El Plato Caliente

It came to me in a flash of light, kind of like a dream if you believe in that sort of thing. I’m working like a cook. I’m working like everything is high priority and everything has to get out on time. I don’t understand the concept of “slow down.” Slowing down is being less productive. Slowing down means I am not contributing as much as I possibly can whenever I can.

No one gives me this pressure. It’s my internal slave drivers, “the committee,” as my AA friends would say (if you don’t have a friend in AA, you really need one). No one is harder on me than I am internally. It’s something that I’ve picked up from all my parents (which, by my count, is six). Everyone in my family is internally driven and successful beyond belief.

I am not yet, but not for lack of wanting. I mean, I do not discount all of the progress I’ve made over the years, but my mental health has been a constant obstacle in terms of time management and organization. If I was only paid to think, I’d do quite well. It’s the paperwork that kills me, even though it’s all digital. I’m sure you all have some version of this. Firefox always has sixty tabs at work, you know?

I am being switched back to days on Monday, not as a punishment but because I realized that graveyard shift was exacerbating the problem instead of making it better. I thought that I would have an easier time at night with the slowing down, but it’s been the opposite. There’s no one to talk to, no one to consult, and as I sit in the dark, I buzzsaw through backlog. The mistakes I have made are nothing major- akin to copying an e-mail to someone that didn’t need to be included or vice versa. Then, I hear the criticism that’s thisbig and blow it all out of proportion because I’m too exhausted to take it in stride.

Being on the graveyard shift has flipped my personality, as well. All of the alone time has made me retreat into myself. Even when there are other people around, I tend to put on my headphones and shut out the rest of the world. I only exist in my bubble, the place where no one can touch me because I look absolutely unapproachable, anyway. I am not like this. I have never been like this at a job. It’s nice to take off the mask and just be my antisocial, introverted self… but I’ve stopped feeling like I’m part of a team that shares the load. Right now, even though it’s really not true, I feel like it’s all on me.

In some ways, it is. I have to deal with my mental health issues. I have to keep tabs on myself when it feels like there’s too much flying at me. I have to know when the plate is hot, because it’s self-preservation to drop it. The calming down part is that not everything is an entree. Sometimes it’s just a salad.

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