I’m lazy. A lot of it is depression, but I’m still lazy in the lucid periods. What I attribute it to, then, is a lifetime of depression making it all but impossible to learn how to plan and order my life productively.
But those lucid moments…
Life gets stressful when I find myself in a habit of laziness. It always looks different: one habit was not doing laundry. Another was not folding the laundry once I did it. And so on. At times these habits have led to a floor covered in junk, three baskets of clothes on the floor, almost losing a scholarship, and nearly running out of gas two miles from the nearest station.
I’ve worked hard to build good habits in my lucid periods. With each habit, I have a powerful force keeping me going in the down times. Of course, that’s me. My depression is usually mild. I have friends who have the deep, dark, grim kind. If that’s you, I know it’s real, and you wish you could do more. I don’t know if this will help you, but I hope it does.
I recently started a depression log. Every time I get grim, I write it down, along with a note about what preceded it, plus any thoughts I have. What I learned is that I have two major depression triggers.
The first was rumination. I ran circles around minor events in my past, more recent events, and even completely imagined events. Once I recognized that, I got better at cutting it off before it turned me into an emotional wreck. I can finally pull back from the rumination and see the thoughts objectively. I realized that, for the most part, these things I worried about weren’t that big a deal. For the rest, I recognized that the obsession always dragged me down and kept me from moving my life forward.
The other was, boringly enough, light. My depression really started to take over about three years ago. It took some work to pin it down, but I knew I had a fair amount of emotional stability around 2012. It’s when I was most productive and made the most progress in my life. This was also when I moved my desk from in front of the door where I could see outside, across the room to a wall. Where I had almost no light. So I moved it to a window, and now I feel so much better. But that wasn’t completely effective, because I kept getting spells in the evening. It was only when I could look at a long list of journal entries that I identified the problem. Every spell was around 8 or 9 PM…right after the sun went down. Now I know to turn on the overhead light when I get an evening spell, then transition to the lamp behind me.
That log probably saved my life. If you can’t come up with something else to start a habit on, or you just lack the will to do something more substantial, start with a depression log.
So that was roughly a month ago. My first entry is June 11, 2015 at 9:07 PM (Eastern). It was a rant about a guy who tailgated me, anger at myself for overeating, anger at a family member for what I perceived to be a lack of consideration. Each entry is more lucid than the last, leading up to last week.
I finally dragged myself far enough out of my lazy habits and depression to start socializing again. I met someone cool, we got pizza, hung out for a few hours, and gained a new appreciation for this little town we live in. I don’t remember a point in my life where I could think this clearly for such a long period of time.
The log is currently 3,821 words, or about 127 words a day, or a novel every year. As a writer, this is a huge motivation boost. All I have to do is write 127 words a day to have one novel a year, and I can easily do 1000+ a day in lucid periods. Which are almost normal for me now.