Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Low anxiety

And this, class, is the sort of mood swing that can happen to, oh, just about anyone.

It's not a panic attack; it lasts too long and it's not nearly that severe. I told my doctor once that instead of panic attacks, I had dread attacks - but really it's "just" anxiety.

The simplest description is that I'm nervous about getting up and moving, but I can't stand the thought of staying where I am (which, in the end, is inside my own skin.) None of it is real; tomorrow I will visit dear friends in a town I really enjoy (but, the anxiety says, you have to go through Airport-Land to get there - don't miss the shuttle bus, don't miss your flight, don't miss the next shuttlebus, your luggage will be too heavy. No, it won't, I won't, everything will be fine.)

And a week (or thereabouts) at a computer conference reminds me that I have neither the brain of a mathematician nor the heart of a programmer.  More and more I think I really need to figure out another way to make a living.

Of course, being almost 50 years old, that's a terrifying thought.

Ah-ha. It's that "not fitting" feeling, I'd bet, that kicked off the anxiety. "These really aren't my people" quickly translates to "I am wrong." A friend of mine used to say that years of depression modifies your brain - where a normal person's brain goes from A to B to C, he would say, our brains go from A to B to fucked up.

There isn't anything wrong with all these computer types; like me, they enjoy solving problems; they're just more into the tools than I am. And there's nothing wrong with the idea that I'm not as into those tools - but I do have to learn to use them well enough to justify the salary I'm earning.

It's nice to know that if I stop and breathe, I can back up from "fucked up" to B, make an adjustment, and continue to C and D and beyond. Just like the rest of you.

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