One can’t be perfect, as hard as we try.
But I would have hoped I’d make it a week before I missed a daily essay. It was going to happen at some point; while my goal was to do write something-a-day for a year, that was going to be pretty lofty and knowing myself, completely unrealistic (though my secondary goal is 365 somethings written in a year, so I’ll have to double it up at some point to catch up).
So, the question I am asking myself is, “Why?” I know the circumstances; I’d worked a third long day in a row, and was a bit tired. But I didn’t go home and crash right away. I was at my computer, and thought that I should write something. I just didn’t
I’ve written in detail in another blog attempt about my adventures in psychiatry, so here’s a quick summary. Nearly two years ago, I finally went to see a psychiatrist, after years of thinking I should. I had been having the occasional suicidal thought for years; it was an involuntary voice that was completely irrational, and I could recognize that so it was annoying but didn’t seem like that much of a threat. But with added stress and a loss in my life, it was near constant and I didn’t trust my ability to ignore it. So, I decided to see someone.
Just seeing someone alone was enough to take a large amount of that weight off my shoulders. We worked through some issues, and I was on a few medications. The diagnosis was depression and anxiety. And through my sessions, I got more insight about my own personality, which is definitely an introvert.
I eventually realized I fell into the trap of the “double dip depression” – once the big problem was solved (suicidal thoughts), it seemed things were solved. But that was a surge in the depression, the underlying baseline was still there. I was talking in one session when we seemed to be wrapping things up, with everything honky-dory. But I mentioned one thing that was bugging me, my inability to get things done that I wanted to do; actually, having a hard time to start them. I talked about one day where I was off, all I planned to do was get a haircut, and the place I go was so close, I could see it from my window, a 4 minute walk away. But no matter how much I thought, “I need to get up and do this,” I just didn’t. Spent the whole day “vegging out”. I mentioned how it makes me upset when I’m that way, that there is a lot of things I want to do and just… don’t. No other way to put it.
My therapist put her notebook down, took off her glasses and looked me in the eye. “THAT… is the depression.” It was a moment of realization, because depression isn’t, as people seem to think of it and talk about it, feeling sad. It’s a depression of all sorts of emotions – joy and pleasure, desire and drive.
This is all mentioned because, as I said, I wonder when I don’t get something done, what was the reason. And depression certainly could have been a cause. But my introversion could be, as well.
One short-hand I’ve heard that seems to hit the nail on the head – introverts gain energy by themselves and expend it with people; extroverts expend it by themselves and gain it with people. In other words, as an introvert, my mental energy levels are spent when with a lot of people, and it takes some time by myself to recharge. I’m a manager in my job, I oversee two dozen people directly, and interact with about a hundred others in the course of a day. And as I said, I’ve had some long days lately – 14 hours surrounded by people. That is pretty draining. So, after three days, without a lot of time to recharge myself, the tank was a bit low.
Perhaps that was the reason for the lack of a drive. Because I’m finding that it not only takes a little bit of mental energy to come up with some thought, as asinine as it may be, and spilling out some words about it, but it is also a bit like being among people. I’m not actively sharing this, but it is out there, so there is an aspect like talking to someone. So, maybe depression? Maybe introversion?
Then again, what about anxiety? OK, that’s not the case here. But in terms of things in life I don’t go through with, that one certainly has appeared. That one is a bit hard to describe, but this is how I think about my experience – imagine a first time parachuting, sitting in the open door of the plane, ready to jump. You have that moment where the base animal instinct in you is telling you to pull the hell back, that you are not actually suicidal. There is a hurdle you have to get over in your mind to go through with it. Some have a much easier time to do so, the thrill seekers in life. When anxiety rears up, it means that same fear of jumping out of a plane hits me when going into a new restaurant or some other public place. I’ll pull up in front, but suddenly that feeling of “are you fucking nuts?” hits, at a level that I can’t get over, and I pull away.
Anxiety, depression, introversion…. pretty much have a lot of the bases covered in the realm of not getting things done. And I finally understand that now, after 25+ years of kicking myself for it. Though just because I know what may be causing these issues does not mean I feel I can use it as an excuse. There are a lot of things I want to do still – cookbook projects, website projects, plays and movies and short stories and so on, all in my head waiting to get out. And I need to do it.
No, knowing it might be one of the Three Horsemen of My Neurosis does not excuse the behavior. But knowing allows me a path to overcome it. Once I have a grasp as to what’s causing things, I can attack it and get going. The key is to figure out which problem is causing the problem.
One can’t be perfect, as hard as we try.