On Brain Haze

I have a confession to make: I’ve been putting so much energy into treating myself well next month that I am not taking very good care of myself right now. I know that seems extremely counter-productive, and trust me, it is, but I only just recognized it.

Perhaps some explanation is in order. Up until recently I had no plans to move out of the tiny bachelor suite I share with my best friend in an attempt to help her financially and get myself back on my feet after returning from a 6 month European trip and having nowhere to live. Not wanting to be a burden on my brother and his new family, and not wanting to be freshly 27 and living with my parents (especially considering the last time I did that didn’t end in the happiest manner possible), I gave my best friend a couple months notice that I would like to move in, if she wanted me. She accepted, being a student and needing help with the highly inflated rent. I moved in, but it never really felt like my place; it has always been hers, and I felt badly about taking up space there. In the past few months, I’ve spent more time away than I have spent there, partly because I felt badly about being in the way. I hate being in the way. I hate being something that is inflicted on people. I also hated that we never really see each other except for when one of us is asleep (we work opposite shifts), despite my constant effort to plan some time to actually hang out. I want to be crystal clear: she hasn’t done anything directly to say that I am in her way. She hasn’t said directly hurtful things to me. The space simply isn’t mine.

That part of the explanation was much more long winded than I intended, but the just of it is this: I love her to death, but I came to realize I need my own space. I hate making decisions in my own life that negatively affect anyone I love, but I decided it was time to look for somewhere else to live – or somewhere to feel like I was living fully, instead of hiding. I found a place I love almost immediately, and I will be moving in very, very soon (at the beginning for next month). I gave as much notice as possible, but I just cannot keep paying half the bills for a space that I spend less than half of my free time.

Although I am absolutely delighted about having my own space soon, and have already started decorating it in my mind, and dreaming of all the wonderful projects I will be able to do while living there, I’m feeling incredible amounts of stress about not being a good friend. How could I abandon her with such short notice?

The destructive tendencies that I have noticed in myself since I committed to improving my own quality of life:
I keep forgetting to eat. I am not doing this on purpose, or as some misplaced vanity problem. I just forget that I need the nourishment. I don’t tend to get hungry until I arrive at the point of “you are about to commence starvation; you now feel a myriad of stupidity for not realizing this sooner, and feeling stupid is making you quite grumpy; it would be advised to eat the closest edible thing that won’t make you sick [remember you have allergies] before your body goes into auto shutdown”. Because my focus has been elsewhere, I haven’t noticed that I’m not having regular meals until the haze in my brain momentarily parts during a review of my day, or when food is offered and I have to reflect on when I last ate.
My brain feels foggy most of the time. This might be a mixture of needing sustenance, the guilt that is running around and trying to wreck the good I am attempting to build, accepting that my schedule is becoming full with the show I am currently rehearsing, and finally allowing myself to want things – but worrying about what committing to new activities will do to perpetuate this brain fog. I need to clear this haze, but taking time out to do so, especially when I have agreed to be certain places at certain times, is proving to be a scheduling challenge. I am actually attempting to clear the haze right now, prior to a rehearsal, in attempt to be attentive and effective during that time.
When I freak out, or feel negative, I hide it. I’m doing work regarding allowing myself to accept help when this happens, but this is something I have done all my life, so even though I already identified it and am working on it, it is something worth mentioning.
I rarely put my own interests first; that is why this huge change in my life is such a big deal – I previously discussed that I don’t often allow myself to want things, because I don’t want to cause upset for others. Unless I feel like my life is threatened in a vital way, I go to great length to bend or adapt to the needs of those around me. I am a queen at compromise, but I want to learn how to be okay with occasionally doing what is best for myself instead of always deferring to what is easier for those around me. I don’t need to change every aspect of how I live to do this, but I do need to learn how to identify what I should be standing up for.
I’m not sleeping extremely well. Obviously I would flip a switch if it existed and sleep soundly every evening if it were a choice, but even when I lay my head down at respectable times to accommodate the amount of sleep I want to get before I wake up for the next day, I tend to have to toss around at least a couple times before nodding off, wake frequently, and then wake earlier than needed, with no real hope of getting back to sleep before my 6:55am alarm. This is in no way helping to lift my brain haze. I’ve talked myself out of falling victim to the sadness I associate with Seasonal Affected Disorder on a few occasions recently, but I can’t seem to talk my brain out of this fog.

I have a few body aches that I am working around, but on top of nursing those injuries, I have this heaviness in my head today (which I’ve named Brain Haze) that is sinking downward into my chest. I know I have some exceptional strengths, and am very much looking forward to all the self-imposed challenges I have heaped on my plate (this show, moving, NaNoWriMo, improv classes in the future, opening myself up to being vulnerable, et cetera), but I don’t really know how to centre myself – I would like to reset to the factory default of eating well, not feeling guilt over wanting to improve my situation and having satisfying, replenishing sleep.

Writing this hasn’t helped me identify a be-all, end-all solution besides keep working toward what I want, and try to let go of feelings of needing to hold things together for those around me. It has, however, allowed me to identify that I am feeling more stress than I thought; I knew I felt badly about leaving my current living situation, but that feeling has intensified since I found out that the building does not hold me responsible for half of the rent next month. I’ve contributed to the bills without taking my share of the benefits, and have offered to give a little to help soften the blow of my leaving, but standing up and saying I don’t want to pay “my entire half” for the month – and then not hearing back regarding my text message saying exactly that [another issue with Textual Communication so soon in my life?] – has me worried. It was me stressed. It is forming a knot in my chest.

I’m ready for that part of standing up for myself where I feel proud and accomplished; that comes soon, right?

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2 thoughts on “On Brain Haze

  1. I can relate to a lot of these things. Right now, I don’t have the power to actually *do* much about my problems (but that will come soon hopefully), but it sounds to me like the whole centering thing is the problem here.

    For me, walking has helped a lot – It’s also hurt a lot, but I’ve started walking a lot, mostly because I’m going stir-crazy here. I’ve found though, that if I put my headphones on and just walk, without any particular goal or schedule, then I can let my brain idle, and I can process a lot of things. With no rush to get anywhere, I get this strange sort of calm. Mind you, I do the walking mainly for the exercise (I’m up to 10km a day now), but the mental calm that comes with it is definitely a bonus.

    Walking might not do the trick for you, but *something* will. You just have to find it. Some sort of activity where you can “turn off” your brain, and your schedule of having to be done/somewhere at a certain time, and just kinda.. float in your own headspace.

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