Episode 33: A Wishy Washy Pause

Welcome back to the podcast! Thanks for joining me. I’m your host, Christopher Gajewski.

Let’s unmask mental illness!

Well, I missed the scheduled Episode 33. Which is telling me something. I know I was saying in the last episode that I wanted and needed to continue to do the podcast, and I do want to, but it’s time to pause for a while.

I know, I know: I was just saying…

But, as a friend mentioned, sometimes you need to unplug from things to concentrate on other things. This is something that I really enjoy, but I need to unplug for a while to plug back into life, a healthy life. Getting off this damn rollercoaster is proving to be more difficult than I thought.

Before getting into this final episode for a while, the important stuff: I just want to remind everybody that I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or any kind of professional with an –ist at the end of their title. I am just a guy who has been there.

If you are in crisis, or know somebody who is, I implore you to reach out to a professional. In the United States, there is now a national hotline you can call or text. 988.

I’ll repeat that because it bears repeating. If you or someone you know is in crisis, I implore you to reach out to a professional. Dialing or texting 988 in the US will put you in touch with a crisis counselor instantly.

Now, let’s get into the episode.

I really am doing okay. I am also not doing okay. It is hard to explain but I am going to give it a shot.

Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I am feeling great. I am feeling better than I probably ever have. I feel good about moving back here, starting up a new kind of orthodontic lab, and the wealth of joy I get from spending time with my nephew is enormous.

As I just wrote a friend, and spoke about in the past few podcasts, I had to take some steps back. I was expecting it. As positive as I am feeling about my new business venture, I knew I was facing a Herculean task. I was up for it. I wanted the challenge.

Everybody says that startups do not make money in the first year, maybe even the first two. I knew I could do it in six months. Maybe even four. Had to do it in four to six months. To get there, I’d need to dive into “workaholism,” as a therapist put it–love that word. I dove in, played in the waves, got swept out by the undertow, and laughed the entire time.

I’m back on the beach now, staring at the roller coaster.

Beach to a roller coaster? Like I said, I am going to try and explain this.

I am not doing okay because of the overpowering shadow of that roller coaster, the pull to jump back on. I want to jump back on, need to. It is the easy and comfortable, and the path to it is the path of least resistance. I know if I just allow myself, I’ll be swept up on to it, enjoying every second of the movement. I’ll enjoy riding it again.

Until I don’t.

The roller coaster was my life up until a few years back. You should be able to talk to anybody in a 12-step program and they’ll be able to explain the roller coaster to you. I’ve spoken about it before.

Any kind of addict, from booze to drugs to workaholism, knows the roller coaster well. Even if they kick the habit, they tend to still live the life of an addict. For people with an addiction to booze, it’s called being a dry drunk. For me, it’s called being Christopher Gajewski.

Somewhere along the way, many, many years ago, I got my wires crossed. The workaholism, escapism, co-dependency and all manner of unhealthy coping mechanisms became ingrained into my life and my daily routines. So, though I think that I have kicked the habits, I am still acting like I haven’t.

Case in point: my gym membership. I got one. I’m paying for it. But I haven’t used it a single time yet. I just don’t have time–or at least that is what I tell myself.

I’m pretty sure I am standing in the shadow of the roller coaster now, and not actually on it. My daily habits have improved, I take “me” time, I’m building better boundaries…

But I know I need to do better, need to do more, to put the roller coaster firmly behind me and get out from underneath its shadow. I need to take the path of greater resistance away from it. That takes time and effort. It takes time commitments to healthier things like the gym and yoga. I need to search out and find healthier social activities.

It’s not enough to avoid the unhealthy activities. I need to be actively pursuing the healthier ones.

This podcast is a healthy activity for me, but it is also time consuming. I feel a pull towards it that it is something I MUST be doing. With my limited time now, even backing away from the workaholism to a certain degree, I feel it pulling me away from the things I should be doing to gain more self-actualization.

How did I do about explaining it?

So, I think it is best if I unplug for a while. A month, maybe two, maybe three. I need to put this firmly on a back burner, fully unplug, so I can pursue other things that will make this a healthier pursuit.

Does that make any sense?

I suck at time management. I always have. Because of it, and everything else, even when I do have free time, I get stuck. I look and think through my “to do” list and end up not doing anything. Or I get pulled towards something that does not have to be done immediately to avoid doing something that should have been done a long time ago.

So, what will I be up to? When will the podcast be back?

The second question is easier to answer. The podcast will be back when it is time to start doing it again. It will be back after I move away from the shadow of that roller coaster and can commit the time and resources to do it right.

What will I be up to? That’s my to-do list.

First, I am finishing my book. It’s been on the back burner for too long. I spent the day on it yesterday and am now ready to get it published. Self-publishing can be a pain the ass, so I’ll have to work through it.

I screwed up the first time I published it. I just got it done, without doing it right. This time, I need to put in the time and effort to do it right, exercise patience to really go over the first copy, and then I need to market and sell it right.

I want to do an expanded copy of this book and do that right this time.

Then, I need to make audio versions of both of the books, something that I really want to do that will take a major time commitment.

I want to practice what I have been preaching and get into the foundational stuff I talked about in this podcast, in the mental health triangle. The self-care. Did I mention I need to start going to the gym and yoga class?

I want to catch a couple Phillies games.

I need to go for a long drive to Austin before work makes it impossible.

I have all of the pieces in place. Now, I need to start putting them together.

The demons aren’t even outside of my apartment anymore. They got bored and wandered off. Maybe there is one or two still hanging around for the right opportunity. But I’m just sitting in my apartment that I feel safe in, on the floor, with all of the puzzle pieces spread out before me.

How do they fit together?

Some pieces of the puzzle are still a mystery to me. They are there, but are they a part of the old puzzle or the new one?

I have some clicking and figuring to do.

When I get the puzzle finished and framed, and can comfortably fit this podcast back into it, I will.

Until then, be kind to each other. More importantly, be kind to yourself. Be merciful to yourself.


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