Tuesday, December 12, 2006

mental health days

K. and I had an illuminating conversation recently. While not strictly accurate, it went something like this:

Him: I'm really impressed you get up early every day. And that you're writing every day.

Me: I have to or I feel guilty.

Him: You write because of guilt?

Me: Yes. (Pause.) In fact, everything I do is because of guilt. Cleaning the house, walking the dogs, exercising. (Pause.) Without guilt I'd stay in bed all day reading trashy books and eating. (Pause.) Don't you feel guilty when you don't do things?

Him: No.

Heh. I don't think this is a difference between the sexes, but it's made me realize how many things I do to quiet the shrill anxious voice inside of me. And so on days like today, when it's raining, when we didn't go to church on Sunday, when the house is untidy, my purse is crammed full of papers, and the laundry's sitting in the dryer, when we haven't dealt with our Christmas cards and my writing for the day has not been finished, that voice is just plain alarming.

Good thing tonight's cleaning night. That ought to shut it up.


JL said...

Wow, that's a lot of guilt. Maybe you were a Catholic in a previous life?

Anonymous said...

ummm, *takes DEEP breath and SHOOOOOooooos all those tiresome, hammering thoughts away*

There. Tell yourself you are doing the best you can and that that is enough-- hope the sweet thoughts filter in.


Able Ponder said...

I prefer to think Jewish. I have a lot of empathy for the Jews.

Danielle said...

yeah, but if you were jewish, it wouldn't really be guilt so much as your mother's voice in your head that would guilt you into doing things.

Which is precisely my situation. Maybe I was jewish in a previous life.

seriously, I know how you feel about the guilt. my mom/my shrill voice prods me about everything from finishing hanging the speaker cord cover along the molding in the living room to making sure that I actually do check every link in an email when i'm proofing it.

Maybe this is what makes us good proofreaders? That sheer guilt drives us to check everything carefully?

How amazing that K doesn't have that feeling. I am jealous! I feel guilty when i sit and chill for a moment - for instance, I sat down last night to watch some trashy TV (and by that I mean, watch that show Bones about the forensic anthropologist while I ate dinner) and I only lasted a half hour before I had to get up and get my laptop and start working on getting my finances ready for 2007. I couldn't just sit there, the voice in my head would have none of it.

okay... i'm going to go comment about the HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!