Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Thump Of The Red-Blooded Heart Is Trumped By The Art Of War

I'm in a pretty odd relationship. Don't get excited - it's not a dude (sorry mom). But it's been serious for a long time, so I'm goin' public even though it's boring, repetitive, and people like to make fun of it.

Me & routine? We're tight.

Dog walk, earphones in, messy stupid hair. Very routine.

Everyone loves to extol the virtues of being impulsive. I get it. Being open to new things, ready to say "yes"  to whatever life throws at you without a second thought - sounds great. A lot of the time I wish I was like that. I'll often give it the ol' college try, and work at being generally impulsive for awhile. 

But it's not me. Not for the most part.

I need routine. I need plans. So this is my attempt at defending those of us who require schedules and structure.
As you likely know, I'm self-employed (*cue shameless self-promotion* haaaave you met The MediaHaus?) and I work mostly from home. For others who work for themselves, that can mean waking up really late, doing work whenever they feel like it, keeping an open schedule, and allowing for general freedom. Those people are friggin' crazy.

These faces. This lady. It's our routine.
There are plenty of days I don't want to work. That's called "being normal". But even more so, because of depression and an anxiety disorder I really don't want to get out of bed. Being out in the world can be frightening and awful. But I, like you, have to get my ass up and be a responsible adult (or a reasonable facsimile. Let's not kid ourselves.). So I have a routine that I stick to pretty much every day. I wake up around the same time, start working around the same time, walk the dog around the same time, eat around the same time, and so on... every day. I even eat almost the exact same thing day after day. That has a lot to do with other health issues, but it's also become a part of the routine.

Here's why: without routine I can sometimes shut down. My brain doesn't focus and my body won't do what I ask it to. I become a walking panic attack, more than I am on a regular day. And that's exactly it - having anxiety requires routine, it needs the comfort of familiarity and expectation in order to be somewhat manageable. Because my daily schedule is almost always the same, I can go on autopilot during the days that anxiety has me wanting to crawl in a hole. My brain and body know exactly what to do, where to be, etc.

So no, I don't actually love routine. It's more like I tend to need it for work. Routine makes me functional, keeps me from overthinking every move I make, and allows me to fall back on my familiar patterns so I can be productive. While it may not be the right choice for everyone, it definitely has benefits for me. And if you find anxiety running your life and keeping you from doing what you need to, adding some structure may be worth a shot.

Beer before smiles. Routine.
And yet... currently, my routine has been shelved as I'm apartment-hunting and a few things are out of whack and up in the air. I'm trying to see it as a good thing, to get me unstuck from old patterns and allow more spontaneity into my over-routined ways.  Surely that's a positive, right? Making room for new things, chilling out a bit with the structure, and doing some re-wiring. I guess we'll see.

As serious as routine and I are, it might be time to see other people for a little while.

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