ii – Procrastination……

At the start of lockdown around the end of March I found myself spending alot of time in self-reflection. Thinking about what makes me ‘tick’; my likes, my dislikes and especially those things that I really, really disliked. But what I found myself doing more and more was was using this time, which let’s be honest could be a very positive time, doing something which is far less positive. Procrastinating!

Now, we all know the dictionary definition ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’ but why was I doing this when I didn’t really have much to do.

After the Easter holidays, when I started my new job, which anyone in education can tell you…moving schools during the academic year is not easy. Then it slowly started to dawn on me why I had been procrastinating, one of my inner demons had gotten the better of me. There it was not just sitting on my shoulder but this time had decided to get a full-on piggyback ride!

That demon was self-doubt and self loathing, that inextricable feeling that whatever I did was not going to be good enough and I would be a failure! That feeling that my best efforts would not be enough. All my years being a teacher, told me that I had the skills, knowledge and experience to be a Head of Department for the first time and could even be half decent at the job too.

But there was no shaking it, every fibre in my body was telling me that I was going to screw this up so much that I would probably have to change schools. Every irrational brain cell was going into overdrive to ensure that my state of mind did not improve. My rational self had done one, it was gone, as it sped away looking into the rear-view mirror I was a distant speck on the horizon.

This is where I found myself for what seemed an eternity, day after day, the feeling of dread when I woke up. How was I going to do my work today, when I ‘knew’ deep down in my soul that what I was doing was sub-standard. As the days rolled on my procrastinating manifested itself in many different forms; binge watching a series on Netflix; painting the garden fence; drinking soo many cups of tea; and my favourite one sneak eating on biscuits and chocolate.

The last one has had the biggest negative effect on me. At the end of December last year I started attending Slimming World and had been quite successful, losing 6kg in 11 or 12 weeks. I was well on the way to my goal. Then that demon jumped on my back! All the weight I had lost in that time I put back on in a matter of a couple of weeks, and since then I have yoyo’d up and down.

So what does all of this have to do with my inner demon and my procrastination? Well, as we are a few weeks further down the line, I have had sometime to think about the reasons why I have procrastinated, when my brain has decided to function something close to normality.

Here’s my current conclusion my brain hates me at times! I do not want to live in fear of my demons, I want to get it off my back whatever it is that is holding me back. Unfortunately, the nature of this particular beast means that won’t happen anytime soon for me. I am going to have to take every situation one at a time and hope that I can tackle it without falling down, but if I do fall I know that I will stand up again and put one foot in front of the other.

But I do know that if I start to procrastinate in the future I will take sometime to self-reflect and hopefully I will be able to see sooner rather than later what is actually bothering me, rather than just letting it get the better of me for awhile.

I know the way out…….

During a conversation with a friend they suggested that I start to write my own blog after I commented on how I enjoyed reading theirs. My friend said that they found it cathartic and believed that it would be something positive for me to try. As I listened to their words I started to think about an old episode of The West Wing; where Josh has his first session with Stanley the trauma therapist, and Leo is waiting for him and he tells a shorts story about friendship and supporting each other.

Now in these times of Covid-19 and lockdown, with not much light at the end of the tunnel I find myself thinking about that scene and what it means to me and how I can be a good friend and support my nearest and dearest. Initially I thought, yeah fine, I am a kind supportive person who can make sure that everyone around me does feel exactly that, but as the days have moved into weeks and now into months I am starting to wonder if my self perception is actual right or am I living in a dream world with my head stuck up my own arse!

Anyone who has spent sometime with me outside of the work environment will be able to testify that I can be an awkward, stubborn, hard-headed person to get on with. And those people who have lived with me may even go further than that and express thoughts along the lines of are you sure you’re not on the spectrum! They may well be right, it is all part of my charm!!

I am trying to support my wife and stepson, but at times am finding all so difficult to manage, especially as I fight my own demons but can’t/won’t tell them why I am behaving in a particular way; going from kind and caring, to a grumpy cantankerous old git in a blink of an eye. Sometimes my mood changes so quickly that it even surprises me, I wish that I could be the person that I want to be.

Where does this all mean? I guess back to Josh and Leo….”I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out!” Be patient with me, try to remember that what we see on the surface, my tone of voice, my actions, may not be what is going on inside. It might just be that I need someone to show me the way out without me actually asking for it, and for me to feel that someone is caring about me just as much as I care about them.

So, thank you to my friend who suggested that I start writing a blog. Even though it has taken me several weeks to start my first ever blog, I have been thinking about it and what it means to me and why we do the things we do. It has been cathartic so far and a nice way to self reflect and evaluate my actions, so hopefully I will become the person that I want to be.

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