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It was my birthday. I was turning 28 and should be ecstatic. Instead, I found myself hollow, empty and frazzled. High-functioning anxiety had taken over my life, and though I was outwardly functioning, I was inwardly drowning.

I’d been up since 5. Taking Tirosint every other day for an underactive thyroid will do that to you. I’d ran the day before. Something I hadn’t done in months, but felt the energy to. I was now regretting my decision. Paying the overextended hours and taking my losses.  

Rolling off the bed and onto the floor, I shut off the alarm, but in my mind, things were still buzzing. Task lists racing like horses for my gambles. Which I would do first. Which I would bet not to. But instead of soaking in the day one breath at a time, I rushed it. I checked items off my list as fast as I could. Productivity and multitasking have always been my top skills.

Before work, I finished a test to become certified in Barre and Pilates. Something my husband had encouraged me to do in case I want to be active and bring in some side income when I transition to writing full-time. I had already watched 4 hours of training the day before, and 8 hours the day before that.

I then proceeded to respond to half a dozen messages, audio texts, marco polo videos, and phone calls that populated overnight. All before my “work day” began at 7:30 a.m. I had even responded to emails, made copies at work, and scarfed down half of my breakfast.

That day teaching High School English was rough. I’d exhausted myself before my true work began, but I was determined to give it my all. After working with 160 students 1-1 for persuasive essays, The Glass Castle worksheets, and having a student mouth off to me, I was defeated. My drive home was foggy, and so were my conversations that evening. I somehow even managed to work out before a Birthday massage (that had already been rescheduled twice before that evening).

Laying on the warm towels beneath me, my heart raced. I prayed. I tried to relax. I tried to enjoy the massage. And I did. But I also struggled. I realized my “special day,” was over, and I’d spent it as a slave. To productivity, chores, tasks, and things that didn’t matter. I wished I’d spent it differently. Slowing down. Focusing on what really matters. I’d wish I’d overcome the cost of productivity. Being addicted to being busy. Maybe you’ve spent too many days like this, too?