The invisible tyrant

I’m feeling average at the moment. Nothing of much concern has happened in the past couple of days, though I continue to feel that low level of anxiety which tells me something bad is about to happen, an opinion based on no evidence whatsoever. I’ve started applying for jobs again after a bit of a break. I’m still looking at reasonable-paying graduate jobs, rather than menial low-skilled work, even though none of the higher level employers who I’ve contacted in the last month have shown the remotest bit of interest in me. It would be easy to think that I just don’t have the experience and abilities that these employers are looking for – but when I really think about it, I know I could do these jobs if I really tried. I don’t want some minimum wage, dead end job where the hours are endless and the rewards are invisible. I’ve done those kinds of jobs in the past and it never made me happy. Of course going back to work now will be hard, because I’ve been out of it for so long, but a good job with good pay and some meaning is sure to make it easier for me. I’m intelligent enough to get two degrees, so I must be intelligent enough to get a job that isn’t soul-destroyingly boring. I don’t mind stress; it’s boredom that does me in. I just want a job that has some enjoyment factor. It doesn’t have to be the most high-flying, top level job in London. It could be anything. I’ve only ruled out working in shops and places like McDonalds.

Today hasn’t been a bad day or even a particularly brilliant day. I got up at 9am, for the first time in weeks. I can’t actually remember the last time I got up before 11am. For quite some time this bad habit of lying in has been a great concern to me. Every time I stay in bed late, I manage to waste most of the day because it takes so much time for me to actually wake up properly. When I get up early, like today, I can do something useful with my time. Today I managed to apply for jobs, do some shopping, and I even wrote a bit for my novel! I thought I’d never get back to that. This second draft is taking forever to finish. But at least it’s going again.

Tonight’s home group meeting was OK. We’re running out of literature again, so I’ve had to put in another order. This time I’ve made sure that I’m sending the order off, because the treasurer is so unreliable. Last time he was so bad at chasing the order up when it didn’t arrive, that we had to wait three months for it to be sorted out. I’m not resentful at him for that – he has a busy life, which he just didn’t think about when he first agreed to deal with the order. Luckily we’ve both learnt from that experience, and with any luck the process will run a lot more smoothly this time!

A’s odd behaviour is a continuing concern to everyone. He’s going to lots of meetings and sharing, which would be a good thing if the content of it actually made sense. He seems to speak less sense every time we see him. And then after the meetings he’s coming to coffee, which would be good as well, were it not for his giggling at inappropriate moments and references to sex in every sentence. When he’s there we all just end up focusing on him; that tends to be the way when someone is clearly unwell. I have no resentment towards him. Since Saturday we’ve actually been OK with each other – he hasn’t been aggressive or rude this week. Just odd. I feel very sad for him at the moment because there are times when he’ll say something deeply painful. Yesterday he was talking about pigeons for some reason, and he said that he felt like the underweight pigeon at the back of the flock which never gets to eat because all the other pigeons have got to the food first. I almost missed that vignette because it was mixed in amongst all the usual bizarre nonsense, but after he’d said it I realised that he had said something quite profound. Most of the time now he appears to be high as a kite, so when he says something like that it comes almost as a shock because you suddenly realise that he’s in a lot of pain.

I really don’t know what to do for him, and it hurts. He’s not the same person any more. Somewhere along the line he has slipped through the net that was supposed to be supporting him, and he’s on this definite downhill spiral while the rest of us watch helplessly. The program doesn’t have an answer for his problem – as I’ve said before, there are certain things which AA just can’t help with. So I don’t know what’s going to happen to him.

I’d feel more secure in my own recovery if I wasn’t so anxious about things all the time. That sense of impending doom won’t go away. I know they call it free-floating anxiety; it’s just a faulty emotional response to innocuous environmental stimuli. I’ve known that for months, but still I can’t seem to exert any power or control over it. I’m looking forward to the psychotherapy assessment which I have coming up this Friday. God, I hope they don’t cancel on me again. It’s not every day that I feel this anxious – the Prozac has definitely had some effect – but when the fear is on me, it’s like it’s never going to go away. I suppose that should confirm that I really need therapy. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I can’t move on with my life until I have dealt with this. It’s very much part of my spiritual malady. Last night I read the bit in the Big Book which says that material/economic success never comes before spiritual health. So I guess that means this employment problem that I’m facing won’t be solved until I’ve made some spiritual changes, i.e. worked on my anxiety. It all comes back to fear, that invisible tyrant which has practically stopped my life in its tracks.

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