Productive but stressful

Today was complicated.

(Wrote this post late Wednesday night, posted it Thursday morning. In this post, today means Wednesday.)

On the one hand, I was super anxious. Higher anxiety levels than I’ve had in a long time. I wouldn’t call it a panic attack exactly, but very very stressful.

On the other hand—partly because of the anxiety—I had the most productive day I’ve had in quite a while.

Anxiety (and a mild cold) made me too stressed to go see a friend for breakfast. But during the time when I would have been doing that, I instead did several small but useful tasks, and set things up for the big task of the day.

The big task was preparing for a presentation that I’m giving tomorrow. Well, co-giving, with a colleague. I won’t have any problems with the presenting part as such; but the prep for it was really hard on me, much more so than it would normally have been. I had thought that I had said a couple weeks ago that I didn’t want to do this presentation, but apparently I just thought that instead of saying it, and by the time I figured out that I hadn’t said it, I felt like I might as well go ahead and do it. But it turned out to be much more anxiety-provoking than I had expected. And I felt like the presentation ought to include a bunch of data that I didn’t have and wasn’t sure how to obtain.

And I still had a bunch of anxiety left over from the past couple of weeks. Social media had exacerbated it, but I’ve been almost entirely off social media for a few days now, and the anxiety wasn’t going away. (Nor was the cold, though it never got very bad.)

I took an extra day’s worth of Lexapro this morning, after having accidentally missed a day over the weekend. In the past, a little extra has usually helped, but today it didn’t seem to—or else today would’ve been really awful without the extra pill, not sure.

I made bits of progress over the morning and early afternoon, but got more and more stressed. By midafternoon, I was not doing well. I finally contacted my manager and asked if we could have a brief meeting to talk through the presentation.

She was great, as always. She calmed me down and gave me some general guidance about what to put in the presentation, and gave me the option of not presenting tomorrow. And most of the things that she suggested including were along the same lines as things I was already thinking about, so that was both reassuring (that I had been on the right track) and helpful (in getting me more focused on the right things, and helping me see that I didn’t need to gather detailed exact numbers for things).

So that helped a lot, but I was still tense. But I got my part of the presentation done (am very grateful to my colleague who’s co-presenting with me, who put together about 90% of the presentation without needing my assistance), and moved on to other stuff.

The other most time-sensitive thing for me today is that I’ve had several overdue expense reports for months. I’ve been very avoidant about dealing with them, for no good reason. But the emails telling me that they were overdue have been getting more and more intense lately, and the latest ones had threatened to escalate even further, which I assume means telling my manager’s manager (they had already told my manager) that I hadn’t filed these reports.

So tonight I gradually managed to file three of the four overdue expense reports, and after banging my head against a self-contradictory error message in the fourth one for a while, I sent a note to the expense people requesting their help.

So I’m doing a lot better now. Not entirely un-anxious, but far less so than has been true over the past couple days.

Some other things I did today, in no particular order:

  • Replied to a couple of Constellation Press emails.
  • Emptied the dishwasher and re-filled it.
  • Took a nap.
  • Put on warm socks and a jacket when I got cold.
  • Apparently got over my cold sometime in the late afternoon, though I’ve thought that a couple of previous times in the past few days, so it might be back tomorrow.
  • Made a bit of progress on backlogged work email.
  • Took the first steps on another time-sensitive overdue work thing: opening reqs.
  • Resolved yet another time-sensitive overdue work thing. (Another one where the pings from the people in charge were getting more urgent as time went on. Unlike the other overdue work things, this one took me about five minutes; I had known exactly what hoop I needed to jump through, just hadn’t gotten around to doing the jumping.)
  • Did my daily piano practice.
  • Intentionally stopped myself when I had the impulse to play Dice Wars, which I used to like a lot but lately it just tends to increase my stress levels.
  • Did most of my packing for impending brief Chicago trip.
  • Did a bit of planning for travel and visits later in the year.
  • Read bits of Little Women (which I found soothing) and bits of Kory Stamper’s book Word by Word, about lexicography (which I didn’t find soothing, but was nonetheless interesting).
  • Talked with a couple of friends.
  • Filed a couple of bug reports about various tech things that weren’t working right.
  • Poked a toe back into social media. But only a toe; I’m going to continue to mostly stay away for a while.
  • Wrote this blog post.

(No advice, please.)

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