Sunday, April 10, 2011

Panic attack

I kept putting off writing a blog post because I never felt like I had enough time, energy or the ability to compose well-thought-out, composed blog posts. Now I realize that’s exactly what I should’ve done: taken a break from all the things I HAD to do to focus on something I LOVE to do in order to feel just a little bit more in control of my life, which lately I’ve seem to lost my grip on.

I realize that I miss my imagination and I miss being passionate about something. Too much of my time in the last little while has been spent on work-related things or things that I just had to do. And the fact that I work in news media means time is always an issue — whatever has to be done has to be done NOW. And I’m slowly buckling under the weight of this pressure of Time.

How can one person hold a full-time job (which includes staying till 7 pm some nights and on other nights — i.e. when there’s a HAK rally — working till nearly midnight), hold a part-time job (with its sporadic hours, depending on when material is available), work on a project on the side that never seems to get finished, go to twice a week yoga classes (necessary for mental sanity and peace of mind), go to once a month Book Club meetings (which involve finishing an entire book before then) plus help a friend fundraise $54,000 US for her mom who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer and lives in Armenia where the state doesn’t pay or even help pay for the expensive $3,000 per dose Herceptin the doctors have diagnosed her to take?

I am on the verge of a panic attack and I figured I should warn you ahead of time.

So if you have told me “get in touch sometime” or you offered to hang out and I kept putting it off, it’s not because I don’t want to see you or don’t want to “hang out” — it’s just that I can’t. Any moment I am away from the things I need to do causes me only further anxiety because I can’t relax in the company of friends while knowing in the back of my mind that I have work to do.

And that’s a horrible feeling.

There are so many other things to blog about — like the project I’m working on called Armenian and Azerbaijani Women’s Voices or the sadness that comes with hearing that yet another repat or expat is leaving Armenia or the numerous lawsuits against local media that have exploded in recent months — but all these take a backseat to my own stress and anxiety. How can one truly devote her time and attention to things quite deserving of these when she herself can’t breathe? It’s a conundrum.

I have to remember that it’s important to feed not only my body, but my heart and soul, which means making time for things that I love and making time for some R&R (without feeling guilty about it). Nothing original in this statement, I know, but perhaps writing publicly about it will foster a commitment from me on these goals. I also have to remember to take on less and know my limits (for example, recently I said I can’t actively participate in a newly formed Diversity group due to time constraints but that I can help whenever and wherever I can).

One step at a time. Or as we like to say here in Yerevan, կամաց, կամաց (kamats, kamats). Thank you for reading.


  1. I'd say - prioritize things in the order:
    1. Things I want to do
    2. Things I have to do to make a living
    3. Things I'm sort of forced to doing

    than crop the list - just leave things that you want to do, but which also help you make a living and get rid of the rest. you're doing way too many things, its insane!

  2. Learn to say no. Stop apologizing for and stop feeling guilty about saying no. Cut all unnecessary things from your to-do-list (necessary things don't just include things like work and other other things you cannot not do, but also things you need to do to stay sane, like yoga).

  3. Why is the repat/expat leaving Armenia?

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  5. Thanks guys! I feel better already :) The essence lies in the details: "leave things that you want to do but also helps you make a living" — sometimes it's a bit more complicated than that :)

    That being said, I take Myrthe's advice and acknowledge that it's best to keep things simple — otherwise I'm not feeling like I'm not fully involved in anything (just partially, here and there).

    @Anonymous (and I think I know who you are now :) The expat is leaving because of a divorce plus a job overseas and the repat is leaving because he is making half the amount of money he expected to make and is taking his family back to the US after a trial run living and working in Armenia.

  6. You sound very positive and happy! Even if you are busy. I think busy is good. You have a job.
    So many people don't have a job.

    Life is good.Stay busy, work hard, go on vacation and play hard, and pray hard too!
    spring weather is coming!

  7. Thanks, Anonymous! I love your positive energy :) I hope it will inspire me to think likewise!

  8. i'll try to make "hope" "sure"!!!

  9. i so much agree with what you r writing. Myrthe is right, we need to learn how to say NO, sometimes :)