I can’t relax


Abstract, January 2017

(The following was written on a cranky Sunday evening, during a very pessimistic mood.)

It’s the middle of a three-day weekend and I am already itching to get back to work.  I know that sounds terrible, but that’s how I feel.

I feel like the only person in the world who can’t relax.  I’m the only person who hates the fact that I get a three-day weekend every other week.  We are required to work longer days to earn that extra day, and I think it’s stupid.  I want to work five days like everyone else.

I don’t understand people who don’t want to work.  What do they do all day?  I would start cutting myself if I couldn’t work.  I love working.  I have a job with a lot of responsibility and I love going in each day and having people who rely on me and lots to do and making a difference in my community.  My mood always elevates the day I go back to work and is really high by Thursday or Friday when I’ve been working for awhile and in the work zone.

Relaxing?  Not for me.  I mean, I get that it’s important.  I am just not interested in relaxing the way other people do.  I like having a bath before bed and reading a good book.  That’s all I need to relax.

But Sunday afternoons?  I’m ready to start banging my head against the wall.  By then my housework is done and I’ve already read and watched what I wanted.  I don’t need any more time off.  I want to be out doing and talking to people at work.  I can’t imagine enjoying things people are supposed to love doing on Sunday afternoons, like golfing or mowing your lawn.  I get bored thinking about it.

Summer?  Forget about it.  I hate summer.  I spend the other nine months of the year dreading it.  It’s awful.  There is absolutely nothing pleasant about summer.  The heat gives me a constant headache, I can’t sleep properly, it’s noisy, and everyone is outside telling you that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t want to be outside enjoying it too.  Being me in the summer is like having the cranky, restless stage of the flu every single day.  Spring, fall and winter are great.  Summer is hell.  Again, I’m an HSP.  Extreme heat feels like being shoved in an oven and stabbed with steak knives.

Why am I writing this now?  Well, because I try so hard to make weekends work for me.  I try to fill them with to-do lists and exercise.  I try to do fun things too, like art and listening to music and eating out and watching movies and meeting friends for coffee.  Every Friday when I drive home from work, I think, I’ve got it this time.  I’ve got this weekend.  And every weekend, inevitably, my good mood deflates the longer it’s been since I was at work, and I start to feel lonely and restless.

The only time I’ve ever been able to get around this is when I’m on a trip.  Somehow, being away from my house makes everything different.

I have a constant, recurring anxious vision of myself retired, old and alone, my mind stagnating, my days filled with tedium and boredom and anxiety.  I just can’t seem to get this image out of my head. It has been haunting me, stalking me relentlessly, since I had my nervous breakdown.  I don’t know how to get rid of it.  I know I am a good thirty years away from retiring, but in my mind I’m already living that life.  It sounds crazy, but I have been trying to think up ways I can keep working until the day I die.  I’ll volunteer all day if I have to.

So many people I work with can’t wait to retire.  I don’t know why.  Everyone I know who has retired loves it, and I honestly don’t know how they do it.  I don’t know how they get through every single day completely adrift and unstructured.  I need, crave, thrive on routine and structure and responsibility.

Nobody at work who read this would every suspect it was me who wrote it.  I know they all think I’m someone who has it all figured out, who lives a charmed life, who has her shit together and never doubts herself of gets anxieties.  They don’t know that I’d rather be them.  I’d rather be a screw-up at work and be happy at home and not mind free time than feel like a neurotic, depressed mess when I’m outside my work environment.


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