Urgency is a word I hate and love. I started loving it when I was a child and realized that doing things fast and well was giving me good results. Finishing homework the same day gave me more A’s and vacation time. I had two references after my parents got divorced. My mom used time and resources with efficiency. She accomplished both her mom and work duties; everything was running perfect. On the other hand, in the relationship with my father, I saw him as more impulsive and his results weren’t the best all the time. He was leaning to take care of himself alone and that meant many changes in work and living conditions. With this dichotomy I learned to do things fast and well by adhering to extremely detailed schedules. I wanted to have nice results.
Well, I am a good planner but it also means I don’t like when things don’t go as I was expecting them to. Procrastination is my nemesis. I just don’t understand how leaving things until the last minute can generate good results. The problem with this is that “no” was not a word in my vocabulary.
When I was 23 years old I started working at a TV company, where I was a designer until became the general producer, with the responsibility of producing 8 videos per week. I was able to produce an entire mini documentary in 3 days. That sounds pretty nice at that age but this routine became the antithesis of everything I enjoy about planning. I was constantly worrying about so many things: the opinion and trust of my boss, the quality of the projects, budgets, the time I didn’t have for my boyfriend, my last year in college, etc. The relationship with my boss became really abusive. He used to use friendship as a control tool within the team. We used to feel guilty about not helping him even though it meant working during the weekend. Ultimately, even that “friendship” made me worry. I felt guilty because I couldn't say no.
I wasn’t just worried about things, I was afraid of everything that could happen in the future. I was totally scared of failure so my mind told me that worrying 24/7 was the right thing to do because it would help me to prevent bad things from happening. The worrying was exhausting. My thoughts started from my job and went to my personal life until moments when I thought I was going to die.
At that time I had a constant and really annoying sensation in my belly like nausea before the reflux. I was afraid to go to sleep because of the horrible dreams. I thought I was over magnifying everything, and it was just my crazy mind bubbling around. I had to have everything under control. I felt crazy sometimes.
One day, the weird sensation in my body started feeling more intense. - You should chill Rodrigo - I told to myself. The next day the sensation became pain. So intense I couldn’t even stand up, lie down or sit. I had pancreatitis, a severe inflammation of the pancreas that is common in alcoholics and/or people above the age of 50. I was 23. After couple months after this event I quit my job. I was so scared to work again, I felt stupid and useless. My body shook at night while I slept, remembering my time at work and in the hospital.
I started working out and enjoying nature. I slowed my schedule down, working on my garden and walking for hours in the forest close to my house in the suburbs of Quito, Ecuador. Years later I found a quiz about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, one kind of anxiety, I filled it out thinking about that horrible time now passed and I got a score of 50, when the average was 30. I didn’t know about anxiety until that moment, but I was sure I had felt it before. I learned I was not the only one dealing with anxiety. Everything started making sense.