I’ve been kicking ass and taking names this week.
Which makes me think of all the times that I don’t.
I created and designed (with help) this website, imported a bunch of writing to it, ordered business cards, and I have a meeting set up to discuss the possibility of facilitating a performance workshop.
I’m feeling good about my progress
But that isn’t always the case. If I don’t watch it vigilantly, my depression can feed a cycle of inertia. Especially, I think, during the winter.
There’s a delicate balance of getting enough sleep, good food, alone time, and social time necessary for me to manage my moods.
I am also a compulsive list maker. I’m a passionate and driven person. I’ve always had a more things I want to do than time or energy to accomplish them.
If my to-do list gets too long, or items stay on it for too many iterations of the list without ever getting finished, I start I start to feel stressed and anxious.
Which only serves to compound my not getting things done.
Once I’m feeling overwhelmed, it starts to feel like nothing will ever change and my options for making a difference in my own life are limited. All I can think of are the reasons I can’t do things or why even if I tried it wouldn’t matter because of course I’m just a failure and incompetent at life.
In other words, my brain lies to me.
Stress also makes me feel tired and fatigued, which makes me able to do less because I lack the mental and/or physical energy.
Which only feeds the cycle more.
Because my brain can then say, “See? You can’t even do your laundry or keep up with the dishes or clean the cat box. How will you ever manage X, Y, or Z?”
Then, the stress and guilt from not being able to do even the simplest adult tasks piles onto my other stress and makes me feel even more that I ought to just stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head forever.
I’m often unable to be reasoned with in this state. If someone tries to be helpful, I will reply with all the negativity in my head, shutting down whatever avenue they’re suggesting to make things better.
It’s like I stop being able to conceive of a world that’s different from the one I’m in. I believe my brain when it tells me I’m trapped.
But if I can somehow manage to convince myself to do even just one of the things on my perpetual (and getting longer) to-do list, I can chip away at the cycle.
At the moment I realize that I’m in the inertia cycle, I can try to find one small thing that I can actually DO, and set a concrete date to do it. Even if I don’t believe in the moment that it will actually help.
Because then I can say to my brain, “See? I did it. I did something.” And get the satisfaction of crossing it off the list.
And that gives me the energy to do another thing. And another.
Of course, the cycle can flip back the other way when this happens and I start trying to do ALL THE THINGS. I get impatient and fixated and stay up until 2AM and want everything that hasn’t gotten done for months to be done NOW.
But I’m glad to feel I have more energy at least. It’s hard when thinking about everything I want to do just feels exhausting. I don’t like to live in that place.
I prefer the place where it’s fulfilling and joyful. I’m just never sure how to stay here permanently. But I will take it when I can get it.