I have this disease Mr. Flinger calls “Herding Buffalo.” It usually occurs when life is in complete chaos and there is little time for anything. It usually happens when an idea enters my busy brain and suddenly it can’t get out. The single idea turns in to fifty things that need to be done RIGHT! NOW! and suddenly there is the sound of herding buffalo in my head.
Right now, I have Herding Buffalo.
I last got Herding Buffalo when we were moving to Seattle. It came up often during the moving process, since moving is a bit stressful, especially moving states and jobs. Instead of writing a list of simple things such as “Sell House. Get rid of Crap. Buy House. Get moving truck. Move.” I started getting dizzy with details. Once the “sell house” entered my head, I was crazy with lists of things we had been meaning to do for two years. “Fix stairs in backyard to playhouse” “get rid of dog pot-holes” “plant flowers” “re-landscape!” “Add on second story!” “Have roof replaced!!”
Each item gets louder and bigger. Each item grows from necessity to complete obscenity. Each time there is another buffalo and suddenly I’m crying under the kitchen sink because OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH WE HAVE TO DO. Mr. Flinger would look at me and say, “I have “sell house” on my list. That’s. It.”
Sometimes I wish I was a simple man.
I make todo lists. This is not a huge shocker since I’m anal and bit compulsive. I like a clean house. I like bills paid on time. I like things neat and done and marked off the list. The first item on my list? “MAKE TO DO LIST”. It’s instant gratification. As soon as I’ve done my list, I have something to mark off.
Right now my list is longer than Santa’s. “Grade things, Do dishes, Respond to email…” it’s dull and long and makes my brain spiral in to, “Paint kitchen” “Re-sand diaper changing table” “Add shelves to hallway!” “GET NEW CAR!” It spirals out of control until I have “MOVE FROM TINY TOWNHOUSE” in big bold letters underlined at the bottom.
Like that’s going to happen.
I’m working on priorities. I’m working on those items that actually have a deadline versus those items that pop up simply because I’m flustered. I’m working on breathing while accomplishing a task or two and knowing that my todo list might not get finished each day but it’s an ongoing project.
And most of all, I’m trying to not be angry at myself when I hear the Herding Buffalo. Instead, I’m trying to let them run, roam a bit, and realize that I really can wrangle them back in. I just stay out of their way for now. I know they don’t last forever.
Clearly we are related. I’m most likely to get this way when we move or when I’m pregnant. The worst was when we moved when I was pregnant.
By Swistle on 2007 03 22
I often feel that way too, but have never thought of a name for it. I think it is partly a stall tactic for me—I get so caught up in the list of things to be done that I never actually do anything. Eventually that passes and I get done what really needs to be done at the time. But the list stays in my head.
By nicole on 2007 03 22
I sort of have the same issue. I get so bogged down in the list making that I become completely unable to do anything at all. The more I think about how much there is to do, the more I become obverwhelmed and just want to shut down.
I try to take short breaks when that happens, but sometimes that just leads to perma-breaks and no work of any kind. I haven’t really figured out yet what the answer is, what the balance should be…
I certainly hope pregnancy doesn’t make it worse or I will be an absolute wreck.
By Heather on 2007 03 22
Heather? Pregnancy makes it worse. Sorry, hon.
And Nicole, that’s it exactly. I know I’ll be able to focus and just get done what actually NEEDS to be done, but dayam, that list sure starts to get a bit out of control. It’s almost laughable. Almost.
And swistle, yes! I moved WHEN I WAS PREGNANT. I’m still recovering and that was five months ago.
By Mrs. Flinger on 2007 03 22
Yeah, I know how that goes….especially when it feels like those buffalos are getting out of control and running all over the place. Sorry to tell you but…only now, 2 months after J’s birth, are things calming down and I can control those “buffalos” again. Helps that I now have the ENERGy to deal with them! LOL
By Anne on 2007 03 22
Take a deep breath! You are doing Great!
By Kerry on 2007 03 22
I really like your blog.
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By Esperance on 2007 03 22
I too spin out of control in situations like these. When we moved here, I just remember standing there like a deer caught in the headlights, clutching my 8mo and wishing it would all go away. I still feel that way at times, but now there are two crazy kids screaming around me in circles and all I can think is, “....”
Yep. Big blank head.
Someday, I tell myself, someday I’ll be smart again.
But not today.
By Elaine on 2007 03 22
WOW! I so have this too. I never knew there was a name for it but that’s perfect. I try to control my things to do with lists. Then I spend so much time organisisng lists that they get out of control too. This morning I have spend almost 2 hours listing what I am going to do on the weekend. Perhaps I should put RELAX at the top of the list!
By theotherbear on 2007 03 22
Aaaah. Herding Buffalo, now I know what to call it, when it happens to me!
By sarahgrace on 2007 03 22
Inhale… exhale… inhale… exhale…
I see a lot of people trolling for links lately—what’s with that?
By Marie on 2007 03 23
Well thank goodness this affliction has a name! I’ve been suffering from this serious condition for most of my adult life, and it often spirals out control making everyone absolutely miserable. It’s just awful. Simply awful
By Melissa R. Garrett on 2007 03 23
Hey, I have that disease too! Although I can say the meds are helping. I like to put things on my To-Do list even after I have done them *just* so I can check them off.
(found you through Mothergoosemouse!)
By aimee / greeblemonkey on 2007 03 23
OHMYGOSH! I totally put make list so i can mark it off. I looooooooooooooooooooove marking things off. Welcome to the 12 step program for anal ocd’s!
By Mrs. M on 2007 03 23