This week was a wild ride. I finished up my final assignment for the first year of my mater’s degree, I embarked on another week of the Crime Writing course and I read five books. I know the last part isn’t technically writing but it still felt like an achievement to me.
Or, at least, I’m trying to make myself believe it’s an achievement. I’m sure it’s a feeling that others get, the self-recrimination after taking a day off from work or writing or producing. I am very aware it is an unhealthy mindset. But knowing that it’s unhealthy and stopping it from happening are not – it turns out – the same thing.
The only way I have right now of quieting the anxiety in my head that tells me I’m not doing enough, is to simply add more to my plate. This is a terrible decision. So why do I keep making it? Well, for one I struggle to say no to people, and I also find a bizarre amount of joy in being busy. Right up until I burn out from doing too much.
I’m working on it. But the rush I get from being busy and the staving off of boredom are very enticing for my ADHD brain and it’s hard to say no. Really hard.
I was having a chat with a colleague this week about the phenomenon. He’s a teacher, director and writer and now he’s producing a play. So he knows the many-plates-too-little-time struggle well. I gave him the advice of scheduling his downtime in so that he didn’t feel so guilty for taking it. ‘Think of it as recharging,’ I said.
Any day now I’ll learn to take my own advice.
If you too struggle with this cycle, do as I say not as I do. Or at least try to. In the end that’s all we can do; try.