I was going to say that it’s been a difficult and stressful week, but I’m trying to remind myself to question that kind of totalizing narrative.

So maybe it would be more accurate to say: It’s been a complicated week for me, with a couple of particularly difficult and stressful events that I’m not ready to talk about publicly.

(No advice, please.)

There have also been good things this week. Made a bunch of progress on the Russ-stories project. Did some house cleanup (and dealt with some papermail), thanks to an Anxious Productivity Club call with KTO. Helped with some Otherwise Award stuff. Improved my résumé. Made progress on my unread-books project. Made progress on triaging email. Got sympathetic support from friends. So it’s not really true that the whole week has been rough. But it’s easy to think of it that way if I don’t push back on the generalizations my brain wants to make.

…For the previous couple of weeks, I had often been feeling kind of unfocused and adrift—felt like I was having a hard time staying focused on things, with too many balls in the air and too many stressors. Though even during that period, I was making good progress on some things.

So on Monday evening, I decided to write down (as I put it) “a list of stuff that I’m trying to deal with and stuff in progress.” But it quickly morphed into a list of things that I was stressed and anxious about, at both big and small scales. It ended up including twelve categories of stuff, with sub-items in most of the categories.

By the end of that exercise, I was feeling more anxious rather than less. But I think it was nonetheless good for me to get it all written down—among other things, that got me to write down some of the aspects that had gone well, and to explicitly note to myself some things I’ve been avoidant about lately, and to make explicit some of the anxieties that had been kind of amorphous and vaguely ominous. And I think that in general, getting stuff written down helps me not try to hold all of it in my head at once.

And on Thursday morning, I realized that I couldn’t remember what most of the items on the list were. So I looked at the list again, and found that although everything on the list is still true, I’m less stressed about most of the items there than I had been on Monday night. So that’s good.

Still pretty stressed about a couple of them, though.

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