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Motivation, Anxiety and Mood Swings

Yesterday afternoon, for whatever reason, a sense of ennui swept over me.  I was on a run with Tammy; my right hip hurt pretty sharply, so I bailed out a couple of miles into the run and walked home.  During the walk, I struggled with anxiety about school, fitness, and writing.  All I could think about was that I wasn't ready for class to start on Monday (or eager for it), that the pain in my hip was going to kick me out of running, and that I'd never be the writer I want to be.  Argh!  It was awful!

Most of the time, I try to assign a cause for the mood.  Yesterday, it was the front door sticking.  It's a new storm door, so it should be perfect, but the metal has shifted a little, and it wasn't closing or opening correctly.  It pissed me off and depressed me.  But I don't think that the door was the cause of the mood.  When I get this way, I search for an explanation that's simple, even though I believe the phenomena is not tied to a single event.  My biorhythms set me up for the reaction.

wavesI've noticed that this ennui hits me periodically, maybe every other month, and it lasts for an hour or two.  It feels like a taste of what someone with clinical depression must deal with constantly (or a bipolar person deals with part of the time).  For me it's rare.  It's like all my negative biorhythms troughing at the same time.  I hate it when it happens because it makes me grumpy and irritable.  Every shortcoming in my world shouts at me.  I snap at people, and I want to call in sick for the next day so I can just stay in bed with the covers over my head.

My biorhythm theory explains other parts of my personality to me too.  Like sometimes when I'm teaching, all of the literature I've ever read suddenly becomes available.  I can quote long passages from poems or recall all the character names and places from a novel.  I see the structure of a piece of writing like a highlighted, rhetorical diagram.  But then there are I times when I worry that I won't be able to remember the way to drive home.

Mental accuity rises and falls.  There's a corresponding rhythm to my sense of small-motor skills, my health, my reading habits, my sleep patterns, etc.  Most of the time, the waves are all over the place, so, on average, I feel about the same ("normal," whatever that means).  But when the rising and falling waves correspond with each other on the up or down side, I can be powerfully impacted.

Does this happen to you?  How do you deal with lows?  Do you have a technique that encourages more of the upside of the rhythms?

An enquiring mind wants to know.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
I don't have a technique to deal with it, more's the pity, but I certainly know what you're writing about here! Very annoying to be brilliant, witty and knowledgable one day, then a dull-witted fool the next.
Jan. 28th, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, it happens to me. Sometimes, while gritting through my day (not getting, gritting) I have to start talking to myself the way I would an upset child. "It's gonna be okay, just hold out a bit longer, take a breath, these things happen, it's okay to be frustrated, keep going, almost done..." Do not feel guilty or resentful about taking a nap or going to bed early or getting out for a few minutes of sunshine. Drink more water and less caffeine and sugar.
*hugs* You're already doing great by realizing it's a cycle and you'll be up again soon :)
Jan. 29th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
I've always blamed it on *coughs* women's things. But I was thinking about it the other day with a friend. Yes, I have a damned good excuse for getting depressed given what happened to my son, but, in general,although that gets me down periodically, it isn't always the reason. I wondered, given where I live - Alberta - a lot of it wasn't enviromental. Meaning SAD. So cold you don't get enough vitamin D/ proper light etc. Or maybe a lot of us are pretty damned deep and we store up things inside, which we prob should let out and every so often we simply go boom?
L.J. Bothell
Jan. 29th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
Hi there!
I understand this. I do have low-level depression/apathy a chunk of the time, yet I really enjoy life and am always content, busy, and so grateful for everything - my home, cat, friends, teaching, mochas, everything. Yet I do have these occasional ennui moods wash over me too.

I realize that while I can try to trace what might have catalyzed it, it is most likely something in my body/brain chemistry just spiking a bit, and that it will ebb. I also look at it as a time that my body/mind is telling me to take a little more care of myself, to be kind, and to get what I must do done and then just allow myself recovery, daydreaming, and even napping time. Time just for me.

Knowing this does help me treat myself a little more kindly even when I can't put a hold on my day (like at work, at the grocer's, on a long bus commute), but I also try to always carry my music, a little snack (for blood sugar), and something to drink. I make sure to wear what I am most comfortable in. I also recognize that, no matter what is bothering me, I can and will shelve it until the next day (or when I feel more normalized).

In the end, I recognize that it is just that occasional wave of confusion, ennui, lack of sense of the future, and I recognize that it is okay. It is my job to be kind to myself, to extend my patience and kindness to others, and to leave judging/deciding on things alone for a bit. I don't like how it feels, but I recognize that it is part of my humanity, And I go hug my cat.

Be well!!

Edited at 2013-01-29 12:41 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )