Mid-Afternoon Musings: The Anxiety of Starting a New Year

Hey Chums—

I was originally planning on creating some content pertaining to video games or anime, but when I woke up today, I couldn’t find the motivation to talk about anything. My head and heart are filled with what is happening in the United States right now. I have so many thoughts and feelings to what occurred and the grotesque way it’s being depicted and (mis)handled by the media and persons in charge. If something like this transpired at the hands of non-White individuals, then the reaction and responses would have been incredibly different, far more ruthless and unforgiving. Processing all of this has been a strange sort of challenge.

When 2020 finally ended, I thought I could breathe. I had imagined inhaling a fresh bout of air and filling my lungs with hope by putting aside the commiseration caused by the last twelve months in lieu of moving forward with the future. Yet, barely a week into 2021 and things seems to be just as dire as ever. How can we stop and lift our heads towards the horizon when its continuously obscured by the black smoke of hatred and ignorance with a never-seeming end? In many ways, I feel that we cannot.

If 2020 has taught me anything about myself, it is that I can be horridly pessimistic, yet even in light of my vehement negativity, I also refuse to give up. No matter how powerful the desire to do so is. I don’t like failing at anything. I suppose when a person is constantly weighed down by the baggage of trauma and shortcomings from a past they work diligently to forget, hating the very nature of failure becomes a sort of inevitability. My brother and I used to have lengthy conversations about things like this all the time. I chock it up to half and half. Half of it being my past and trauma and the other half stemming from the person I’ve always been before life tossed me a terrible curveball that took years to crawl out of; the person who thrived off seemingly impossible achievements due to a thirst for ambition. Whatever the reason, I hate failing. I hate the feeling it instils within my heart. The poison it shoots throughout my brain. The way it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach and unbelieving in my potential to move forward. Because of that I don’t like to do things that I know I don’t stand a chance at accomplishing or conquering in any form whatsoever. If there’s even a snowball’s chance in Hell that I can do it, then I’ll go for it. But if there’s no chance for success of any kind, then I don’t go near it with twenty-foot pole. So, when I think about 2021, I’m filled with an outstanding sense of anxiety.

I’m afraid of it.

I’m terrified of the potential for failure.

When I think about 2020, I see nothing by failures. I took a medical leave of absence from school because of my heart conditions, which also forced me to choose a different career path. I failed at querying agents on account of being too ill. I failed at finishing my fantasy manuscript which I had been working on since 2019. I failed at the only relationship that I tried to have, recognising that I have severe issues with long-term commitment. Every corner that I turned, led me down to a dead-end of dysfunction and disappointment. When I alter the perspective, then it tells a different story.

Through my various heart illnesses, I discovered that my still being alive was a miracle and because of that the most heinous of my conditions was able to be treated, extending my life. Sure, I took a break from school and had to change course (direction), but it led me towards complex mathematics and sciences, which I never knew I felt so passionately about. By altering my path, I found my calling. My parents became sick and almost died in December, but because of that entire ordeal, we are far closer now than we have ever been. Even though my relationship ended, it’s failings helped us both recognise that forcing that sort of commitment between us during a time where we’re both unsure of ourselves would have done more harm than good to either of us in the long run. All of these things are not failings. In their own right, they’re successes.

Even so, how do we change the perception on a situation that hasn’t even happened yet? How can I look at 2021 and find the silver lining or the titbits of hope and success when the opening line of this chapter feels like a requiem of what’s to come?

My plans for the new year were rather straightforward and simple. Get straight A’s in all of my classes as I work on pursing my medical degree. Take physical therapy for my cardiovascular and respiratory system seriously. Blog every single day for at least two months straight. Start a rapport with a literary agent. Keep writing books regardless of life’s bullshite. Work harder to maintain friendships that I cherish wholeheartedly. They all seem simple enough and quite achievable. Nevertheless, the stigma of how a year begins becoming the defining factor for the rest of said year is weighing very heavily upon me.

I’m neuroatypical and resort to rational and logic brain processes to help me cope with stress. For example, I work on complicated math equations when I’m experiencing severe stresses. I get into this child-like behaviour system and mindset, and work on math problems until it feels safe for me to return to reality. It’s a by-product of my autism, intelligence, and mental health conditions all combined. This makes functionality quite difficult for me. I shut out everyone and everything—unintentionally—until I can feel comfortable outside of this metaphorical bubble. I’m so terrified that another year like 2021 shall deprecate my mental health to the point where I won’t be able to accomplish any of the things I’ve set out to do. I expect my mind to eventually unravel and fall into this child-like mode permanently, but it’s not supposed to happen for a while. The only thing that can cause its onset sooner is extreme stress and trauma, particularly from an unsafe environment. The idea of it happening before my dreams can be realised is unfathomably devastating.

This is why 2021 makes me so fucking anxious. And frightened. And so astonishingly uncertain.

I hate uncertainty almost as much as I hate failing, chums. The tides of uncertainty are almost always bleak and sombre, and the world has had more than enough hopelessness to last a lifetime. For many folx, it already lasted a lifetime. When will the clouds break and show us that golden horizon again? When can we breathe in a fresh lungful of air and unfiltered optimism? When does the anxiety and the fear stop so that ambition and promise can begin?

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4 thoughts on “Mid-Afternoon Musings: The Anxiety of Starting a New Year

  1. I think the best description of this year so far is a meme that said something like, “I tried the 7 day free trial of 2021 and I’d like to cancel my subscription.” Of course, it’d be 14 day trial now, but the sentiment remains.

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  2. Because of the insanity going on in DC I have decided that 2021 won’t REALLY start until February. 2021 will be the year we start to climb out of our rut and try to be better than we were.

    Kind of like the 60s really didn’t end until Nixon left office, 1973.

    My way of dealing with stress has always been to leave the location and walk until the stress drops. I have found that exercise is a great de-stressor. I don’t know if that is an option for you yet. Someday it will.

    Remember that you are a survivor. You have beaten things other people would have surrendered on. The miracle endures.

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    • I can do walking in small doses. My check-up was moved to February, so if that goes well, then I can start to get back into hiking, which I definitely miss dearly. I love to listen to Vivaldi and get lost in nature; it’s been far too long since I’ve been able to do that.

      I think 2021 not starting until February, or even March, is a great way of tackling the year. I may have to shift my thought processes a bit and do the same. Thank you so much!

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