummer looms over me and that nagging “there’s always something isn’t there” ditty starts going in my head.

And once I adjust expectations to match what is actually happening, I need to think of solutions, ways to improve my current situation and taking into account that there is only so much within my control. I think the responsibility bit could be renamed ‘control’.

The problem is that all this reasoning and thinking and making my experience of reality objective often only comes after something happens. It takes a very centred and zen mind, I think, to be able to acknowledge each situation in the moment and choose their next actions carefully, and I don’t have that. Yet. Meditation and mindfulness are things I love but I haven’t practiced as much as should.

Perhaps there is nothing inherently bad with having the “there’s always something, isn’t there” feeling. As with most things, though, the problem is letting it take over and not looking for a way out. After all, that thought comes from wanting to be and feel better, and that is the side that maybe I need to embrace more often. That positivity too will help me take the steps to be and feel better.

Lovely. Ranting sometimes helps gets thoughts straight, you know? Thanks for reading.

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