A short list of things I do when I am not feeling (emotionally) well:
- Force myself to smile.
- Post whiny tweets and then delete them after three hours.
- Spend lots of time walking outside even when the temperature is below -20 degrees and my feet and fingers feel like icicles.
- Eat poorly. Mostly, Doritos and ice cream sandwiches. Hate myself for being a gluttonous slob.
- Push away people who reach out to see if I am okay.
- Tell everyone I am okay. Get angry at myself for lying. Get even angrier at myself for being so unconvincing that everyone knows I am lying.
- Cry. Get furious at myself for being the kind of person that cries in public. Cry some more because I am so furious at myself.
- Check the websites and online profiles of the people (person, really) who will make me feel bad about myself; immediately get mad at myself for going to those sites and feeling bad.
- Cancel all the fun stuff I have scheduled for the next few weeks even though I’ll undoubtedly be feeling better in a few days.
- Write. Write so much that my hand hurts and my pen runs out of ink (twice) and I’ve filled up a notebook and every other scrap of paper around me.
- Rip up and throw away everything I’ve written and then get mad at myself for throwing it all away. Again.
- Try to fall asleep and tell myself it will all be better in the morning.
I didn’t go to work today. I stayed home and took care of myself. I did not sleep away the day, or do nothing but watch movies or television; instead, I wrote letters, emails, stories. I built structures with my “zen” blocks, tore them down, and then built new ones. I listened to Dan Carlin tell me about Rasputin and Woodrow Wilson and the end of the First World War. I found a fun recipe, bought groceries, and made a delicious dinner. I shoveled the lane in front of our house and then did fifty consecutive pushups; I tried to do sit-ups after that, but failed after fewer than a dozen. I read a few articles, read two chapters of a book, and now am getting ready to go to sleep.
It wasn’t a productive day — I have an incredible amount of work to get done and taking a day off was a horrible idea when it comes to my professional to-do list — but it was a stimulating, invigorating one. I have been struggling, recently. There is too much to do, and I am not accomplishing what I had set out to get done. Parts of life and work are falling through the cracks, and I am overwhelmed, frustrated, almost-defeated. I am finding it hard to take the time to breathe, no matter how hard I try.
I needed a day off to myself, a “mental health” day of sorts. On this day off, I kept myself stimulated, active, engaged; I did not allow myself to wallow, and for that, I feel better, already. I will return to work tomorrow and undoubtedly struggle through the day, but at least, for now, I am breathing, I am thinking clearly, and I know that whatever is bringing me down, this too shall pass.