Sunday, March 27, 2011

Running Down the Rundown

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Nathan wrote on Tuesday about being so rundown and defeated feeling that nothing seems to matter… or was that Wednesday? Ah, who fucking cares?

But seriously folks… What did the bi-polar bear say? I’ll fuck anything that moves! Eh, I’ll just hibernate. The real question is how cold it is.

I’m really funny sometimes, and I wonder if it ever translates as well from my mind to the written word.

So Nathan was feeling a little down in the dumps, and maybe he still is. I don’t know because as I write this I’m at work rather than at our Thursday Meeting, which will probably be sometime this weekend instead. If that huge moth outside my car doesn’t break the windshield and carry me off.

What is bi-polar and manic-depressive really? As Nathan stated in his blog post, they are instances that everyone experiences at some point in their life. In our medication infatuated society, we tend to flip out a little bit when we experience the basic symptoms, and drink, take, medicine, do, dangerous, things, like, take, hard, drugs, make, rash, decisions, in, the, name, of, entitlement, or, use, too, many, commas.

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There are people who are honestly afflicted with a chemical imbalance who do need medication to function from day to day. Most of us don’t. Our minor episodes with mania or depression just need a little tempering.

If I had to guess what has happened with Nathan is that he accomplished a whole lot in our first ten-weeks of goals, and when the dust settled he just found it hard to get back at it with the same zeal.

The trouble with mania is that it feels so good when you’re in the midst of it, and then it eventually settles. Nathan said, and I quote (though not directly), “Man, ah dont wan be frontin’, but dis shit feels a bit like the depression, even tho I no it ain’t.” That’s because it’s not depression. It’s just a lower point than the mania that was driving all that accomplishment. And we do all feel this. We feel like we accomplished so much, but at the end of the day, nothing much changed. It can be a little disheartening.

I wish I had a better answer than I’m about to give, but this is really it, without getting into things like drugs, alcohol, medication, and strippers… which is really just mania that you eventually get sick of too. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Nathan say, “I’m gonna quit licking Zoloft out of strippers belly buttons, washing it down with Jack and Coke, and sniffing heroin from the wrong end of a g-string.” I pretty sure it’s between zero times and never, but I don’t know. Maybe I’ll write it into a script.

The answer is to just get out of bed every morning and try. Unless you’re clinically depressed, you probably do this every day anyway. We all get to a point where we don’t want to go to our job, but we go, because we know we have to. When it comes to personal goals, it’s a little harder to deal with. There aren’t any clear consequences if you don’t work on your goals, aside from the consequence of not achieving them. Your job equals a paycheck equals a place to live and food to eat. That’s clear. Writing a blog each day and finishing Season Two equals having a daily blog and a completed TV show. It’s not quite as clear. But just like you get up and go to the job you’re tired of (again unless you’re clinically depressed, when you need to go see a doctor) you should just work on your personal goals a bit each day anyway. Sometimes that little bit of work won’t lead to anything that makes you feel any better, but sometimes you’ll find yourself interested in what you’re doing.

Consider the following to run down the rundown:

Just Do a Little – Maybe you’re more interested in doing than you thought, and maybe you’re not. You don’t know until you try. Before you try, you’re simply presuming you’re not.

What Do You Want To Do? – Nathan’s post said that he wasn’t interested in doing anything, but surely that’s not entirely true. Sometimes your activities have to match your mood. Having a clear idea of what your goals are in every aspect of your life can help, but it can become overwhelming if you’re not careful, leading to the next item.

Pace Yourself – Step one is to set realistic goals, or partially unrealistic goals with a realistic plan to achieve the goal. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of talk about planning. The fact is that if you set a goal for the next week to do something, you have to first figure out if you can do one-seventh of the goal each day. Let’s say you want to write a short story that you approximate will be 21 pages long. Can you write three pages a day? If you normally only have time to write two pages then you either have set an unrealistic goal, or you need to adjust to make it realistic.

Balance – If you like doing all of the following: writing, reading, listening to music, friend and family time, roller skating (I think some people still do that), watching TV, house and yard work, and solving crimes that stump Scotland Yard; you have to make sure that each of these things are represented in your goal plan. You have to make sure that they are represented and balanced, or you may wake up one day sick of TV and wondering why Scotland Yard never calls you anymore.

Take a Break – You might just need a break from the struggle of keeping up. Here’s the trick though. Don’t take a break against your will. The moment you look at a project and say, “I’m not interested in doing that, I’ll go do something else,” you’ve lost that battle. Your mind, the lazy part of your mind, has said, “I don’t wanna,” like a spoiled little kid, and you gave in. Tell yourself instead, “I’m going to work on this, as I have been, for the next two days, and then I’m going to take a break from it for two days.”

You Choose – If you say to yourself that you’re not interested in doing anything, there is actually no mystery as to why you don’t feel like doing anything. You just told yourself that you don’t, and you believe yourself. Build a buffer zone between the two states. Much like deciding to take a break but on your own terms – if you are not interested in doing something, pull out a notebook. Write a list of valid reasons why you’re not interested, and examine them. Call bullshit where you can. If you still feel you don’t wish to do it, write a list of things you can do instead. Make it your choice. Make yourself accountable. If you say, “I’m not interested and I don’t know why,” all you’re doing is placing the blame on something outside of you, because you don’t know “what” is causing it. By making yourself confront “what” is causing it, you make yourself accountable for what you feel.

At the end of the day, you just don’t let yourself feel depressed or defeated. You don’t have to feel happy or empowered. You just don’t give up. If you ever have trouble with even getting out of bed and trying then you might examine the possibility of clinical depression. Otherwise, you owe yourself an honest effort each day of your life, and to take breaks from honest efforts on your terms only.

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