The problem with me is that “getting to it” is the hardest bit. Starting anything new with my own steam has always been really difficult, I don’t really know why. Possibly because it means effort. Possibly because “I just don’t wanna!” Or, possibly because I can always find a million other things to do that are easier to complete or are more pressing than starting a new thing. Research, assessments, reports, budgeting, even cleaning up the garage or the study… I always need to muster up the energy or find some time to get into the zone of it. Of course, once I get over the hurdle of getting started, I can stay in the zone and work until the job’s all done and actually, I usually complete things very quickly once I get into it. Just… it’s so hard to get motivated to start.
Which brings me to blogging. I was doing so well! 😩 And then things just got stupid. Technology crapped out on me – my old desktop finally carked it for good, rebooting over and over again. The Man said it might take a while to fix – as in a week or two when he could spare the time – and this was the day before my second week of online lectures for a postgrad course that I’d decided to just start. Not exactly a time to be without a computer! So I called it, and decided it was time to upgrade – sooner than I expected and definitely sooner than I would have liked for my budget, but it had to be done. Unfortunately this was a problem that could only be fixed by throwing money at it. Good news, I’d just cleared my credit card. Bad news is that it’s no longer clear.
Now, I’ve started afresh with computers many times in my life, and while it’s great to have something new and shiny, it’s not always 100% a fun thing, especially when its unexpected. There’s hours of setting up, getting all your software back, and then transferring files (assuming they’re salvageable). I’m now on a Surface Pro 4, which is great and new-fangled, so there’s that getting used to as well. Of course, then my old monitors (yes plural) no longer worked properly with such new-fangledness, and so then I had to get a new monitor. That meant research (and we know how I feel about that), and yes, more money. I possibly at this point am starting to sound ungrateful, and I don’t mean to – truly I know how fortunate I am to be able to just go out and buy a new, expensive thing, but it’s not like it comes easy either. Debt is never an easy choice, and I’m not so fortunate to be completely free from that either.
Overall, it’s been a bit of a slog getting back on track, and then of course there’s life and everything else in between. I went on a brief retreat with a friend where we had no internet. No internet! And while I could feel myself unwind and enjoy the much-needed break, I also felt an anxiety that maybe I wasn’t getting through enough things that I wanted to do – read, play, write, journal, watch movies, sleep… There just aren’t enough hours in the day, even when you’re meant to be on holiday. Then I had car dramas (-$$$ feel that wallet hurting). And work dramas (++workload, peak period). And finally I decided something had to give and I’d perhaps bitten off a bit too much for the start of the year, and pulled out from my studies. The relief was instant once I made that decision, but there was disappointment too. I’d agonized about it for a fair while, and while there were a lot of factors to my decision (including not being convinced I was in the right course at all), I couldn’t help but feel that again I was bested, that while I was only just getting started, I just hadn’t been able to get over the hurdle.
Life drama aside, I sometimes wonder if my false starts when it comes to motivation is just an issue of pressure. Indeed, a more positive way to spin this would be to say that I just “work better under pressure”. Which is on one hand very true. I’m generally very good at getting stuff done when there’s a deadline, and especially so when it’s for other people (most of the time, anyway), when the pressure is external to me. But on the other hand, when the pressure you’re under is your own – paired with the voice in your head, the guilt – it’s not so easy. In some strange cycle of emotions and mental overcommitment, I end up feeling weighed down by my own lack of motivation, so much so that sometimes, I can’t do anything. It’s a kind of depression, I know. Though I try very hard not to think this way because you know, there are so many more important things in the world than whether or not I can bring myself to blog, or do anything creative, regardless of how important it might be to me. I mean, I’m not that important right?
And depression is insidious in this way. You tell yourself that things that matter to you or make you happy, don’t really matter if you don’t quite achieve them in the grand scheme of things. You diminish parts of yourself, or compromise and that’s life. And so you carry on (or don’t) and it’s a vicious cycle of up and down in a shell of a life, tiptoeing around an apathy for your own self. I try really hard to have perspective, but I also find I’m sometimes scrabbling (more often than I’d like) to try and stay afloat, reminding myself that I do matter, if only to a given few, and that there are still good things, and that hurdles are just that: things to get over and move on from. One of my favourite content creators, Martina (from YouTube channel, Eat Your Kimchi) describes so eloquently, and beautifully and painfully, the challenges of getting stuck in the cycle of dark thoughts to the point of absolute despair and how hard it can be to get back out. But if you muster up the will and start small, you can add rungs to a ladder out of darkness, and the more rungs of support or hope or achievement that you add, the easier it will be to get through your hurdle, or pain (#buildaladder).
I’m by no means comparing my darkness or pain to Martina’s btw (just so we’re clear for any trolls out there). I’m so absolutely inspired by her seemingly boundless positivity and that she and her husband, Simon, are out there living the best life they possibly can despite the challenges and that’s what they focus on. In her video above, what strikes me is that she recognises that sometimes you have to accept the feelings and acknowledge that there may be things that wreak havoc on your life BUT that this shouldn’t stop you from living a full life if only you can try to move forward and however small, step by step, build that ladder.
I’m thankful (more and more everyday) that I have a good support system – people around me to help me out of the fog, a solid job they I can force myself to get up for (even if I don’t love it, I enjoy it enough that I get up everyday), regular activities that I try to attend, pets that I’m commited to looking after, and I guess now this – the blogging and the writing and the photography and all of that. I try to hold myself accountable for my own emotions, my moods, though sometimes it’s just, fucking hard work. Positivity doesn’t always come easily but if you keep trying, it does get easier. I’m reminded too of a colleague who once said that when it came to dark thoughts, you should just “Greet them at the door, say “Hello!” if you must, then close the door and move right along. Don’t let them in.” If only it was so easy! Though I think what she really was referring to was giving yourself space to acknowledge the emotion, but don’t let it take over. I strongly believe that recognising you may have a problem (whatever it may be), acknowledging it and giving yourself the space to handle it, however way you need, is one of the best ways to stay above water. And of course, sometimes I just fake it till I make it :P.
Another one of my favourite YouTubers, Hannah Hart, describes very briefly what, to me, is essentially what the weight of depression can be like. Not everyone’s depression is the same. I think sometimes we have this image of a person “with depression” as this completely emotionally unstable person who cannot function in any way – and certainly this is one kind of depression. But for me, I’m more of the “hide from the world, suddenly become an introvert and fail to cope” kind of person. I try very hard not to make a big deal about it and I take the time to deal with it quietly on my own… which so far has been manageable. But I know I’m lucky in this regard and that so many people may find this much more challenging.
So, this post has perhaps taken a little bit of a turn! I meant for it to be a quick update of why I’ve been quiet… but I guess in some ways, lack of motivation and depression are really silent partners and perhaps in discussing one, it’s inevitable that you bring up the other… Well, I did say that this blog was going to be about whatever is on my mind right? Goals! I’m hoping to talk… write?… more about anxiety and how I cope and what I find useful and things like that. Hopefully it’s useful to someone. … even if it’s only useful to me in a cathartic kind of way … thing. Yep. 🙂
And so here I am today, and back to the technology thing, I was originally planning to put up a post about one of my favourite Japanese restaurant right now, only to discover that half of my photos didn’t transfer properly (oh the joys) and that also, even if I had them, I didn’t have a photo editor that I wanted to use (like, what is this world of Windows 10? Really? Wasn’t this supposed to come with a photo editor?!). Anyway, the point is that I’m slowly getting things organised, there was a dark bit in there somewhere but I’m slowly getting out of there (again, #buildaladder), and there has been some good bits too. I mean, hey, new computer right. And I’ve learnt that this computer can handle The Sims (the previous one just couldn’t cope) – funsies! And there was a holiday break in there somewhere and Easter long weekend. Oh, and I’ve been trying to work on my Instagram game. Tell me if you like it. It helps :P.