For the last few months, I’ve been at war with myself. Ironically, neither side is winning.
On one hand, you have the Ryan that is trying dearly to have a relaxing Summer. Ever since I found out from my Physician that my weight, cholesterol and bilirubin have all gone up, I made a vow to quell my round-the-clock anxiety and take as much time as possible for myself. I’ve been getting eight hours of sleep a night. I stopped drinking excessively. I’ve been exercising more. I’ve been eating right, and most importantly, I’m reducing unnecessary stress at every corner.
As soon as I get home from work, I change into running shorts and a t-shirt. I stay off the Internet and relax on the couch. I read my mail, take a walk and eat a decent dinner. If the house is messy, I’ll clean it up later. I sometimes take a 45-minute shower and not shave for days on end. This is not typical behavior from me. From the looks of it, you would think that I’ve gotten divorced. Truth is, I’m just trying to invite a little laziness and tranquility into my life, and maybe stave off the heart attack for another year or two.
On the other hand, you have the Ryan that’s running against the clock. My book needs to be finished by the end of the year, and it’s going to take a sprint in order to achieve this goal. Essays need to be written. Drafts need to be proofread. Cover art needs to be completed. The self-publishing process is long, annoying and time-intensive, yet it seems that I’m never in the mood or creative frame of mind in which to tackle anything remotely resembling it. It’s not Writer’s Block, it’s more like apathy mixed with a migraine.
Therein lies the cruel irony. When I’m trying to relax, I get anxious thinking about all the work I need to be doing, and how big of I loser I am for shelving my projects. When I’m trying to work, all I can think about is taking a nap or doing something, anything to get me away from the computer. Either way, I feel miserable, and neither of my long-term goals are being accomplished. I am at war with myself, and neither side is winning.
Generally, you (or I) would look at this situation as nothing more than a minor inconvenience. I mean, the book’s going to get done eventually. I’m not wasting away from some terminal illness. And while money’s tight, it’s not like I’m starving to death. I should take stock and optimism in all the things going right in my life which allow me to stress over such seemingly minuscule tribulations. This is not typical behavior from me. I’m more of the ‘piss and moan until the ulcer starts bleeding’ type of guy, and that’s really not helping things, either. For the first time in years, I’m in a spiral of negativity, apathy and anxiety, and while I know I’ll break free eventually, I’m beginning to wonder what it’s going to take.
In times like this, I usually look over to the Missus to see what she’s up to. A glance will reveal that she’s busier, more productive and goal-driven as ever. She’s in a new office position that she enjoys. She’s been earning extra money by doing side projects that she would probably do for free. Hell, she’s even volunteering her time at a local animal shelter, rehabilitating ducks and squirrels every Tuesday night. This is not typical behavior from her. The tables, it seems, have been turned between the two of us. What tipped the axis of the Zeinert household to cause such a switcheroo?
In recent weeks, I’ve experimented with many different methods in which to jumpstart my ambition, while still allowing myself amble decompression time. I’ve been waking up earlier and giving myself more time to prepare for the work day. I’ve been deleting shows from my DVR queue like crazy, forcing myself into a Subterfuge Solitude so I have no choice but to write out of boredom. I’ve been gobbling up vegetarian multivitamins that taste like absolute shit. Whatever it takes to instigate some sort of change in my motivation. This is not typical behavior from me. I usually run on fumes, have enough time for everything I need to do, and feel no twinge of slackerdom whatsoever. The culprit continues to elude me.
Perhaps it’s good-old depression; the disorder I haven’t felt since the Winter of 2000. Maybe that’s why it’s been so hard for me to dust myself off and come out swinging. Maybe it’s a legit chemical imbalance that I have little-to-no control over, and I either need to ride it out or get some help. But…what am I depressed about? I don’t feel clinically depressed. I mean, I feel a little fat and my knees hurt, but that doesn’t seem like enough shame to flip some deep-rooted Emo Switch in my cerebrum. I’m confused. I’m unsure of my body and I don’t really know what I can do to fix it. This is not typical behavior from me. Short of taking care of myself and laying off the existential thinking for a few nights, I’m stumped.
As my mind continues to search for answers in the present, it is keeping me from focusing intently on the past, which I need constant access to when it comes to writing essays. Therefore, I’ve been at a standstill, and my only logical answer is to let the apathy in and ride it out until it decides to leave me alone. So, until further notice, I have officially given up. I’m playing a lot of Tetris and Rock Band, watching syndicated reruns of television shows I didn’t even enjoy when they were new, and I more or less shuffle around the house like I’m stacked to the rafters with Xanax. This is my only chance of survival. The demon cannot be exorcised until I’m fully possessed; either I’ll emerge victorious or hit rock bottom with no chance of resurfacing. It’s a fight to the death, and I’m all in.
This is typical behavior for me.
Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. Come back Friday for a fun little announcement, and a peek into what the CDP has in store for the remainder of July.