Notes on Anxiety and Decision Making “Pauses”

I’ve mentioned before that my job can be a challenge. I have to be extremely accurate in my decision-making, hundreds of times a day. I cannot afford to be wrong.

I also DO NOT have any sort of God-complex whatsoever- the exact opposite, in fact. I have struggled with anxiety all of my life. People tell me that they never would have known, I guess I hide it well. If they could see all the worst-case scenarios and second guessing that go on in my head on a daily basis, they might wonder how I function at all.

Yet, I do. I suppose this level of awareness makes me very good at what I do, but it is also extraordinarily draining. There are many, many days when I ask my significant other to choose dinner because I just simply can’t make anymore decisions. He gives me a look, but because he is a saint, he agrees to decide on the eggplant parmesan for me and our evening rolls on.

I think people who have traditionally high-stress professions may be particularly prone to this type of temporary decision making inability. Although, I also believe that any job can be high stress given its unique set of judgement making, multitasking, and time management requirements (sounds like parenting, doesn’t it? Props to all ‘rents). I concede that I am also a sensitive soul and therefore have to conclude that at least part of the situation may be due to the temperament of the individual.

I know there must be other folks with high-stress occupations (or parents) that have  experienced decision “pauses” and must understand…Or maybe I’m just unique. Doubtful.

Here are some things that I decide to do when I cannot decide to decide on anything…er…yeah…

Unplug (Your Brain)

When I can’t make a determination on something so simple as food or beverage, I know it’s time to take a break. Not a well thought out read-a-great-book-or-interesting-article break; what I seem to crave in these moments are total mind-numbing activities (NO decision-making required). Netflix please!

*When I engage in an activity like this, though, I do like to give myself a time limit. Otherwise I find that I feel way too guilty about wasting the time afterwards. I find that an hour is usually more than sufficient.

Humor

Some very important people in my life, folks that I have been blessed to know, have taught me that humor really can be the best medicine. If I can manage to understand the joke through the haze in my brain, a good belly laugh can do wonders.

I encourage finding humor wherever you can, there are days when life can seem awfully bleak without it.

Let Someone Take Care of You

Even the most introverted introverts need people. Especially in moments like this, I find that letting someone whom I trust fix me dinner and sit with me through a mindless sitcom helps me feel so much better, and a little more human.

If you happen to be a very self-sufficient soul, your confidants may not readily recognize that you need some support. Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted friend or partner, they will likely jump at the opportunity to help you out.

Meditate

I’m not very good at this yet, but the instances that I have tried this have generally turned out quite well. It takes me quite awhile to calm down my internal dialogue (and I never can get it to completely cease), but just sitting and trying not to think can be so refreshing.

There are several types of meditation; guided, silent, walking, object, etcetera. I recommend finding a comfortable place to sit and experiment. There are numerous meditation guides on the internet that can help you get started.

yard buddha

After I partake in one of these activities and follow it up with a good nights’ rest (i.e. I get to bed on time), I usually feel like myself again at daybreak, ready to be picky about what kind of coffee or yogurt I will have that morning and tackle all the occupational judgements of the day. My decision making abilities return for awhile and I’m able to not only plan, but prepare dinner.

I hope this helps anyone out there who might also be having occasional decision “pauses”. Take care, and stay cozy.

 

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