I’m one of those people who does well when my routine is intact, and things are structured and in place. On second though, let’s not go with the term “well”, but perhaps “better” is a more properly suited term. Anyways, when life throws curve balls at me and things change unexpectedly, it can throw me into an anxiety filled feeling of worry and distress.

I used to be a fly by the seat of my pants kinda guy, back in the day. Nothing really phased me, I would pretty much be like, “whatever, I’ll deal with it and move on”. My life was a whirlwind and always moving at 100 mph in every direction possible. As I’ve gotten older and especially in the last few years, structure and routine are my friends. They are my peace makers, my emotional soul mate feelings if that makes any sense.

I  have routines that I follow, whether it’s the way I get out of bed and get ready for work in the morning, or how I go about certain tasks at work each day. How and when I do laundry, how I schedule my weekly therapy sessions, what music I listen too in the morning, etc. You probably get the idea that the more structure and routine, the better.

Speaking of therapy, that’s a big routine, when that one gets out of whack, man look out! If my therapist has to cancel on me at the last-minute (which thankfully isn’t often), that instantly sends me into a tail spin and I’m completely done for the rest of the evening. Therapy is a lifeline for me in so many ways, and I thrive on that interaction with her each week. For the last few months it’s been twice a week, Wednesday’s and also Friday evenings.

I’ve gone to length’s that when she is going to be out-of-town or at a meeting, I will schedule my 2nd session on another day, or even take a half vacation day at work just to get in and see her.

Same situation when I have plans to hang out with friends, or plans to do pretty much anything. If they get altered at the last-minute, I’m done.

Case in point, and I may have shared this before in an older post. I had plans to hang out with my best friend. We were going to our favorite hangout to get something to eat and hang out. She had to cancel because she was sick (which eventually turned into pneumonia). This happened right before a therapy session, which instantly turned into a total feeling of overwhelming anxiety. So I ended up spending the entire session talking about why I shouldn’t read into her cancelling because she’s sick. It wasn’t her fault and she rarely cancels. My brain though was having none of that kind of positive or rational thinking!  There’s that rational mind/wise mind thing again, God I hate that!

Life is unpredictable, it’s just par for the course. So having this type of distress hit when things don’t go as planned

Structure and Routine - image courtesy of 101FundRaising.org

is tough to handle often times. To be completely honest, I really struggle with it when it involves me personally.

I need structure too, things have to be in order. My house is generally clean and organized (although not spotless). I can’t stand clutter, it drives me nuts. This blog, the way it’s laid out is very precise and the posts on the main page are all organized into boxes.

When my life feels like it’s out of control, I have to figure out a way to reign it back in. I’ll do anything to find some type of structure to build on. I have to figure out a way to control it.   Another example, if my son is struggling in school, which he does in some subjects, I have to help him more than I probably should. I will contact teachers to schedule makeup assignments and quizzes for him.  I know he needs to learn to do this on his own, but until he “gets it” I have to step in. Part of that is just being a responsible parent in my opinion, and the rest is my need to bring order back to the situation and have a plan in place.

I could go into countless other examples at my job, my home, with my friends, but I’m hoping you get the picture.  When any of these situations breaks down and I can’t have my routine the way I need and expect it to be and the structure of my life gets out of balance, the anxiety goes through the roof.

When that happens, the depression kicks into overdrive and you won’t find me anywhere but on my couch vegging out in front of the TV, reading, or napping, until it passes. After I process it, I can regain perspective and can work the problem or just let it go. It’s only a matter of time until it happens again though.