Maybe this just means that my new approach - new as of one year old, which in this day and age really means ancient - of not setting fixed goals for blogging isn’t working out all that well.
I’ve never been as productive as I would wish when I’ve chosen to abandon myself to the flow of life. Set timelines work best, at least in terms of work results.
Health-wise I’ve unfortunately proven to myself quite often enough that deadline pressure and set goals tend to call forth my ambitious and obsessive nature. It always ultimately leads to a physical breakdown of some sort.
Will I ever get that middle ground thing figured out? It does not look promising.
I might add though that the past year hasn’t been easy for me, regardless of a laissez-faire approach to my workload and creative projects.
I distinctly remember an appointment with my psychologist in early 2009, shortly after discontinuing my anti-depressants. I felt listless and overwhelmed. I knew I wasn’t getting anything done. I craved isolation from all things living. I was spending my days avoiding life, responsibilities and social interaction. It had started bothering me, mostly because it wasn’t exactly doing my marriage any good. Wherever I looked for a cure I came up empty handed.
My psychologist’s approach to the problem was swift and merciless. She gave me a lot of tough love and sent me home - a sobbing mess.
I felt misunderstood and more overwhelmed than before, thinking that I must be doing something wrong. Was I just being apathetic and needlessly lazy? The expectations in my social circles were clear. I had come through a depression, which was tough. But now that I was well again, I was expected to function again and act like a responsible adult.
True, I was no longer in the grips of a depression and meds weren’t a requirement to keep me alive and kicking anymore. But here’s the thing; I wasn’t well either.
It seemed impossible for me to put my feelings into words, to make myself understood, to verbalize the paralyzing fear that invaded me at the mere thought of feeling too much.
Life - in all its wondrous, magical, beautiful and sublime greatness - scared me beyond words.
I found it much easier to read novels non-stop. Approaching feelings and life in a fictional setting, where I had the option to shut the book and stifle those emerging feelings in their infancy, seemed a far safer bet than to let myself feel anything real. I felt too raw and vulnerable, so I chose to hide from life.
It took months for the walls around my heart to crumble, for my heart to expand again. Little by little with help from husband and friends I stepped back into the stream of life.
Life is scary. There’s nothing to alter that.
But I learned to allow myself to feel and to take the fear in stride. It is the only way to also enjoy the happiness that life can bring.
Once I’d figured that out, I thought, nothing could ever move me back into that half-living state. Ha!
It only took one more depression, comparably mild and quickly resolved (as it had been triggered by medication in the first place) to put me back in hiding.
Hiding at home, reading and feeling reasonably safe in my little cocoon. It was okay for the most part, mainly because this time I knew exactly what I was going through. This was my post-depression-anxiety-pattern. It was safe to say that it would not last forever and I also knew that exposing myself to life a teensy tiny bit every day, allowing that smallest degree of vulnerability, would allow me to resurface all that much sooner.
In case you were wondering, this is what I’ve been up to (besides reading and hiding that is):
- I figured out the plot of my second novel and refused to revise the finished rough draft of my first novel, because… well, because it’s daunting work.
- I made jam for the first time in my life and then I gifted it as a Christmas present to my family and friends. No one got poisoned. I rank that as a big success.
- I celebrated Christmas and welcomed the New Year rather less enthusiastically than usual.
- I cuddled our only remaining lovely, anxious, and increasingly senile cat a lot.
- I got new dining room chairs. Vintage, worn, old wooden chairs that I painted in bright, luminous colors.
- I bought myself bunches of tulips every week for months.
- I found out that I am gluten sensitive.
- I read up on a gluten-free diet; got gluten-free cookbooks; baked and failed at baking; mourned all the tasty patisserie now forbidden to me and finally moved on.
- I got better - slowly but surely.
- I welcomed spring with an overflowing heart.
- We got a puppy.
- Oh! And I almost forgot. I also took a bath in 200,000 Swiss francs (which amounts to around 212,000 $). There was a guided meditation involved. Very odd story.
Not all that shabby for someone in hiding... guess I should have been blogging regardless.