PANIC – introducing my close friends Must and Should

It starts innocently enough. A thought pops into my head as a clean my teeth. “Oooh, I must make those dental check up appointments!”

This thought occurs to me every time I brush my teeth, but unfortunately my dental hygiene regime does not coincide with the dentist’s opening hours, so we are now two months behind. So this morning I decide to act on my thoughts, and set myself a reminder on my Blackberry. And so it begins…

I open the calendar and see all the other things that need doing tomorrow. I feel my pulse quicken ever so slightly. I hastily exit the calendar, and see I have had one text messages and 27 emails overnight. How has this happened? My pulse quickens a fraction more and I feel a funny tingling in my shoulders. I stretch them back, trying to nip the panic in the bud, but it spreads up the back of my neck and I feel my brain start to buzz.

I read the text message, but before I can reply my overactive brain has switched to the emails. Most of them aren’t important. I don’t think so anyway, but maybe I should check just in case, just in case today is the day I miss something crucial.

Lots of them are work related. It’s Sunday, but I know if I don’t look at them now it just means more to do on Monday, so I really should read and reply to some of them. My shoulders are creeping up towards my ears now. I’m replying to emails, when really I should be relaxing and reading the paper I bought yesterday. Why can’t I even manage to read a paper on the right day?

I wish I’d never cleaned my teeth. Maybe if I had just stayed in bed with the duvet up over my head I could have kept my mind blissfully blank.

The emails begin a torrent of other intrusive thoughts. I feel like a tower of glasses where you pour champagne in at the top and before you know it you have a waterfall of disconnected plans and tasks and Jobs That Must Be Done. And of course you never end up doing any of them, because you don’t know where to start, and if you tug too hard on the wrong bit the whole lot will come crashing down. And then where will you be? Just sat in a soggy pile of broken thoughts, dreams and to do lists.

I am standing in the middle of my bedroom, Blackberry in hand, eyes darting, fingers twitching. I begin to reply to the text message, but am distracted by the dirty clothes all over the floor. I must get some washing on, or we won’t have clean school uniforms tomorrow. Oh God, I should go to Sainsbury’s today too, or Belle will end up with one of the eccentric lunches I make when I have forgotten to buy real food – left over naan bread, some old ritz crackers, a pot of past-their-best raisins as a nod to her five a day.

I put on some washing, but standing in the kitchen I see dishes that need doing and a floor that needs sweeping. There are crumbs everywhere. I feel hungry. Maybe I should make breakfast. Where even are my children? I really must find them, unplug them, and spend some quality time with them. As soon as I’ve washed up. I stand at the sink and look out into the garden at pots of dead plants. I really should clear that up. But first I must write a blog post. And I must start researching the features I have waiting for me. If I don’t go on twitter I’m bound to miss out on something.

The red light flashes on my phone. I think I’ll just go back to bed.



  1. 28 March, 2010 / 1:42 pm

    LMAO! Sounds like you have the same syndrome as me. Or maybe just ADD like me.

    • 28 March, 2010 / 1:44 pm

      Ooh I did do an online test once that told me I had Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Ex’s have just called me fickle :-)

  2. Suzi
    28 March, 2010 / 2:44 pm

    awww hun! That is my life right now too! Am constantly fighting a battle with sensory overload. Which reminds me that I have been meaning to see if I can find a book to help. Maybe I *should* go and do a search for that right now. ;-)

    • 28 March, 2010 / 8:58 pm

      I have LOADS of books like that – on getting things done, making lists, procrastination – just never get round to reading more than the first three pages :-)

  3. 28 March, 2010 / 3:08 pm

    Me too. Until today. My BlackBerry is on the blink – new chip in the post. My shiny new netbook not connected – dongle in the post. It’s very, very strange. I’m hoping being ‘off the grid’ might be good for me, like giving up chocolate.

    • 28 March, 2010 / 8:59 pm

      I’m a little suspicious of exactly how ‘off-grid’ you can be if you are leaving comments on blogs? ;-)

  4. 29 March, 2010 / 8:43 am

    Sometimes my hubby hides my iPhone, but my daughters always find it for me!

    • 29 March, 2010 / 8:32 pm

      That’s what I need – a husband to keep me in check :-)

  5. 29 March, 2010 / 12:54 pm

    You sound a bit like me. I wake up in the night and start panicing about everything that needs to be done. It can start, like you, with a small thing and then just escalate. I have to write it down in a notebook by my bed. At the moment I am writing a post about procrastination but am putting it off by being on twitter and reading blogs!

    • 29 March, 2010 / 8:32 pm

      Ha ha! I have lots of books about procrastination that I haven’t got round to reading yet…

  6. 29 March, 2010 / 1:37 pm

    I’m looking round my house and realising I shouldn’t be here due to all the cleaning that needs to be done! Again.

    Love the photos on your previous post btw. Absolutely gorgeous.

    CJ xx

    • 29 March, 2010 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you! I think they are gorgeous girls, but then I am probably slightly biased xx

  7. Gem
    29 March, 2010 / 3:22 pm

    A friend writes a to do list, in order of importance, then rips the list in half and chucks the bottom half away. Keep going ’til the list is managable. Once you’ve done that bit, start over. Anything you don’t remember or get to clearly isn’t that important.

    • 29 March, 2010 / 8:34 pm

      Ooh yes, I’ve heard that before. I reckon I might end up writing lots of things on the list I knew didn’t need doing, just so I’d feel ok about tearing half of it off!

  8. 29 March, 2010 / 8:46 pm

    Sometimes I find myself standing in my kitchen fifteen thoughts ahead of what I originally planned to do and none of them done. When I realise that, the only solution is to sit down with a cup of tea :)

    • 31 March, 2010 / 3:18 pm

      I find sitting down with a cup of tea is the solution to so many things :-)

  9. 1 April, 2010 / 4:24 pm

    Oh, I know what you mean! I have a very good friend (who has spent a small fortune on therapy) and she said that her psychologist told her to eliminate the word ‘should’ from her vocabulary. She advised me to do the same. I know I should. But I just can’t.

    • 1 April, 2010 / 8:05 pm

      Lol – I know what you mean – I really must stop putting all this pressure on myself. I must, I must…

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