Please read this without panicking
I say the above, because I know that sometimes it can be hard to read something personal without worrying about the person who wrote it. I assure you, there is no need to worry or feel sorry for me or think I need cheering up or any such thing. I simply wish to recount to you an experience, a thought process (or lack thereof), an almost fall backwards into a previously explored pit. I do not write this because I want sympathy or attention or concern. I write because I want to express it, I want to explore it, and I want to other people in a similar position to know that it’s okay and that they are not alone. And that these things can be lifted up, step by tiny step.
You’re worried already aren’t you? Don’t be daft.
This morning I found myself in a bit of a ‘funk’. Have you ever had those moments where you just think “I can’t be bothered” or “What’s the point?”, about stupid things like getting out of bed or having a shower or making a cup of tea? If you have, then you know where I’m coming from, and if you haven’t then believe me, it’s nowhere near as trivially stupid as it sounds. You see, I fall into that kind of state far too easily and far too often. It is the place in which I found myself whilst at University, the beginnings of my lengthy bout of not caring about anything. And it is a mental position I try to avoid as much as is humanly possible. But sometimes, it catches me unawares.
Actually, when I woke up this morning I was fine. A little annoyed to have been woken up by a door slamming, but otherwise fine. I revelled in the cosy warmth of my bed and the knowledge that I didn’t have to vacate it until I so wished (day off). I half listened to the noises from downstairs of the others getting breakfast and leaving for work, dozing in and out of that comfortable morning sleep you can only get when you don’t have anywhere you need to be. Eventually my brain began dropping hints that it might be time for a cup of tea. So I obliged, curling back up under my duvet with my laptop, my book and a cuppa. Happy happy days.
It was about an hour later that the problem thoughts started. I don’t know where they came from or why. I’d finished a couple of chapters of my book, watched a bit of rubbish on the laptop, drunk my tea, and decided it was time to do something that didn’t involve being in pyjamas. And somewhere in my head a little voice said “But what’s the point of getting up?”.
I’d already thought I might go to the beach today, have a walk in the sea air and let the wind mess up my hair, spraying salt onto my face and blowing out any cobwebs left inside my head (which I did in the end, see there is a happy ending). But when it came to actually getting up, this voice was relentless.
“Why bother? You don’t really want to. You can’t be bothered. What’s the point? Do you really have the energy to go and shower and do stuff? Why not just stay in your room all day and do nothing, talk to no-one, block out the world. That’ll take less effort, it’ll be easier, it’s what you want really, think about it.”
And, shame on me, I was listening to it. I began to genuinely wonder why I was even thinking of getting up and going out. I didn’t really want to, I only felt I should. No-one would notice if I shut myself in my room all day. No-one would care. I certainly wouldn’t. Why should I make all that effort to go out, when at the end of it all, it would be a totally pointless endeavour. May-as-well do something equally pointless but requiring less energy.
Oh unfaithful brain, how it tried to betray me to my lower self. Admittedly there are times I have those thoughts and I know that the reasons are linked to a genuine physical exhaustion. The effort required really is too much sometimes. But today I knew it wasn’t that. I am tired of late, yes, very tired. But I slept well last night and felt perfectly refreshed this morning. So there was nothing physical about it, it was all in my head.
I bullied myself into having a shower in the end, and from there the effort of actually doing things seemed less and less. I enjoyed a couple of hours wandering around a mostly deserted beach, and stopped for cookies on the way home before playing with the Bear pup for an hour or so. Lovely.
So, looking back, I get to thinking “What was I thinking?”
These days I recognise the signs in myself and I’m usually able to stop in my tracks before I go too far down the wrong road. I learned from my experience at Uni through which I fell into a deep state of depression, anxiety and insecurity. I fight with those things these days, to keep them at bay, to keep myself on top. They’re always there gnawing away, but we each have our own demons to battle, our own burdens to bear.
Most of the time I’m pretty good at fending them off. But occasionally they find a crack and sneak into my head without me realising. It’s at those times that I end up listening, like I did this morning. Today I gave myself a mental slap and went and got in the shower at a reasonable hour rather than staying in bed until 2pm. A couple of weeks ago I have to admit that the latter scenario was the truth of it.
It is hard not to give in though, because the questions I ask myself make so much sense. Seriously, what IS the point? Does it really matter? No, of course not. So why am I bothering? Why do any of us bother? Okay so I went to the beach today and took photos of the sea and had my hair thoroughly blown around and the taste of salt on my skin for the rest of the day, but would it really have made any difference to me if I’d just stayed in bed all day instead? I don’t mean tomorrow or the next day, I mean over the course of the rest of my life. Will I really look back and be glad I did what I did? Doubtful. It is very few days that get remembered above the rest, that escape that blurring of time passing. It is not likely that today will be one of them, if I am honest with myself.
So why do we bother trying to do things when we know it makes no difference, there is no point?
I don’t know the answer to that. Hence the asking. If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t have so much difficulty sorting myself out from day to day now would I?
And so I come to the end of my recounting. I want you to know that I am okay, truly, your fretting is unnecessary and probably annoying. And if you have moments, days, weeks where thoughts of this ilk overpower you, know that you can be strong enough to fight back at them. And win. But that it is also okay to not win all the time. No-one is so overwhelmingly strong that they can do battle with their shadow every day and always win. But maybe sometimes we have to lose, so that we can remember how good it is to win.
That is all for today.