I am doing much better now. Energy is rising as the sea rises at the sight of the moon. It is still volatile, plunges down at esoteric astrophysical events, but is in a better place overall. It also comes with the full knowledge of not being at its best. This in-between is a tough space, you are well enough to do some things but a full-fledged normal life will strip you of the progress you made till now. Then you start at the bottom again.

It was in this phase that I did something I am quite proud of. I got a project offer. As is true for all consultation work, the proposal promised big money and a short duration. So I made a mental calculation: If I have to work for x hours for 100 money, with a generous margin on both, realistically, I will make 100 money for 2x hours, which is still good. It will strip me of the progress I made on energy; it will take me roughly 2 weeks to gain that back, but I would have made money that will give me some stability and peace of mind.

Pros: economic stability, short-ish duration
Cons: Redoing 2 weeks of mental work, not very exciting work

It would do more good and only reversible damage. That would do. As is true for all consultation work, the actual money offered was much less than in the proposal.

So I made new calculations: I work for x hours for 30 money, and energy recovery remains the same. The money isn’t much but is definitely more than I would make sitting on my ass. Now here is a wormhole that I am used to falling into. Right here I start calling the consequence of my sickness laziness. I tell myself that anxiety is making me not want to work and that this is the first step in losing to it and becoming redundant to the world. So while it didn’t make sense to make this work, I risked living with the shame of “you don’t push yourself enough” sung in a singsong chorus by my parents, my nani, and even people who are sane but were raised like me, all accompanied by violins.

But this time, I spoke back to these, farfetched but valid thoughts and assured them that I like my work and I will continue to do it. I added to the singing squad my therapist’s voice “this is real physiological symptoms you are dealing with”, a body works better when rested than if kept pushing, which wears the engine out. I reminded them what pushing had done to my body earlier. I also showed them the unbalanced mathematical equation of energy, progress, and economic stability.

My therapist who is better with words than I said it is important to be able to understand the monetary value of energy, stability, and joy. It helps make them an integral part of the weighing process that leads to life decisions. I had finally been able to see my anxiety as different from my body. I did something kind for my body while not shaming my mind. I listened.

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