I went on vacation the day after I posted last, which meant I didn’t get to try anything about cleaning and whatnot. Thank you for all the wonderful words of support! It’s really kind of comforting, I guess, to hear both encouragement and ‘omg you’re me’ from people. I’ve kind of marched to my own beat since forever, so just knowing that my issues are elsewise represented (you poor, poor people, you have all my sympathy) is really kind of novel.
Now I’m back, though, and I’m trying out an idea. I’m not sure how effective it’s going to be, but I’m trying to be more aware of when I automatically categorize something as ‘don’t care, don’t worry’. I’m trying to add, “I may not care, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.” to the thought.
So far, the idea feels new-shoes tight and a little bit uncomfortable. I am balking at the thought that something I’m doing is Not Okay, because of my own interior makeup and my relationship with how I deal with stress.
Stress goes straight to my guts and makes me physically ill, so I’ve rerouted a lot of what would stress me (like, er - cleaning, because Reasons) right on past my give-a-fuck receptors. As a defense mechanism, it works really well to help me deal with scary, upsetting, or emotional situations by letting my reasoning skills kick in faster than they might otherwise, but it does backfire. Stress and concern can be appropriate responses and ‘I don’t care, I don’t need to worry’ can certainly, certainly not. (As a writer, I love it when personality traits have both awesome and suck sides, but goddamnit are they inconvenient as a real live person.)
As for my ‘interior makeup’… that’s just a sideways way of saying that I hate being wrong. If I’m doing something Not Okay, it means I’m being wrong and that sucks. So I’m battling my sulky inner two-year-old every time I tell myself I’ve been doing it wrong, that how I decided to do something really isn’t the best way. So. Whine whine goddamnit, fuck everything.
Basically, I’m having to tell myself that status quo is Not Okay and ‘I don’t care’ really shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of my decision making process. There is such a thing as going too far in my efforts to avoid stressing myself out.
I think what I’m really afraid of is swinging back too far in the other direction. I’m prone to extremes, and have a family history of dealing with anxiety by getting sick (that I didn’t know about until this year?! Thanks family!). I know that such a simple mental shift shouldn’t send me into a spiral, but I… don’t know. It’s a fear. I’m trying to reintroduce a bit of pressure/stress into my life to encourage change. My brain keeps shouting at it’s loudest and most sarcastic, “There is no way this could ever possibly go wrong!”
I’ve used my ‘I don’t care’ as a buffer against the anxiety I know that I could easily fall prey to for so long without conscious thought that modifying that protective coating feels really dangerous and risky.
… I’m not sure it’s actually all that dangerous. My brain doesn’t see things the same way, obviously. Defensive mechanisms don’t really handle nuance all that well, I’ve found. Hell, I don’t even know if my not-giving-a-flip is even something I’m using to protect against my OWN anxiety or if it’s a mechanism against other members of my family’s anxiety and it’s something I’ve picked up that I really don’t even need in my current reality. I just don’t know. Answer hazy, try again later.
*mutters* Change is hard.
I think this whole ‘just because YOU don’t care’ thing is why the making-the-bed stuff is effective for UFYH. If you make the bed, you’re telling your subconscious that status quo is Not Okay at the same time saying But You Can Fix It! Making the bed DID help (though I’ve fallen out of the habit), and it… felt, mentally, the same way as ‘Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean it’s okay’ does: a little bit dangerous and a little bit mindful. It’s a positive message of change rather than a negative message of censure.
Right now, though, I just need the perspective-shifting message of, “Dude, you’re doin’ it wrong.” In some ways I’m lucky. Telling myself I’m wrong doesn’t send me into an existential quandary, because my ego is a robust bitch whose can-do attitude puts Rosie the Riveter to shame most of the time. I know very well I’m capable of being fan-fucking-tastic and awesome at this. Done it before. Got accolades. Took pictures, got the t-shirt. I don’t doubt my abilities, I merely doubt my commitment.
I’m contrary as fuck. Another of those mixed-blessing personality traits. What that means is that if I’m wrong, well, I hate being wrong and now I have to do something about it.