Actually, it is.
What is wrong with me? I haven’t been this depressed since high school/college freshmen when I was sick and our church split and friends I thought I had forever stopped talking to me, and the tune in my head changed to “Jesus loves me, this I think…”
At surface now in my last year of being a 20-something, things are going pretty well. I’ve got two books published and five (yes, five) in the Ever Ink Press ovens (okay, some are still in the mixing stage, but some are almost baked.) I have a clearly defined idea of where I want my life to turn into. I’ve got a job at the library with a steady paycheck. It’s not a lot but if I live frugally as I’ve been forced to do the last four years, I can put aside somewhere around $200 every month, barring no unexpected expenses rise up. I even have enough to help other people pay their medical bills so in turn if I’m ever in a car wreck, they can help me pay my bills.
But my life is a river with one side flowing in one direction and the other side flowing in the opposite. When I was self-employed the “writing and publishing” part of the river was moving me steadily forward. But the “money” part was against me. I thought I could make up for the lack when I took the job, paying more people to help me with the editing and design stages. To a small extent, it’s true but not as much as I thought. Then I got swept too far into the money side and the writing started ebbing away. So I tried to swim to the middle between them – and just about drowned. Probably because I got tired of fighting the two currents and stopped swimming. I wasn’t doing a good job at my job and I wasn’t doing a good job at writing.
Some people combat depression by drinking. Some manage it by running until they find the endorphins. I have discovered that when depressed I do two things.
- I splurge. Most of the time it’s okay because I don’t normally splurge on a regular basis. Some things I splurge on are things you’d expect from a woman wallowing in self-pity, like chocolate. Other things is purely Lindsey like motivation. Yes, when I can’t find my motivation, I’ll buy someone else’s. Here’s how depressed I was.
I had to listen to the book twice before I even understood what it was about. It was like a radio go between clear paragraphs that my brain went, “Makes sense” to garble gook and static. The static wasn’t because the book didn’t make sense. It was because that was how far my brain was fatigued, only able to focus on the next step, and the one after that. Multitasking was gone.
But that’s the funny thing about books. It only takes one sentence to snap the lightbulb on in someone’s head and that sentence can be obscure and far from the main points of the book. When I listened to the book for a second time, I heard the complete message, which, actually did go alone with my Eureka moment though none of it had been comprehended to this point. The book is called, “Wake Up and Live” and it’s actually a lot older than the title makes it sound. The author was inspired by the quote, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” This led her to conclude that she, along with the rest of humanity, had a built-in subconscience desire to fail. The concept of self-sabatoge isn’t new to me. I’ve read and recognized the same observation in other books. Failing is a safety mechanism. You tried. It didn’t work out. Now you can settle in good conscience either knowing that you’d have wasted your efforts or that if you had tried just a little harder you’d have made it like all the others but you chose to step to the sidelines and simple watch. That’s what I heard on the second listen.
On the first, it was something like and Peanuts movie: “Wha,wha,wha,wah, People take adult responsibilities like jobs and swear not to lose sight of their dream. Nights, weekends, they’ll be at it. But they get tired and quit and before they know it their life is over, wha wha wha wha wha found a quote in the book that changed everything wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha….”
And about the time I was pep-talking myself for another day of adult responsibilities and work, thinking, “So much for motivation…” and scolding myself for not getting up at 5:00 so I could get in my writing before work, my brain went: “You overcomplicate things. You protect yourself by overcomplicating things.”
I seem to remember being in the middle of tying my shoes and pausing going, “I do???”
And simultaneously realizing that admitting this to anyone who has lived with me or even known me well would probably result in them laughing and saying, “Well, I could have told you that!”
That day turned fascinating watching my normal self rushing around and realizing that yes, it was true. To some extent, I need the self-imposed routines, standards, and responsibilities that I hold myself too. My life goes best when waking up early is standard and I do things in a certain order. Otherwise I forget what I’m doing and end up fluttering from one thing to the next. But my “good mornings” looked someone like, wake at 5:00, try to cram in Bible reading, self-improvement book reading, and journaling into one hour. Then magically be at my desk, dressed with coffee already made and write from 6:00-8:00. Then dress for work, make up and hair, making, eating and cleaning up breakfast, picking up the bedroom, making the bed, and wiping down the bathroom, plus walking to work to arrive early enough to unlock the building. I tried to focus at work, work another walk into lunch break and a bit of sunshine and hopefully writing but sometimes errands, and oh yes, I need to actually eat in there. Then an afternoon of trying not to think about Ever Ink falling behind or things needing to be done at home. One last walk home for the day in which I try to fit phone calls. Should I water the plants or start on dinner because I’m starving? Feeding the cats, making and cleaning up dinner, trying to spend an hour on the computer returning emails and chatting with my friends. I thought it was a way of prioritizing and making sure I made time for them, but it royally backfired and I’m pretty sure it just pissed some of them off coming across as “the queen will see you now.” Then I get off with aching wrists and my brain is too tired to write and my body hurts, and if I’m lucky there’s one hour left in the day to relax or unwind or catch up with my family on the phone or read a book or clean the house.
Then I fall into bed and compare this day with the dream I have where I work as a married full-time writer, publish beautiful books and fly out to spend months working on the film sets to turn them into movies or meet up with my friends to go watch their premieres. And I panic because that dream lies upstream of this river that’s currently turning me in circles and getting me nowhere.
Maybe I’m okay. Maybe the plodding of writing, saving, writing, saving, writing, saving will be the turtle to my imagination’s hare and it will eventually get me to my destination at a pace that lets me learn as I go how to handle the ropes that would have strangled me had I met with a quick arrival. Or maybe that evil little whisper in my head is true and I’m wasting my life and the best of what “can be” in pursuit of my dream of what “could be.”
But one thing is true: We’re all using our energy and time pursuing something. The key is to free up as much mental, emotional, and physical energy as you can on the things you spend it on that make you fail and redirect it toward the things that make you succeed.
I just gotta figure out how. Without over-complicating it.