I’ve been going through a Slump.
A few weeks ago, I hit a wall in my personal life and it took me longer to get around it than I’d care to admit. I kept myself busy at work because I had no idea what to do once I got home. I stayed late at the office, I volunteered to cook dinner or do laundry or take out the garbage because it was another few moments that I didn’t have to think about everything else I should have been doing. I got excited when the traffic was heavy because it meant there was nothing I could do but sit there and wait. I did everything I could to avoid having nothing to do because as soon as my mind was quiet, I panicked.
I felt paralysed. I knew what I should be doing – I should have been looking at job boards and writing applications – but I’d reached a point where the thought of looking at Seek filled me with an overwhelming sense of dread. I was procrastinating because I was stressed, but I was stressed because I was procrastinating. You see my problem.
The truth is, I was actually getting a lot done and generally being very productive. I was meeting and exceeding my work expectations, I was getting my personal and social life off the ground and my wardrobe was cleaner than it had been since before I started university. I was the only one placing these expectations on myself, and logically I knew I was the only one who could do anything about it. I’ve dealt with anxiety on and off and on again for years, and I’ve learned what I need to do to overcome it, but knowing and doing are two different things.
There were lots of factors contributing to my Slump – long work days and not enough sleep, the poorly time arrival of some unexpected health issues, utter exhaustion with the constant self-evaluation of writing cover letters. I was lucky to have family and friends at my back, to help me regain some perspective, reassure me that I wasn’t a failure and, ultimately, kick my arse out of the rut I’d fallen into. Eventually, rather ungracefully, I clawed my way out of it. I got my shit together and forced myself to do something about it. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fun, but I did it.
I’ve pulled myself out of the Slump. I’m steadily gaining back my momentum. I can’t say I enjoyed being stuck in that rut – I hate the feeling of powerlessness, of paralysis and panic – but like all things, it must pass, and hopefully teach you a thing or two for your trouble.
In this case, I think, the lesson is that sometimes the only way around a wall is beating your head against the bricks until they give way.