Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I have battled with the vaguest and most tepid of depressions for as long as I can remember. My version is more run-of-the-mill moodiness than mania and melancholy, more avoidance than a lack of desire.

I think the avoidance-part is called "harm avoidance." I don't want to get hurt, or scared, or whatever, and so I avoid putting myself out there, thereby avoiding any pain. Of course, then I spiral into an even worse place because there I am, having done nothing and therefore being disappointed in myself.

I've been in one of these spirals for a while now. I've avoided my blog, avoided my writing, avoided sorting through my stuff, avoided readying myself for our move. And, predictably, my blog-avoidance makes me feel bad about my half-assed maintenance of this sloppy blog; my writing-avoidance makes me feel worse about having a writing degree (and being a writing teacher) and not actively and regularly practicing what I preach; my sorting-avoidance means that piles-upon-piles continue to accumulate in every corner of my house, making the eventual inevitable sort-fest an even more daunting prospect; and my move-avoidance means that when moving-time really does come around, it'll likely result in a series of fights with my organized and task-attacking husband. None of this is good.

I realize that these are the kinds of feelings everyone has.

It's like the not-going-to-the-gym bit. Of course, for every day you put off that workout, your return to the gym grows ever-more unlikely.

But it's difficult to get out of that rut, isn't it? And in some ways, the best intentions of our friends and loved ones make it even more difficult to get out of the rut. Husband reminding you that once you work out, you'll feel better makes you want to punch husband in gut while he's sit-upping away. Parent telling you that you are talented and highly capable makes you want to tell parent that you know that, thank you very much, but how does that knowledge really help?

Strangely, I found the most tangible inspiration from watching Anthony Bourdain's travel and eating show, No Reservations. Bourdain gets excited about eating like I do. When he eats a roasted Balinese pig (stuffed with herbs and coated in a coconut-water candied glaze), he can barely speak. I got this one time when I had a crabmeat beignet with a tri-pepper salad with a Balsamic vinaigrette at Herbsaint. When I tried to describe the concoction, I couldn't; instead, I broke out in goosebumps.

Simon always makes fun of my sensory memory--I can recall what everyone ate at whichever restaurant and what was good and bad for years after the meal has passed. I can remember phone numbers with ease--I think because I associate the pattern with a tangible connection with a person. But I can't remember historical dates--and important one. In fact, in order to remember the dates of the Civil War, I have had to devise a mind-trick (I "call" Abraham Lincoln using the dates of the war). Next up: a phone call to Nixon based on the dates of the Vietnam War. This is how my mind works. Is that bad?

Anyways, the Travel Channel ran an all-day marathon of Bourdain's show yesterday, and I watched probably seven hours of the show. At one point, I felt as though his lively writing and sardonic voice were readying me for a bout at the computer, but when I turned on my laptop, I found myself ranting about my job and feeling smothered by life again, so I turned it off. Then, I felt worse.

I tried to do this vowing-thing: I vowed that tomorrow (today) I would be productive--like, forreal. I vowed to turn off the TV. I vowed to start writing my essay about Global Green in Holy Cross.

Here's how that went:

Today, I overslept, had breakfast with Regis and Kelly, pet the cats, deposited a check, tailgated a student who'd cut me off on my way to UNO (all the while thinking die, die, die frat-boy scum!), read blogs and felt bad about my lousy one, ate two handfuls of parmesan Goldfish crackers, emailed students that no, I would not type up the exercises that they had missed until they had exhausted any other options, emailed my tutor, emailed some more, read http://www.helpholycross.org/, wondered why the webmaster hadn't replied to my email, felt bad about how good his blog was, graded a few fiction-writing exercises, ate some more Goldfish, read http://www.dangerblond.org/ and felt bad about my blog some more, and then decided, finally, to write.

In short, I have accomplished almost none of what I set out to accomplish today, and writing about that fact is now making me feel even worse. I am deeper in my funk, and now it will be even more difficult to climb my way out. I know that my depression is unimpressive and self-pitying, but that doesn't change its feeling really bad.

So I am thinking that I may need to resort to drastic measures. Next up: reading a Self-Help book. Yes, it's come to that. Any recommendations?

Until I can climb out of this funk, I'm not sure I want to make myself feel any worse by angst-ing over this blog. There are better bloggers out there. I've named two. Enjoy them for a while. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better--or at least it will be a bad day that will inspire a productive visit to the page.

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