Update – this is part 2, read part 1 here.
On my vacation, I worked very hard to remove myself from as many of my responsibilities as possible. Some were easier than others, and some came on vacation with me! By midweek, I had almost been able to clear my brain of the majority of it. See, with a computer program or window, its easy to shut down, you just hit the little “x” in the corner. With the brain, it is a whole lot harder, especially with type A’s like me, but I was able to finally work on my project, able to take some walks, sit by the water, get some extra sleep, and avoid the phone. It was so nice!
The problem is, eventually you have to come back to reality. All those responsibilities were right there when I returned. One funny thing was, I normally “hold” lots of information in the front of my mind. I am like a walking encyclopedia, the ‘keeper of all knowledge’. When I got back to real life, I found I could not remember a lot of the little details I would normally know! I constantly had to say, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t remember’, which is a big change for me, but is very disconcerting, as it is something I am not used to.
I also found my brain hesitant to open up all those ‘windows’ I normally would have open. I thought that, after vacation, I would be able to jump back into my life. What I found is that I am not able to and I don’t think I want to. My brain has been on overload for too long and is fighting working at the capacity I had it at before. I am not able to be fully aware or fully successful or even proficient if I have ‘too many windows open’. Our brains have a warning system built in to help us see when we are on overload, but it takes some people longer than others to hear the warning bells. And I can’t go buy more memory to install!
I believe that our brains can hold and work on quite a bit at a time, but not long term. I think that has been one of my problems, not having enough down time. One thing the brain can do, is to recuperate and return to full capacity. To do that though, you have to spend time in ‘Safe Mode’ or ‘Diagnostic mode’. In our computer, this is done by opening Windows without opening all the other applications and programs that typically are running when the computer is running in regular mode. You can then find what the problems are and correct them.
For our brain and life to be in ‘Safe Mode’, we have to step away from as many of the responsibilities as possible, and then examine our life and see what is working and what is not. Then we have to figure out what can be done in the situation and create boundaries for our life and for those who are closest to us.
Only once we implement those boundaries and changes, can we resume our life and our roles and responsibilities with the new rules in place. We then have to be vigilant to keep within the boundaries we set for ourselves to keep from winding up in the same place again. Depending on the severity of your overload, this ‘Safe Mode examination’ may take a weekend, a week, or in severe cases, it could take weeks or months.
I am at the point where I am going to have to enter SAFE mode, I have to set my boundaries. I am not sure how long this will take, hopefully it won’t be too long, but I am having to determine which things are necessary and what can be delegated or NOT done or moved to a much lower priority. For now, I am going to stop beating myself up for not working out. I need to feed my body healthy food, so I have to find an easy way to make that happen. I have to make myself get more sleep. I have to find a way to work more efficiently at my job. I have to get some things settled for my brother that I am ultimately responsible for. Another thing I will have to learn to do is ask for help from those around me. I have never been very good at that, as I want to see myself as strong and self-sufficient.
So, what about you? Are there things you’ve had to remove from your life? What other survival techniques have you implemented? I have a fact sheet “40 Ways to Survive and Not Merely Live” for all who request it is your comments! I need to go back and read it again myself!
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