Lists. Lists can be both very useful, or in my own unique case not so much.
Ever since I was a little girl I have always taken other people’s criticisms. If a teacher complained that the class was not working hard enough – I would work even harder despite being a straight-A student. If I was told about failing in life, or not doing as well as I should – I would worry tremendously about what the future would hold for me, despite being at university and having very supportive parents.
A science teacher I had in college once told our class that we were unorganised – despite having every assignment in at least a week in advance, and always being the girl with far too many pens, I took this criticism. I thought ‘oh shit, he’s right.’ so naturally I brought half of Staples and took it with me every day, I made ‘To Do Lists’ like no blood tomorrow and very quickly my life just became one massive list.
I still very much had this habit up until, very literally, a couple of days ago. My mental health deteriorated very quickly over the last couple of months so the lists got longer and more frequent so there was few to far between on my Google Documents. A couple of days after my last ‘To Do’ list I broke down, which meant that it was time for a Dad chat.
My Dad has a profound way of communicating with people – he can move mountains with the way he converses and opens your eyes to the way that you can behave. We talked and talked and talked before finally concluding that poor little exhausted Lucy cannot control everything in her life – I cannot control my health (apart from the obvious) and I cannot control the behaviour of those around me. But what I can control is how I deal with the said stress, and making lists was now not working, in fact, it was making it worse.
I did not need to plan my life to a degree of excruciating accuracy, to only become disappointed or concerned when things went awol – Poor little anxious exhausted Lucy was focusing on organising the insignificant details as a form of procrastination. Instead of where I should live, or what age would be best to have kids I should focus on how to make myself happy and how to thrive in a job I would both enjoy and be stable in etc. I needed to catch my adult brain up with my anxious one and mash the two together until they functioned ‘normally.’
People are built different, we don’t need to figure it out we just need to respect it. I am trying to respect the way that my mind works, and work alongside the ways that I know will combat my anxiety whilst pushing myself to achieve everything I know I can.