You can tell I'm stressed because I lost about two days last week to depression after a full blown anxiety episode - the details of which I'm not going into because frankly, they'd probably be triggering.
You can tell I'm stressed because I woke up at 4.30 on Sunday morning in pain because eczema had flared up on my feet.
You can tell I'm stressed because of the large amounts of time I've spent playing flash games/solitaire just so my brain can have the white noise.
You can tell because my mindfulness has taken a huge hit. Socially, I've reverted to speaking before I think, snapping at people and allowing ill will to build up without passing through.
It shouldn't really surprise anyone that I'm stressed; I'm in the process not just of moving flat after living in the same place for five years, but moving country and lifestyle; of uprooting muyself completely and planting it in another country. I'm sorting out:
- Money - I have it, but the amount of it I'm going to have to spend is scaring me shitless. Farewell, ever owning my own home. I'm seeing someone on Thursday about setting up a bank account in dollars.
- Accommodation - I shall probably be living with rushin_doll in Brooklyn, which has me very excited indeed. You know, unless suddenly I acquire a relative in New York who can let me live with them for free (someone I've been speaking to keeps bringing this up like everyone has a relative in New York who'll let them live with them for free. Someone's been watching too much Friends.
- Classes - sorted. It's a 36 credit degree, and I need to do 9 credits each for the fall and spring semester. In September I shall be going straight into my fieldwork in a school, a seminar series and a Museum studies intro course.
- Registration - the registration fee has to be paid in dollars by cheque. I never realsied how much of a nightmare it was, dealing in foriegn currency. It's getting so that I'm worried I'll miss deadline by the time my banker's draft is delivered.
- Health - College helpfully provides health insurance. I also need to dig out my vaccination dates to send off to them.
- Visa - This is like pulling teeth and the cause of my mini breakdown last week. The paperwork requirements are quite ridiculous (guess what? UK banks don't produce statements in dollars because money doesn't work like that. It's not just a matter of different measurements like inches and centimetres, here. Also, UK banks that charge £5 and take a week just to get a statement on actual paper can bite me) and that's just to satisfy college requirements and get an application for a visa. It was easier to go to China.
- Stuff - I have a lot of it, and I can't take anywhere near all of it, so I'm getting rid of all the Camden-bought mass produced goth gear I haven't worn since I was an undergraduate, clearing out models and toys I've accumulated, and boxing up old books and comics to go to charity/bookcrossing/second hand comic shop. If you want any of my stuff, speak now or forever hold your peace. (Except my gemstone globe. You can prize that out of my cold, dead fingers.
Oh, and on top of all that, I have about two months to complete and write up and submit my PhD thesis. And yes, I'm behind even that schedule, and yes, I'm bricking myself there. Oh well.
I've been interested in the way the breakdown of my Buddhist practice has been tied to my recent rise in stress, just at the time when you'd think I might need it most. I've barely been meditating, I've been less mindful than normal about my speech, and ecven my loving kindness practice has taken a hit. I keep thinkign back to this story
that Bing linked me to the other day, and the basic teahcing within it:
Mind is a mirror.
Defilement is the dust on the mirror.
It's not the best metpahor for what I'm trying to say right now, but it'll do. I'm so busy and so stressed, that I've been neglecting to keep my mirror clean. The dirt on the mirror then hinders my mindfulness and my Practice, and that causes more dust to accummulate. Like my bedroom, which has been an absolute tip in this very stressful spring I'm just coming out of, my mind is dirty and cluttered and I haven't spared the time to clean it.
I'm getting better now.