Teetering on the brink of yet another burnout at the moment. There's been a lot of external stress here at Chez Nicholas (ie a serious lack of funds) and I've been pushing myself very hard to get Running With The Hunted finished, which is massively mentally draining. (And that's the tip of the iceberg).
My classic symptom of stress is getting over-tired, ie, so tired I can't sleep or step back to see that I need to slow down. Chronic multi-tasking morphs into a soul-sucking sense of being overwhelmed, anxiety follows quickly, then horrific self doubt, and as I creep towards depression I grind to a halt and cannot face something as simple as a trip to the supermarket.
I'm not in that state at the moment. I'm in the over-tired stage, and I know it. I also know I can fix it with sleep. Classic over-tiredness means either not sleeping at all, or waking at 2am and not sleeping the rest of the night. To get back on track I take knock-out drugs for a few nights, get the sleep patterns sorted out and work from there.
Simple. Well yes, because its been a reoccurring cycle my entire life, and I have a wonderful wise woman who has over four years of listening, has taught me how to recognise the symptoms and deal with them, before I get catatonic.
But the thing is, I was thinking it over the other day and I realised that... well... this is it. Life stress (for want of a simple term) is not going anywhere. Being a writer is not going to get easier (in fact its probably going to get a lot harder), being a mum, a wife, an 'insert activity here' is not going to simpler/cheaper. If I'm lucky then the worst that'll happen is that it'll get different - still with its own stresses, but different. No matter what the future holds, I'm not going to wake up one day and it'll all be sorted out.
I think I was sort-of waiting for that day.
I'm not one go to around chasing after 'being happy' - grasping at happiness is never going to work. But its time, as I head towards my 40th birthday, to think about how I'm going to move into my Fabulous Forties.
Being in a cycle of over-tiredness and drugging myself to sleep is not on the list.