It’s the terror of knowing

#Queen/DavidBowie

Lately I’ve been feeling extremely anxious.

So much so that the usual pain I feel in the muscles around my neck has gotten so bad that I had to take some muscle relaxants.

All because I suddenly found myself without time.

It’s funny how that sneaks up on you, when time didn’t disappear or fast forward, it’s been moving at the same pace all along. I just hadn’t prepared myself mentally for the string of changes that’s going to happen in the following months.

When you’ve got your next few months completely planned out, it can feel like your life has become a line of dominoes just waiting to receive that push that will make them all fall one after the other.

Revision for tests. Tests. Reports. Going to my summer job in the UK. Going to Sweden for a week. Coming back to Portugal for the summer. Finish emptying my childhood room. Selling my car. Moving to the UK. Teaching course. Coming back home for Christmas. Finding a job in London.

That’s my life until January next year.

I’m excited about it, of course, but at the moment I feel unprepared. Like I’ve wasted all these months I’ve been in Portugal when I should have been getting ready.

I thought I was looking forward to all of it. And I am. I just didn’t realise it was going to make me feel this anxious. Anxious to the point of twisting my back muscles into knots, to the point of having acid reflux, to the point of having light panic attacks.

I’ve been trying to make myself relax. I’ve written lists of the things I need to do and pack, which made me feel more organised. I don’t have to follow them religiously – if I don’t tell myself this, I know I’ll get even more nervous – but at least I’ve thought about it, and that makes me feel more prepared.

I’ve arranged a day when I’m going to get rid of all the books people didn’t want from my collection, as well as CDs and DVDs. I’m putting everything I don’t want in bags, rather than piles. I’ve booked all my flights. I’ve started to divide my things between “Stuff I’m taking to the UK” and “Stuff I’m leaving behind so I won’t have to pack a suitcase when I visit my parents”.

Yes, I’m still feeling anxious, and I don’t think that’ll go away until I start my summer job when I’ll be too busy for thinking. But at least I’m not panicking anymore. I feel ready and mentally stable for the changes about to come.

I look forward to what the future brings, and am in no rush. Each thing will happen when it’s supposed to happen and I’ll make sure to enjoy each second of it instead of worrying about what’s next.

Here’s a sketch. No. A finished drawing.

_20180523_165819

The Sardine.

 

 

Alone, I often fall into nothingness

#VirginiaWoolf

This week I haven’t been able to draw. It’s probably because I’ve been feeling down, as I do every month, so when I’m feeling down I try to write, as I’ve found it’s a good frame of mind to do so.

I mean, if I’m going to feel down anyway, I might as well get something out of it, right?

In my writing, I’ve been trying to describe a feeling that washes over me when I’m having a particularly low moment, as if the world slows down and every shift in the air is picked up by your skin. As if you’re on drugs and everything seems hightened and dull at the same time.

Have you ever had that feeling? When you can feel every individual muscle moving as you go up the stairs and it feels like you’re moving in slow-motion and yet the world hasn’t changed at all, it’s you who’s different somehow.

It’s a very difficult feeling to describe. I wonder if it’s the brain’s way of protecting itself against whatever dark thoughts are trying to emmerge and take shape. Maybe it has to become slippery  in order to stop those thoughts from latching onto it.

I have since then began to feel better, I guess this month’s cycle is almost over, but as I was looking for better ways to describe this mood I happened upon this quote by Virginia Woolf:

Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

This. This is what it is.

I’ve been struggling with describing this, and Virginia Woolf had it all along. This past week I’ve been wondering if it was something unique to myself. I’ve got mixed feelings about discovering that it isn’t. Relieved because I’m not different and frustrated because I’m not.

Here’s a sketch (sorry about the quality, I don’t own a scanner).

IMG_20180523_115109_166

The Sardine

I’m stepping through the door

#DavidBowie

Throughout my life I’ve had dozens of diaries.

It was a popular gift to give to a young girl, so every Christmas I’d get a shiny new notebook and was told to write about my day-to-day there every evening. On the first of January I’d be so excited about starting my new diary that I wouldn’t even wait for the evening!

I’d open it up, flick through it’s blank pages, grab my favourite pen and start writing about anything that popped into my head.

Unfortunately, as with anything, I’d grow tired of having to write in my diary every day, especially when I had a lot of homework to do and didn’t have the time or the energy to write anything.

None of my diaries lasted longer than a month.

However, I’ve recently started writing my thoughts down. I’m not calling it a diary. There are no dates or templates, it’s just a small A6 notebook where I’ve allowed myself to write about anything.

Sometimes I write small stories, sometimes lists, other times I write about random thoughts that have popped into my head. And I’ve come to realise that writing about my problems helps me to get over them.

When you write about something that’s worrying or bothering you it can be very therapeutic. For one thing, you let all your frustrations out onto paper, and that’s always a weight off your chest. Then, you analyse it in a calmer state of mind.

I find that after writing about whatever is upsetting me I tend to ask myself questions about the problem. By asking myself those questions, I resolve my problem or am able to find a better way to think about it.

Here are some examples of questions I ask myself:

  1. Why am I feeling the way I am?
  2. Is it really worth it spending time agonizing about this?
  3. Is there anything I can do to solve this?

Writing in about my problems is what I imagine talking to a therapist must feel like.

My notebook is my personal therapist. So is this blog in a way. They’ve helped me overcome a lot.

What do you do when you have a problem?

Here’s a sketch.

Thinking

The Sardine