This is the pressing question, the one I've lately not been able to answer, not in theory, not in practice.
I'm having a damned hard time of it, juggling the little balls--I was never much of a juggler anyway--all through life I've pulled it off, sort of, but with plenty of rest stops along the way, to stare out my literal and figurative window, to regroup by inaction.
When in the past I've absolutely needed to, I could focus with laserlike intensity, to the exclusion of all the clamoring around and within me. In school, I'd pull off last-minute kamikaze operations that would turn out splendidly, but would involve late nights and chewing on coffee beans a la Charles Ryder in "Brideshead Revisited." Since Hedgehog came along, and even more lately, though she's gotten a life of her own but is much more sentient, in need of attention and conversation, I find myself flagging.
There is so much I want to do and need to do--for an eventual livelihood, dissertation, writing projects; for my own soul, knitting and reading and even this, writing little essays here for my blog, just to keep my writing hand in; and then the thousands of little chores and errands that run the household.
My days have become a rushing wild wind and a paralysis, all rolled into one barely contained ball of anxiety. Literally, the daily breakdown is: 80% frantic worrying but not doing, worrying to the point of anxiety attack, and 20% everything dull and necessary, the dishes and the laundry, making breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, seeing people off to work and school, bills, jockeying bits of money hither and yon to cover everything, then they come home again and need to be fed and talked to and loved and nurtured, and I am completely exhausted and unable to offer the sine qua non sort of stuff of life, to offer the things that my family needs and deserves just because I love them bottomlessly, and they are wonderful and offer me back a whole world that I can't live without. Sometimes, lately, I just don't have it in me though.
Today I walked Hedgie to school, and listened to her prattle happily about that and this, then returned home to see Sarge off, he could see I was already coming undone but had to go to work of course--and there I was, confronted by the hideous maw of computer--the Dissertation file whose very little icon makes me shudder with fear--and the blue binders full of notes and research and articles and scraps and bits of writing--but also the sink of breakfast dishes, the crumbs on the floor--and the phone calls to be made to my dear friends, who know I have a tendency to disappear into the ether for days at a time when I'm feeling like this, and I miss them but know I'll just start weeping piteously into the phone and what kind of conversation will that be? I really don't like to do that. I'd prefer to keep my extremis to myself, contained in the paces of the kitchen and livingroom--
I've always had a terrible, dreadful, anxiety, since I was very little, and lately it's flowing not ebbing, and the only thing I can do to hold myself together is to shut my mind down for long periods of time and wander around like a ghost, wringing my hands and tidying aimlessly--some of you have surely known bad anxiety, and you know what it's like--if not, it's impossible to describe, without sounding like a lunatic or worse, the demons that creep behind, and then as they gain power, which they always, always do, begin their flying and flapping about one's head, work their way inside one's brain--that's the worst--there's nothing worse, for me. All creativity and productivity is at a standstill. When I'm like this, I just go on autopilot and sort of hope, pray, it will pass and the world will settle back down and I can pick up my pen, my broom, the phone, the checkbook and begin again...
This post is awful, the literary equivalent of sinking back on an overstuffed divan, swooningly, praying someone will hold the smelling salts under my nose or at least pinch me back to myself, or maybe just call in the existential paramedics, or angels with soothing hands and good ideas...
Before a few weeks ago, Pippin was there doggishly, and the baleful look he cast my way, as I paced and hyperventilated, could be salubrious. But now he's gone, and my hamster, lord knows, offers nothing in the way of comfort. He doesn't even make eye contact!
I'm undone, beyond exhausted, and now this unfortunate post will testify to it, to the very worst, most overwrought, incompetent, self-indulgent parts of me, the parts I loathe.
But maybe it is like a crying jag. Icky, humiliating, and necessary. Once you've cried, and dried your eyes, the storm has passed, even if only temporarily.
Wish me luck, though. Or better yet, ignore this entirely...I think this may come under Rules of Blogging: Never Blog during an Anxiety Attack!