Constant Overwork

I've been stretched too thin lately, as is usually the case with me. I wrote a bit about my manic tendencies before, when I was in the process of switching medications to something more appropriate for bipolar depression. I've been on Lamictal for about three months now, and while it has curbed the pure giddy "wheee, I can do anything!" moods, it hasn't stopped me from slowly adding more and more projects to my plate until I just can't handle them all anymore. I think it's just become habit; I've been in this state of frantic overwork most of my life, so I feel like a lazy slug if I'm not on the verge of physical and mental collapse.

Last week I finally recognized I'd taken on too much, and I sat down to analyze my projects and obligations. I tried to figure out which ones were most important to me, which ones fit neatly together, and which ones I didn't really enjoy, and only did because I felt I had to. I resolved to stop working on several things entirely, and to quit some others as soon as I'd finished the bit I was currently working on. I came up with a plan for the things that were left; 45 minutes a day on this, 15 a day on that, and I would have time for it all.

Problem is, it was still too much. What I failed to realize was that, figuring in things like cleaning, preparing meals, and working out, my "plan" consisted of about 10 hours a day of scheduled obligations, with no breaks or weekends. And so, inevitably, it led to me breaking down once again, full of guilt and self-loathing for not being able to accomplish even my lightened workload.

I believe the root of my problem is that my end goal for most of my projects is "make money." Growing up in poverty has led me to feel that one is not contributing to a household unless they're paying bills. So when most of my projects are the sort of thing that require a lot of time and effort to see a profit on--music, art, writing--suddenly my hobbies and passions become daily chores I dread, and I have no downtime, because everything I do is work.

As always, the solution to my problem is to internalize a logical thought process, never an easy task. Our family is extremely fortunate: my husband makes a good enough income that I don't need to work outside the home. The key to my happiness is to embrace my role as a housewife (as much as the teenaged me would have shuddered at the thought), and truly believe that if the house is clean and dinner is on the table, I have done my job. And once my job is done, I can spend my time any way I want. No rigorously scheduled writing time each day--if I feel like writing, I can write.

And if, after cooking and scrubbing and mopping, all I really want to do is play video games? That's okay.

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