I have a "should" addiction...
Know any antidotes?
In the last 6 months, I have felt like I am becoming progressively less “productive.” I have been getting worse and worse at doing multiple things at once; worser still at excelling at things that feel strained and forced.
I haven’t been able to “soldier on” and just get it all done like I have all my life till these last few months…
And as a result I’ve been feeling really bad; ashamed to be precise, of myself.
Who is this person, why can’t she do more? She used to be so efficient, so “everywhere;” a skilled juggler. What happened to her?
I saw an old snippet of our local newspaper, 2016:
Siphumelele Gumede, in the top 5 of the District with 5 Distinctions…
A picture of me holding a massive trophy.
I’m no trophy winner now. Far from it.
And while I want to say I’ve taken that girl off, it feels like she shed me off; flew off into some greatness and left me behind. She left my body for one more suitable for the heights she was headed to…
And I’ve been here, feeling left behind, my “spark” gone.
I’ve been turning my thoughts over and over, looking for the thing that I should be doing to get that shine back; that top-girl-at-everything superpower. I’ve been craving the envious eyes and praise it attracts.
Agonising over what I “should” be doing to feel powerful again, to be on that over-achieving high I used to stay on…
Apparently, I’ve been looking for this drug these last two years to the exact day:
They say addiction is usually the solution to something else.
I know well-enough that my addiction to achievement and praise was tending to something deeper. To the feeling that unless I was doing something trophy-worthy, I wasn’t earning my place.
And yet, knowing this still doesn’t take away the guilt, mingled with longing. The swarming “shoulds” are still so furious, so intimidating.
What do you do with the gaping holes you’ve told yourself you won’t feel with garbage again? Is there something like the e-cigarette or a vape in smoking, for that in-between space when you’ve told yourself that you don’t need to be achieving anything to be of value and you’re not anymore but still feel like you should be…because you’re fading to invisibility?
How do you wean yourself off of “I should be doing” this or I’m through?
Is this too somber for a Friday?
I feel like I’m crying at the beach on a really sunny day…there’s something offensive and “wrong” about it but I can’t help it.