Recently things have been very hard at work – stressful to the point where I’ve been unable to sleep, or alternatively feel like throwing up. That much stress certainly isn’t doing my health or relationships any favors, and I genuinely look forward to a brighter future where things aren’t so heavily-laden on my back. I’m taking a full week off from the office later this month, and hopefully that will go a long way to reset things back to a more manageable normal, down from the high-intensity it’s been for the past month or more.

There’s a song that has been coming up more and more on my playlist from the band She Wants Revenge called “These Things” (warning: NSFW lyrics), and there’s a line in there that really resonates with me. It’s something I’ve expressed, in different words, repeatedly throughout my life, and I find myself doing it again now:

I’m not a bad man, I’m just overwhelmed.

Not an insignificant number of posts in this category are about me trying to define what a “good man” is, and how I measure up to those standards, or not. I’m genuinely glad mainstream attention is being paid to the plight of women and the terrible, institutionalized abuse and discrimination they face in life and social situations, and for my small part, whatever that’s worth, it means I focus more often on the opportunities I’ve had to do better, where I should have done better, or been better.

To a lesser extent this also means I look at my role in the workplace, in my social circle, in the social media spheres, with an even more critical eye than normal, and similarly find myself failing to meet what I would consider acceptable standards. Things slip, or fall by the wayside, including whole people or relationships, because my innate reaction to being stressed is to just shut down. Retreat into myself and hide, hoping the worst of it (whatever “it” happens to be) will blow past without too much collateral damage.

The above line really hit me earlier today because it got me thinking about the difference between end results and their causes. If I’m letting things slip, avoiding topics or situations, failing to live up to (my own) expectations, does it really matter why? If someone runs a red light and t-bones another vehicle, I think it would be hard to argue that the reasons why they did so, by accident or otherwise, matter at all to the injured party. While that’s a dramatic example, I think it extrapolates to everyday life and social situations fairly linearly.

I suppose the gist of all of this rambling is that I consider current failings and setbacks part and parcel with the stress and weight I carry at work – at the end of the day, whatever the cause, it’s on me to make things right, or at least to take the opportunity to try.

It’d be nice to set this weight down for a while, in order to chip away at it instead of picking it right back up when it’s time to start moving again.