One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I have something of an anxious personality. Not enough to get myself to a doctor and get treatment (although that might speak more to my level of stubbornness then to my level of anxiety) but enough that I have to take steps to manage it. Mostly by a lot of mental preparation and some reward after the fact.
For example, when I start a new job, which thankfully I haven’t had to do in two years.The first morning, I am a mess. I can’t really prepare because I don’t know what will be expected of me. (Even if they explain the job during the interview, for some reason, I can’t contextualize the words.) So the only thing to do is bite the bullet, so to speak. I clench my jaw, I ignore the “what if I suck what if the job sucks what if I hate everyone what if everyone hates me” circling in my head and the pounding of my heart and the knot in my stomach as best I can, and I remind myself that going to the office and doing the job means I will get paid and that money is good, and then I go to the office. And then the same thing happens every time. Someone point at a chair and says “I’m gonna show you how to do a thing, then the thing is going to be your job”, and two years later the job is my routine and the only bad thing that could happen would be to lose the job and have to start all over again. (God please no.)
Another example: I have to go pick up a package at a place I’ve never been to before. I can’t go tomorrow, or Friday, and the place is closed during the week-end, so I have until Monday to prepare myself. I tell myself “Monday, after work, call a cab, go to the place, get the package, get another cab and go back home” and at the end of it, I get what’s in the package, which is something I want, or I wouldn’t have ordered it. So it’s still a little stressful, but less than the new job.
One more example: the publicity stunt for The Admirer that I can’t talk about, because spoilers. I’m not going to spoil anything; I’m just going to say that it involves me doing something that I really don’t like doing, something that makes me really uncomfortable. The something involves a lot of other people, which makes the whole thing unpredictable. There is hypothetically a reward at the end of this experiment – publicity for my book – but even if the hypothesis becomes a proven fact, publicity is such a nebulous concept that it doesn’t really feel like a reward. So how do I deal with that stunt? Either I do the thing I have to do every day as fast as I possibly can and then ride the wave of anxiety, or I don’t do it and feel like an unreliable punk.
The publicity stunt is the exception rather then the rule, though. The rule being If Something Makes Me This Anxious, I Don’t Do It. I’ll do it once, so I can see how I feel doing it, and if I like it, I’ll keep doing it, and if I don’t like it … well, I’ll do it until it either becomes a routine or it stops being an obligation, whichever comes first.