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Truly, I am a monster. A freak. A genetic anomaly. I am physically incapable of napping, no matter how exhausted I am, unless general anesthesia has been involved.

The simple answer I have is that anxiety keeps me from being able to relax. I can’t sit still unless I have met all my obligations for the day. Only there are plenty of times when I’m all set, but still can’t chill. I have no idea how to just… be.

How to forgive myself for not being constantly productive. How to exist without doing doing doing. I’m relearning how to play video games and watch TV, but after months of doing this, I am still riddled with nearly paralyzing guilt when I do.

For someone who fucking hates capitalism like I do, I have deeply internalized its message that my worth is tied to my productivity. I’ve been proud of my “work ethic” my whole life (I started a pet sitting business at age 12 and have nearly always worked since), but it’s toxic.

I am probably slowly killing myself. I’ve come close to a crisis several times and have managed to drop a few stressors, but I’m pretty much out of things to get rid of. I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to learn to exist with no strings attached and not hate myself for it.

And mindfulness/meditation doesn’t help. It turns out it’s actually something that can amplify anxiety and stress in chronic pain sufferers like myself. So something I tried for two years got me nowhere.

I have no idea what to do. I really don’t. I may look like I have my shit together, but it’s really just that I’m very good at performing being okay when I’m not. Years of mental illness and disability teach you that skill, trust me.

Maryland Birdmancer, queer, speculative fiction author/editor, TTRPG player/GM, actually just three birds in a trench coat.

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