I’ve Made a Huge Mistake

I was warned that there would be “good days” and “bad days.” I thought to myself, “How is not working going to ever result in a bad day?” When I was employed, I LIVED for my days off. I always had grand plans of what I would do on those special days in which I didn’t have to pass out meds to the inmates, or babysit their illegitimate children (managers = inmates, children = their incompetent employees). Ultimately, I would end up spending most of the morning on Annaswasteoftimemachine, make a trip to the grocery store, maybe do some laundry, and consider cooking dinner. Fucking exciting.

Except it was fucking exciting when I was working… because all that mattered was that I WAS NOT AT THE ASYLUM.

Well, it does get boring. Free-time is great… but when all you have is free-time, it starts to lose its appeal.

I very recently had the benefit of spending some time with a friend who is in a similar situation. While his circumstances are significantly more complicated than my own, it was refreshing to chat with someone who understands the emotional part of being jobless. After hearing everything he’s has been coping with (unemployed, marriage is on the rocks, toddler to raise, finances a mess, not to mention the anxiety and bouts of depression), it made me think that I should be able to cope much better.

But I’m not.

Yes, I’m unemployed… and while my anxiety isn’t quite like this:

anxiety amy

it definitely fluctuates between this:

tired_george_michael_arrested_development

and this:

Buster

 

I think I’ve decided that what I’m truly worried about is this:

Gob's mistake

Hank's mistake

Theon's mistake

I’ve been given the opportunity to make a career change without any real consequences. I should be thrilled that I can finally do whatever I want and fulfill the saying, “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”

Except when presented with this challenge, the pressure mounts. I don’t want to make the wrong decision.  Most people are never afforded the chance to make the changes that I am about to. What if I screw this up? What if I choose the wrong career and hate it? What if I disappoint the people I love?

I’m truly afraid of failure. I’m afraid of hearing, “Ya blew it.” I know that even if I choose the wrong path and find myself starting over again, it will not be detrimental; no one will die and life will go on. We won’t lose the house, we won’t be financially unstable, my husband won’t divorce me… I just don’t want to FUCK THIS UP! Does that make sense? I feel like I need to navigate these waters perfectly, but I just picture myself as Ralph Wiggum doggie paddling in a kiddie pool only six inches deep with water… as if I’m going to drown in that. Then I start thinking about actually screwing it up and I get like this:

Sheldon's anxiety

Pretty sure this is how I’m going to feel during tonight’s Game of Thrones finale as well.

How do I get past my anxieties and just do this? Why do I feel like I need to be such a perfectionist about everything? I just wish I could have more of a honey badger attitude about it, but that’s just not me. Any advice you folks have to offer would be appreciated.

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Late Night Leaky Head

Remember Malcolm in the Middle?

Oh, come on.

You know, that show Bryan Cranston was on before he started cooking up his signature blue crystals?

Yeah, that’s the one.

Every time I have a night like last, it reminds me of this scene (watch the 18 second video. I’m going for impact here, folks):

I have long coveted this ability.

Some nights, sleep just does not come easy. Concerns, worries and anxiety float to the surface, like a hot lava lake bubbling away in the volcano’s cone.

But the volcano never explodes. It just festers, continually threatening the villages below. It never spills over, just presents a constant reminder that it’s here to torture me.

Thanks, volcano brain. Thanks for "brightening" my nights!

Thanks, volcano brain. Thanks for “brightening” my nights!

When I was still working, the worries were generally work related. “Gotta get orientation folders put together first thing in the morning,” or, “I forgot to look up The Dumpster’s vacation balance,” or maybe, “Better respond to The Cylon’s unemployment claim.”

I kept a pad of post-it notes on the night stand so when these things ran through my head, I could write them down. Then, I’d bring the post-its to work the following morning and address my sleepless concerns.

These days, the magma sputters and spits for different reasons.

No, I wasn’t thinking about the demons and White Walkers waiting for me In the Basement, In the Night.

I can’t even remember all of the crap running that ran through my mind. For the first hour of insomnia I dwelled the fact that I love cigarettes need to quit smoking.

Duh. I mean, I’m 31 years old, and have been smoking for almost 13 years. Every smoker knows they should quit. I know the money is costs me (seriously, I’ve done the calculations, and I’m so embarrassed that I won’t even put a dollar figure in this post). I know what it does to my body. I don’t need any more reminders. My volcano takes care of that, thanks.

Then I moved onto my health. After finding out two years ago that I’m BRCA2 positive, I’ve been doing all of the necessary screenings. MRI’s, mammograms, ultra sounds, biopsies, blah blah blah. Reason number 487 that I want to light up need to kick the tobacco. My family history combined with BRCA2+ statistics gives me a 70-80% chance of developing breast cancer in my life (the average woman has a 12% chance of developing the disease in their life time). Clearly I’ve already invited enough shit to this luau.

I’m not trying to elicit sympathy here… just trying to pry open the curtains a bit so you understand what goes on in my head.

These thoughts, this type of thinking, doesn’t go anywhere. Unlike tasks and details that can be addressed the following morning at work, these are issues I can’t just write down and deal with at dawn. And of course, thanks to the distractions provided by “Annaswasteoftimemachine,” I hardly dabble in these thoughts during normal waking hours.

Eventually, I got out of bed. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t. I grabbed a drink of water, went outside and had a smoke, in an effort to get my mind out of the infinite loop it was stuck in. If I have to get up, it’s because the volcano has transformed into a hamster. He (yeah, it’s a dude hamster I guess) keeps picking up speed until he loses his footing…

This is my brain once I've passed "volcano" stage.

This is my brain once I’ve passed “volcano” stage.

And when he falls off his wheel, I can finally get some sleep.

My conclusion? While I realize there are many folks who already have one, I propose the next step in human evolution be an “off-switch” for brains.