The Dangers of Autopilot

I've been cruising on autopilot for a while. I need to stop.

The thing about autopilot is that if it's not properly calibrated, you pilot yourself right into a downward spiral. I once again accidentally turned nocturnal and lost all sense of time. This has been facilitated by my anxiety disorder that has resulted in a TV addiction. Autopilot works on the assumption that you have great habits and that you aren't prone to decadence. But me, I love food and enjoy having 40 side projects at a time to amuse myself with. This has led to some very bad things. I need to build better habits.

When autopiloting, it's hard to get out of your rut. It's hard to find ways to stop playing catch-up and actually be caught up. I was kind of depressed about the overwhelming prospect of getting it all together. For all my inner motivation to make something of myself, losing direction is very dangerous to me. Falling behind is about the worst thing to me. Drop a few plates and suddenly I want to stop spinning the rest and wallow in my failure for a while as punishment. Sometimes my anxiety makes me feel more hopeless than I should. I don't feel depressed in a clinical way and probably not in an apparent way-- I'm prone to escapism when I feel anxious or upset, which is really not productive especially habitually. I just want to crawl into a hole with my favorite characters and escape my own life. Enter my TV addiction. At my low, I watched the entire series of the tragically cancelled Eli Stone in a little over a week. I'm very rarely outwardly sad or depressed. I just hide away, either in media or in sleep. I'd rather sleep than cry about my life. But the change happens with one good day.

I'm on day two of my turn around. I just had the first full night's sleep (actually at night and not losing an entire Saturday) in months. I feel good. I'm doing my readings, talking to professors.

Sometimes I fall into that perfectionist trap of thinking that I can't do something until all the conditions are perfect. For example, thinking that I can't ask for help in a class until I read every single handout and article and reading. Somewhere I know I won't have the time to do all that and I'm going to eventually have to resign myself to going over everything in a more efficient manner, but there's that nagging feeling that I should wait until all the conditions are perfect. It's the same as thinking you can't go to the gym until you get a decent pair of sneakers and a better fitting sports bra. So with this thought, I would continue on autopilot, playing catch up.

I'm getting on top of things. It's not enough to pick up the pieces afterward. Sometimes I let the big picture overwhelm me--It's like standing at the foot of a mountain, getting intimidated staring off at the summit and tripping on the rocks in front of you. I'm getting my bearings again and moving forward, one foot in front of the other.

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