The Sensational Appeal of Order and Calm

The title of this post comes directly from a piece I wrote earlier this week: The Number Stares Back. I wrote that piece quickly because the words and anxieties felt like they were bubbling over much faster than I could really handle them. Consequently, that’s not an unfamiliar feeling these days. Things just happen so quickly. And I can’t make it stop. I’m thinking about everything and ruminating over small aspects of each day. So much thinking! I CANT MAKE IT STOP!

Ordinarily, this feeling of “doing too much” doesn’t faze me. I’m notorious for “doing all the things” and doing them well. I don’t settle. So, what’s been most indicative to me that this feeling is different is the notion that I actually feel overwhelmed. Like REALLY overwhelmed. And, I don’t know what to do. And, all this is conflated with immense feelings of loneliness, feelings, perceptions and fears of being burdensome to others, and serious negativity that’s often repositioned through anxious energy as enduring positivity and enthusiasm (I’m faking it!). Paradoxically, my attempts to mitigate the accompanying feelings of any of these conflations often end up exacerbating another. How difficult?!?!

How do I explain this? It’s like, imagine that you’re running a race and each time you’re just about to approach the finish line it appears to be further way. And, since this is a race, you have on your “game face”. Nothing will stop you and you’re compelled to keep running because, after all, it is a race. Amidst this notion of racing is the adrenaline and anxiety that accompanies the “big day”. This helps you maintain your pace and endurance. Actually, in the case of endorphins, this feeling increases throughout the ordeal. The metaphor here, life as a race, isn’t a new one; we all know the saying “life’s a marathon, not a sprint” and we’ve read countless similar mantras. The idea though is that it’s applicable here too and more so because I feel like the race never ends!

So, I’m going a slightly different direction with this. I’m attempting to illustrate what it feels like to be unable to stop. I’m attempting to explain the conundrum and relative consequence of thinking so quickly, so often, so intensely and how this hectic, more appropriately chaotic, state is both tiring and illuminating. Mostly though, it’s really really really overwhelming.

If I were swimming, this might be akin to that precise moment right before you come up for air. The anticipation of a deep breath is quickly quenched by a satisfying inhale. However, if this action is repeated, for example if I were to quickly dart back under the water, then the repetition of anticipation and ascertainment may be associated with a feeling of never getting enough of what you need or incessant wanting. So, the gasp of air may be nearly enough to sustain your stroke and stamina but not to fully satisfy your desire. I’m trying to make this analogy work! I just want a full, deep, satisfying breath of air!

So yes, there’s an inexplicably sensational appeal to finding order and calm. However, my best attempts at capturing those moments of order and calm are often met by many obstacles I can’t yet overcome. And, as I relentlessly seek out this feeling of serenity I’m coming up against tall, sturdy walls of abruptness and urgency instead.


4 thoughts on “The Sensational Appeal of Order and Calm

  1. This makes sense, and resonates with me in a way that I can’t really describe. I have anxiety and OCD, and I often feel exactly how you describe. My anxiety is masked during the day under a layer of positivity, occasionally peeking out as self-criticism, lack of focus, hyperactivity, and over-analysis, and then emerges at night as the monster it is. I have trouble explaining it to people, since I normally like logic, and anxiety know no logic. I love the metaphors in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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