Friday, November 16, 2012

Anxiety and Panic Clean-up

I can't seem to get past the residue of so many years of living with a mental illness.

As I continue to work on my family history project, in particular wading through 100 years of photographs, I've become increasingly aware of how quickly my computer and external storage devices are filling up with scans of photos and documents. I decided it was time to sift through my files and organize them better as well as deleting stuff I no longer need or want.

In addition to the memory on the hard disk of my computer I also have 3 external storage devices and at least 6 flash drives. Looking through all these devices I found an incredible, poorly organized mess and a daunting number of duplicate files. These are the result of the years of anxiety and OCD tendencies I lived with. Since the change in my diagnosis to Bi-Polar disorder and accompanying change in medications the anxiety has been greatly reduced to a level where I hardly notice it.

Now I have to clean up years of backing up files and backing up backups which then also got backed up. (Electronic hoarding?) Over the years I've scanned a lot of photos; a lot of them for two PowerPoint shows - one for my parents' Golden Wedding Anniversary nine years ago and another for my mom's 80th birthday two years ago. The PowerPoint shows each had hundreds of slides (1 photo per slide) - the first one had just under 400 photos and the second had around 600 photos.

My anxiety about losing data files resulted in up to 4 or 5 duplications of these files, often in 2 or 3 different image sizes. I would scan the images at high resolutions so I had the flexibility to do whatever I wanted with them and then I would save smaller versions for specific purposes.

Now I'm finding hundreds of these photos in huge data files; mostly in a format that uses a ridiculous amount of space on the computer drives. Going through these files, eliminating duplication while insuring I keep one smaller, more workable copy of each is a task that is going to take me several days, if not more.

My biggest challenge is not giving in to the old messages that I need to make sure I have a least one backup copy of each file, and then ending up with multiple copies again.

I wonder how many GB of storage space I'll free up in this exercise.

“All living things contain a measure of madness 
that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi


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