I’m on a plane. They’ve just served lunch and I realise I’m stuck. There isn’t enough room to slip out for a bathroom break without tipping my meal and the trolley blocks the aisle.
I cough and notice I’m tense, what’s going on? I enjoy flying, why should today be any different? Is it that I might be sick? Maybe it’s shovelling clothes off of the dining table into an open suitcase and rushing for a taxi at 6am? Or responding to a client at 11pm then playing Rimworld till 2am knowing I’d be up at 5? Maybe it’s Mr Robot? Anyone who’s seen that show knows it isn’t exactly happy.
I open my watch up and try the new breathe app. I’ve installed watch apps before but never found much use from them, but this came with the update from Apple this morning so I’ll give it a go. It holds me steady but I’m still tense.
I put on some music and try to eat some food. Maybe that’s the problem? I get anxious sometimes about food, it can get me in trouble. During speaker submissions for WordCamp Europe Sophia I wrote a mini rant about sandwiches and labeling. Siobhan thought it was funny, but I should know better. It was that year I saw a talk on depression.
I’ve seen several people speak about it, but right now I’m anxious, and I’m typing. After WCEU 2016 I promised Topher I’d write an article for him, and I’ve been occupied. The last month or so, I’ve been working and not taking care of myself. I’m not sure if I’m actually sick or if this is burn out. I’ve noticed aches in my hands, it worries me.
I think about what writing this will do. My WP Tavern article ranks higher than me on Facebook search.
There’s nothing like an article on anxiety popping up when a date searches your name. I don’t want to be known as the mental health guy.
But a promise is a promise. When I last did this people were supportive. They said nice things, they talked about their own feelings and gave talks. Nobody sent their pity.
The food tray’s gone now, I’m not sure how I feel but I know there’s 2 Automatticians in front of me and 2 to the side. We land in Vancouver in 6 hours for the grand meet up, and I know I’ll get a big hug from several people. They’re genuine nice people, and I’ve come to realise the WordPress community doesn’t tolerate bad actors. We share what we think is important, what people need to hear.
I’ve got one more episode of Mr Robot, I’ll think about those I see at WordCamps and close this app. It isn’t long before I can talk in person.
I’m home! Despite a total lack of scrambled eggs on toast in not one, not two, but three major international airports, I’ve finally returned home. My friends dragged me jet lagged to a play entitled “The pacifists answer to the war on cancer” where a jolly sequinned cancer cell sings a song moments after a woman screams in agony. I got to sing happy birthday to my family with a room of Automatticians, climb a mountain, it was fun!
I think about what I’ve written, and wish I’d been more positive.
Life can be scary but I’m surrounded by people who want to help.
Sometimes that’s family, or friends, but user groups and events help too. These people have the same problems and worries I do, and deal with them in many ways.
Importantly, they’re willing to talk about their problems in front of hundreds of people, and share their solutions. I feel it’s something that isn’t mentioned often enough. Burnout and stress is rampant in our industry, and I’m glad people are stepping up to the challenge.
I’m a lead organiser for a WordCamp Manchester now. That means I can’t speak at my own conference, but I’m hoping to get a good talk or two. Maybe things aren’t so terrible? Maybe next time I’ll get a window seat.