The other day I received a call from a creditor asking me about a payment on something and he referred to a form so that part or all of the debt may be written off. He sounded very annoyed when I told him that I found the form too complicated to completed as he kept telling me it was so easy. I was trying to think about the form and think about what was required on it while he was trying to pressure me and all the while it was my morning setup for work and I was under a little time pressure as well and I could feel the stress start building and as it built I could feel myself starting to lose control. Despite the information I’ve given them about my conditions he couldn’t understand what I was really dealing with and I had to hang up on him. It will be dealt with later but I have to deal with things in a very refined and structured manner and his point was disrupting my structure.
I accept that I’m very intelligent and resourceful but their is a price to be paid for excelling in one area over another and with me it’s not being able to deal with the “gray”.
Everything I do has to have a specific structure to it. Everything has to have an order or defined process no matter how subtle to ensure that my stress doesn’t start to peak out. When I start to stress about things because they have too much “gray” in them I quickly start to stop doing things and eventually I just have to drop what I am doing or go somewhere else.
Does this mean I’m a neat freak? By no means do I exhibit any sense of spatial order but my processes for cleaning are in specific structures that really create a physical disorganization of objects except when I am dealing directly with one task assigned to one set of objects. To simplify this, I have to have everything in it’s space (box if you will) but those items in that space so not need to be organized. There is very little micromanaging and that allows me to mix food on my plate.
I understand stress is a part of our lives but it’s a part of life that isn’t supposed to be on all the time. It’s meant for emergency situations and from my experience with taking anti-anxiety medication I have a better understanding of what my stress means to me. For instance I’m afraid of heights and in the past I couldn’t get near the railing of anything very high in the air because the stress was interpeted into such strong fear. However now I can feel the stress seperate of the fear and I can approach that railing knowing that the subtle panic is my mind saying that this is a danger place but if I be careful I’ll be fine. The stress is there to identify the dangers in life and by being stressed all the time from work and outside pressure I had failed to make that distinction and the medication just made that divide blurr out even more.
So everything is a project in of itself. I spend a lot of time just trying to mentally sort out things to do and once I get them sorted I try to work on each item. I can multitask to some degree but nothing gets blended and each idea has it’s separate mental process so I can still drive and listen to the radio and watch the landscape for interesting things.
The instructions for a process unknown to me has to either be laid out very clearly or shown to me before I can understand it. If I’m given something to do and I’m not given any way of researching the clear steps to do that process I’ll get lost. Granted, I will refine a process to make it simpler and get the same results but it will be clear and ordered in my head. If for any reason I have to guess or there are “gray areas” in the process, then I’m inept at handling them.