Mental Health: Construct. Deconstruct? Reconstruct. Struct? Help.

I’m having a hard time structuring my life right now.

First of all, announcement! After two and a half years and most of our marriage living with my in-laws, Rick and I signed a lease for our own place starting March 1. We’re over the moon, or as Rick would say, “super jazzed.” However, our belongings are in storage, in the city, and intertwined with my in-laws’. Rick and I have cobbled together our home life for years now, and we’ve got to untangle it. Moving is a good time to purge, and of course moving in general is stressful. But, we’re moving! We. Are. Moving. :) It’s a magical place on the Upper West Side in a renovated town home. It was a working fireplace(!) and is a half block to Central Park(!). I walked in and immediately knew it had to be ours. I kinda won’t believe it is until move-in day. I’m so grateful. Meanwhile, our bank account is dry heaving.

Too much?

Anyway, enough gushing about Barbie Dream House. What is and should be top of mind for me is my thesis. I’ve begun piecing through all of my grad school notes kept both in my notebooks and in my phone notes. On floating post-it notes and book margins I’ve scribbled cryptic blurbs that pertain to my brother Alex’s story, our relationship, and the fabulous potpourri of mental illnesses in my family, and now I’m categorizing everything and creating a master list of big events and touching details to be pieced together in a can’t-put-downable book. (Self-affirmation.) I guess you can think of it as a book skeleton.

A huge part of writing, of course, is reading, and I’ve got a fat stack of books to study to inspire/inform my own work via similarities in genre or subject matter. I also need to keep up with exercise, post here on Bummed Out Bailey, manage the move, market Tidy B Organizing, submit my writing to publications, research agents, and start planning for work life post-grad, but more and more I’ve been wondering if I’m harming the progression of my book and usefulness of my thesis semester by cluttering my life with arguably unnecessary things, like posting in a blog I enjoy. I don’t want to press pause on Bummed Out Bailey because I made a commitment and want to stay with it. I want my word to mean something. But, at what cost? I need a cost-benefit analysis up in here. Up in here, up in here.

There’s no field guide to being a freelance creative, which is its inherent liberation and restriction. Some days that structural freedom is celebrated, and other days it leers at me and taunts. What’re you doing? You don’t deserve this. Why aren’t you doing more? What’s wrong with you? You’re not good enough. You’re a spoiled, navel-gazing brat from an affluent, privileged white family who gets to solely focus on their art during grad school while your peers turn out good work… and have JOBS! AND you don’t even have children to worry about!

But enough about me.

Basically I just sit around steeping in a pool of my own guilt that I’m not doing enough, which I constantly have to remind myself is untrue as I’m doing my very best. Depression is woven into this feeling of failure and inability to juggle. Out here hopin’ the Prozac is kickin’ up my seratonin levels enough. Come onnnn seratonin! You’re #1!

In the past 24 hours I got upset thinking about unchosen dogs while reading about a person’s experience walking through a pound. I worried my acupuncture office thinks I keep rescheduling because I’ve become xenophobic due to coronavirus and their feelings are hurt. I was in a rush and hung up on some kind person calling from Big Brothers Big Sisters cause I didn’t know what to say and kind of panicked. I’m like a giant turtle trundling along weighed down by barnacles of guilt and sadness that cling to me wherever I go. It’s fun to be me! At least I’ll soon have a magical apartment to sloth around inside of while in the depths of my unqualified guilt and shame!

Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.

More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: Tired of Me
Mental Health: New Year Goal Mapping
Mental Health: Location, Location, Location

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