For a long time this year, I wasn’t writing or updating this blog very much. I’ll admit part of that was by choice (at least for the blog since I felt like I didn’t have anything to say) and part of that was because I just couldn’t make myself string the words together unless I was super moved by an idea. I was pretty busy most days and that meant I didn’t have much energy for working on my books, much less my blog. A lot of my time was filled with trying to manage my depression and a related self project: trying to avoid making myself depressed or anxious for no reason at all.
Honestly, that was probably the most successful “project” I worked on up until National Novel Writing Month and this daily update thing. It worked pretty well for the most part and only didn’t work when I had fairly legitimate reasons to feel depressed or anxious about something. During those times, my pinpoint focus on not making things worse for myself helped me avoid spiraling into a fugue or going back to my bad habits of closing off and hiding away from everything but my minimum work requirements and meals.
It was exhausting, though, because I needed to be constantly aware of what I’m thinking and focused on jerking my mind away from depressing thought spirals and needless anxieties. My OCD neither helped nor hindered, thankfully. My tendency to obsess over depressing subjects was effectively cancelled by my tendency to sort of automate small mental activities, like emptying my mind or tracking patterns in the world around me–which are only “small” activities because I’ve been working at doing those things for over a decade now. Making a habit of forcibly jerking your mind away from its habit of obsessing over negative thoughts and ideas is basically a wash.
I’ve been doing it for long enough at this point that its become a solid habit, even outside of my OCD. I catch myself more frequently than I used to, even though the spirals are a bit stronger than before. There’s nothing like a new relationship to lend strength of some negative thought spirals. At the same time, one of my major sources of stress is gone and I’ve got a significant source of positive emotion. No longer living with my frustrating roommate and having a girlfriend have definitely had a positive overall impact on my life even if I still occasionally have moments of intense anxiety. I don’t know if I’ll ever be entirely rid of those thought spirals or, as I refer to them in my head, thought tornadoes (because only the incredibly powerful ones are a problem and there’s no reasoning with them because they just carry you along with them), but I can definitely appreciate the fact that they’re the only major problem I’ve got right now.
I really wanted to write a post about how awful my roommate was, as a form of catharsis for myself and in order to start a conversation about how painful it can be to try to live with someone who doesn’t respect you despite the fact that you get along great as friends. I wound up sitting on the idea for a couple of months, which was probably wise, because I feel like I’m in a better place to actually think about it and respond rather than simply vent about it. Which is to say that I think the thing that stressed me out wasn’t so much his behavior, but his refusal to actually take steps to work on it despite constantly acknowledging it. So many times, I would sit down to discuss something with him and he’d cut me off by proving he already knew what I was going to bring up. It felt awful to be living with someone who knew what they were doing was wrong but continued to do it anyway because they didn’t care enough to change.
I worry that he’s going to see this, or that one of our mutual friends is going to see this and then share it with him, but that might be for the best. He obviously didn’t hear what I was saying to him during the 21 months we lived together, but maybe reading it will help it click. It’s worked before, with my original blog. Maybe it’ll work here as well.
I’m not going to hold my breath, though. After successfully reducing the amount of self-inflicted pain and stress I encounter on a weekly basis and spending an entire month writing up a storm, I think I’m ready to return my attention to what is most important to me. That, and the most common issue I face when I’m working on my creative projects. I will take breaks to rest up and recharge, but I never seem to be able to get the recharging part working properly. I can rest, feel ready to push again, but I haven’t managed to recharged myself past the low-levels I’ve been feeling for three years at this point. I don’t need to get out of low-power mode in order to write, but I feel like it’d be a lot easier if I could.
Of course, its been so long that I’m not sure if I can actually get recharged or if I’m making the entire thing up as an excuse to stop when things get difficult. Time will tell, I suppose. It usually does.