Day 50: Pros and Cons

Untreated anxiety can get to feel like a Groundhog Day situation. It seems that I’m constantly just waking up back at step one. Things change, but not enough to make a difference. I am still overweight, in debt up to my eyeballs, stuck in the same shoebox apartment, struggling with my relationship, lacking anything even barely resembling a social life, and thousands of miles away from my closest friends.

I wish I had someone to help me (read: do this for me, like a parent, or a mental health advocate). I keep searching for a psychiatrist in my area that will take my health insurance, but the website is full of outdated information. I called the customer help line in the middle of a panic attack at work last week, and though the customer rep was very kind as I freaked out in her general direction, she still couldn’t do more than provide me with a list of names that I’d need to call, one by one, and ask if they were taking new patients. Reality informs me that I might only need to make two or three calls, but since making phone calls is one of my biggest triggers (right up there with using Facebook), I feel paralyzed. I am going to do it this week, though, come hell or high water. I can’t stay in this loop much longer. It’s no good for anyone.

Today I went to the coffee shop to drink a decaf tea and do some writing, but my brain refuses to stay in one spot. I can’t concentrate for more than a minute or so, and nothing that I previously thought I wanted to do today is getting done. I had hoped to apply to a few editing jobs, but as soon as I started looking at the jobs boards, I realized I’d need an updated resume. Once that occurred to me, I instantly got sucked into feeling pointless and unqualified, a whirlpool that spit me right back out at the “It’s because you’re fat and old” line of reasoning. So much fun.

On the upside (depending on how you see it) I’ve picked up three extra shifts a week at another hotel. This puts me at 70 hours a week, between the two jobs. I’m scared that the physicality of it will age me, as well as encourage terrible eating habits and weight gain. Technically, I should have plenty of time to sleep, but I’m really bad at sleeping. I can’t count on my body to fall into a rhythm when it comes to relaxation. There’s a very good chance that I’ll be sleep deprived. I’m already dreading the wrinkles and bags, and the level of anxiety I’ll experience once sugar and caffeine enter the mix. I will have to be vigilant in having prepared healthy food with me 24 hours a day.

However, I’ve done the math, and if I work my butt off, this gives me enough extra income to pay off the major credit cards in a year. I’ve closed all of my cards except for one (the one with the airline miles), and I’m keeping a very close eye on my credit score via a few sources. I’ve gone over my credit reports, and feel like I have a handle on what my personal pile of debts looks like. I feel confident that if I can be very, very good, spend little to no money on anything extra, move into the cheaper apartment that my friend just told me about, and basically put off all joy for the next year, I will be able to live on less money, plus repair my score enough to apply for an apartment if and when I decide to move to a new city.

To make this all work, I need for everything to be on a schedule. Meal prep times and amounts. Sleep times and amounts. Work times and amounts. Bills due. Cat supplies due. Groceries due. Social life allowance (Friday night, Saturday day, and Sunday early evening). I can write during my overnight work shifts – plenty of time there. I wonder if I can somehow afford to schedule in just one professional mani/pedi a month? It’s probably too extravagant, but I always feel so much more professional with nice nails.

Of course, none of this takes into account that the Camino is calling again, with a fierceness I didn’t experience the first time. I’m tamping it down a bit by writing about the last time I walked, and keeping in touch with my Camino friends as they go on their new adventures. A few of them are meeting up on the Camino Frances this year in October, and I’ve been invited to go. I tell myself that I can go next year. By then I will have gotten a raise, or maybe even a promotion. Perhaps I’ll only have the luxury of being able to afford to only work one job. Or maybe I will have successfully started treating my anxiety, and have found a way through the time loop. By this time next year, who knows where life will have led me?