Monday, April 15, 2013

Sometimes You Need to Slow Down...

Last week I was dissatisfied with the amount of time I spent doing unproductive things, like grinding levels on World of Warcraft, napping, and watching TV.
I really thought that setting goals for myself and trying to work harder would help me be more productive.

You know what?
I was wrong.
Turns out that pushing myself did absolutely nothing, because I was fighting against forces that are simply unbeatable.

When Thursday came around, I managed to get significant work done in Ceramics. At the end of the day however, Jon came and picked me up and everything hit me at once. I was exhausted emotionally, physically, everything.
I was way too relieved to have a shoulder to lean on, and didn't bother doing anything. For once this week I felt like I could just let go.
Even so, the weekend nights were filled with nightmares, 4am wake-ups, and lying awake while my entire body ached. At least two nights I had to repeat my waffle adventure in the middle of the night, because my limbs and muscles hurt for no reason and I'm unable to take an Advil on an empty stomach.
(Last time I had Advil on an empty stomach, I threw up at a family friend's day-after-the-wedding party... into a garbage can right in front of the bride and groom. Not fun at all.)
I managed to spend about an hour and a half on Saturday glazing a shot glass set, but I didn't realize that the school closed at 5pm on Saturday so I had to leave early. Other than that, I didn't really do anything of any significance.

Many people don't realize that stress isn't just an uncomfortable feeling.
Stress is a monster hiding beneath an emotion... Something that affects you emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Only now do I really realize that my recent lack of productivity had nothing to do with laziness, but just me trying to cope with the immense amount of stress I'm facing right now...
...And now that my stress is starting to manifest itself in nightmares, body aches, and lack of sleep, I'm okay with not being as productive as I used to be.
I'm doing the best I can under the current circumstances I'm facing.

What could possibly be stressing out a part-time, unemployed community college student?
I'll try to list off a few causes.

  • I will be in school for AT LEAST 4 MORE YEARS if I want to become a vet tech. As if that isn't stressful enough...
    • I don't know which schools I'll be going to after I get my Associates of General Studies
    • Only certain schools offer American Veterinary Medical Association certified degrees (one is required in most states)
  • I'm graduating with my Associates of General Studies at the end of Fall 2013. Jon graduates with his Bachelors in Criminal Justice at the end of Summer 2013. What Jon is going to do during Fall 2013 while I'm finishing my degree is up in the air. If his summer internship...
    • ...leads to a job, then he will need housing. My house is a zoo, and probably would not be a suitable place for him to get the rest needed for a criminal justice job. Apartments in the area are expensive as hell though.
    • ...doesn't lead to a job, he'll probably have to get a different job here or in Delaware, meaning we're...
      • ...either not seeing each other for about three months.
      • ...back to the housing issue.
  • FAMILIAL ISSUES. Nuclear family, outside family, you name it. I can't go into detail because I have to respect the privacy of my family, but basically things are absolutely maddening. I feel the need to move out, but...
    • ...I'm not graduating until Fall 2013, so that's more time stuck at home
    • ...Apartments here are expensive, remember?
    • ...OH YEAH, I don't have a driver's license yet, so even if I wanted to get away for a DAY, I can't.
  • My YouTube and Etsy aren't making money like they used to. I also don't have the time for a job without sacrificing my schoolwork. Jon doesn't have a job either. We're a young, broke couple basically.
  • I've gotten attached to dog from Bully Breed Rescue, and it's saddening me horribly that I have pretty much a 0% chance of moving out in time to adopt this dog.
    • I have no job and apartments are EXPENSIVE here, remember?
    • He has to be an only dog, so even if by some insane miracle my parents offered to adopt the dog for me until I move out, they wouldn't be able to... because we have a dog.

To make a long story short, nothing is certain, I'm trapped in a place I no longer want to be, doing things I no longer want to do, and not doing things that I wish I could do but can't.
It's taken such a toll on me that I think it's honestly best if I just keep doing what I'm doing, because for now that's good enough. No productivity week, no goals other than just getting to school, doing my work, making a new video every time an event hits, and bringing home good grades.
It's good enough.


  1. Stress is a carnal instinct, to be specific the "Fight or Flight" instinct. Under stress the brain turns off all unnecessary functions and thought processes such as prioritization, visual memory, critical thinking, etc.... Stress in animals is a temporary state, kicking in only long enough to fight or flee from some perceived threat or danger. Life in 21st century USA, still produces many potential triggers for stress, such as work, school, family. The problem is that often these triggers are not so easily defined as an enemy or threat to personal safety. Instead of two responses (fight or flight), there are often more, and because the triggers are indistinct our minds are unable to recognize when the cause for stress is gone. For most people, the 'cure' for stress is relaxation, along the lines of a book, a walk, browsing the internet, or watching TV. While these activities could be called "calming", the stressors are still taunting you from the back of your mind. What I find helps with stress, is doing something enjoyable where you are simultaneously in control, and actively making decisions, causal video games, a simple craft project, or any kind of physical exercise. Ultimately it is up to you to determine what approach works best, but the key is to be actively making decisions. Hope this helps.

    1. Thanks so much for the comment and recommendation. Lately I've been trying my best to sit back and occupy my mind with games, walks with the dog, and ceramics. For the most part it works.