Sometimes you just get to a point when you have a serious case of information overload and you need to sit in a darkened room to process everything for a few hours. A bit like the time before the digital age when film was processed in the dark so that nothing else could pollute the film before the developing fluid had done its job and made the information, the image, that the light had burnt in that short few milliseconds of exposure a permanent feature to last forever.
Well today I’m at that point. The film in my head is full, it’s ready to be processed and if anything else gets in there the information is only going to get polluted and the useful information lost. There will be great pictures I need to keep forever, and those awful ones that I wonder how the hell they got there and will need to put aside, then the mediocre almost useful but only in context memories that I should keep just in case.
As a typical ENFP according to the Myers Briggs theory of assessing your personality, I’m an extrovert, looking at the world in an intuitive way, assessing the information through feelings and perceiving the actions I need to take rather than making solid plans. I’m actually a borderline extrovert/introvert, yep an ambivert! This means I flick between the two, so when the info gets all a little bit much I have to shut the doors to my brain and calm it all down before I can communicate again, or I tend to have a bit of a melt down.
Today the information overload hit me at about 11am… actually I think the information overload has been building since Monday, then with little sleep because sometimes I go through cycles of insomnia I haven’t had chance to turn my brain off and give it a good rest. These are the points where I really have to prioritise who I communicate with to make sure I don’t accidentally upset anyone and also cause myself damage in the process.
Here’s where the trouble with tech comes in. We are always contactable because we have mobile phones. I have had to train myself to ignore messages when I am not ready to process that info. But of course with that comes the guilt. Some people just can’t help themselves, they have to check that, last seen or read receipt when actually I’d rather they didn’t!
Luckily you can turn this off now for a lot of things, but it’s a bit obvious when you do. I have learnt not to care. People who know me well will understand and people who don’t will just have to try… perhaps they don’t deserve the privilege of that read receipt anyway…
The benefits of modern day life bring with it their own new issues. There is constant information but perhaps little thought. There’s the ability to contact each other 24/7, documentation of every moment which is great when it’s your baby pictures or that post about the great day out but when it’s your latest mental break down and you write a post, then that’s the bit of documentation that can be used against you. Having been hauled over the coals over something trivial for this by a previous employer I’m very careful about how my social media is connected to my personal thoughts and actions trying to keep my professional life and personal life separate.
I’m not in any way ashamed that my mental state is sometimes a little unstable, I would like to meet a person who doesn’t have that issue. It’s how we project that information and whether we know how to get help when things aren’t quite right. I’m just over a month off my meds now and actually haven’t had a crashing low yet. It’s liberating that I know I’m doing this all myself now and it’s also reassuring to know that I can cope now even when things get stressful.
So the darkened room, well not too dark right now, I’m looking at the ends of today’s August sunshine and reminding myself that sunlight is good for me. But the processing time as I write today’s post is helping me to calm down and sort the spaghetti of thoughts into something more manageable. I’m not going to beat myself up for feeling a little stressed. Today I’ve been dealing with research and development for unknown technology, the tech itself hasn’t been stressful but the need to reassure, answer questions, facilitate communication between people who are not naturally communicative has been a little testing. That and the discovery that my daughter has left her passport with her dad less than a week before we go on her own holiday, meant that slight worry set in. I had been worrying that he may decide to withhold it after my daughter spent a period of six weeks not wanting to see him. So I did what I felt best and called him. This put my mind at rest. Whilst I didn’t think he really would have done that the thought crossed my mind and the worry was hard to put a stop to so calling and sorting it was another thing out of that tangled brain of mine and one less worry to process.
So with issues dealt with mostly and home a bit disorganised today after starting to get things ready for a holiday, I’m deciding to take some time out of it today so I can come back fresh tomorrow. Gone are the days of pushing myself to absolute breaking point, putting every other person’s needs before my own, my daughter is fed and happy having had a nice reuniting hug after her time away with her dad. It’s time now to just let those thoughts process and get them organised and happy again.
It’s good that I’ve learnt to do this and recommend to anyone who asks to take that bit of time to just sit there and do nothing and remember to feel absolutely no guilt at all! When we give our everything all the time, people expect that level of service all the time. Sometimes we need to take that time back for ourselves, because very often the taker wouldn’t even give that a second thought, but sometimes they need to learn to self smooth, because when you’re fixing everyone else, who’s going to fix you? “Learn to fix yourself” is my favourite bit of advice I’ve ever been given. So today I’m processing the memories in my mind of my day, and fixing it good so I’m fully prepared for the next one…