Those that read this know I have had some down times in the last several months. Currently I am doing better. At the low point in the end of January I started concocting a plan to stabilize things. For too long I did enough good things to keep from falling down but not much else. The state of good moods being thin and brittle was the default, one that had to change. And change enough to buffer my mind against smaller upsets.
Thankfully I my mood has not reached its old lows since last reported, so I have something to work with when it comes to moving ahead. It still wobbles, but stays up higher. Yet the mess of what felt like anxiety and depression, and a slightly hermit like nature drove me into isolation. Having withdrawn too much from the world has distorted my baseline. Relatively ordinary things become larger tasks, the todo list for any given day is kept small so there is a job for tomorrow. These comfort seeking habits are doing nothing to negate the practical problems in my life. So I have to rebuild some habits, and possibly create some new ones if I am going to get out of my mess. After all last week I made one phone call and was so unprepared and lacking confidence that I sounded like my signal was breaking up.
So I will make a list. Its what I did yesterday on a long walk.
I shall start with what I am already doing, or had planned to do. Just follow the instructions.
Get up before 7am, otherwise the morning feels wasted.
Leave the house at least once, even on a bad day. I need not go far, but after several months where there were days at a time I did not step outside this matters.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, my diet was getting brown and starchy even before I lost work, it did not improve despite the time to cook. Comfort foods, fat, and sugar were(are) craved.
Exercise more. A 3km walk is enough to shake a shallow bad mood. Many a walk has prevented the writing of very bitter and angry posts. Most of those thoughts got written in the end, because they never went away but at least I saved repeating myself too many times. And more importantly at last for that moment stopped dwelling on them.
The above keep me comfortable, however in the light of how much I have withdrawn, they do not elevate me. It is enough to avoid despair, when a day starts badly or I start reading about how bad the job market is. It does not provide me with the determination to make fucking phone calls without stammering and actually try networking (gods I hate that word). My todo lists remain undersized, my writing projects undeveloped. So I have to build up to more.
So the evolved list exists to get me back into the world, and in as much as I care to, make something of myself.
Exercise more, I am in some of the worst shape of recent years. Having shifted from a desk job with a bike ride for commuting to nothing has done me no good. And its not like I had much of a fitness program before I lost work. I should lift if only so I don't jiggle so much.
Cultivate story parts. That is create a stable of characters, settings, plots, writing prompts to keep the gears turning. I have a fear of running out of ideas, and so avoid finishing projects because I worry I won't come up with a new one. Just as I could force myself to make progress with the novel through effort, so can I with new ideas. At this point I am not thinking of new novels, just ideas that can come together later to form short or longer pieces.
Be around people more. Accept more invites. While I have some hermit like qualities, a full retreat is not me. I am lonelier than I would like and a fix is getting out and being with people. Progress on this is already happening. It is easy when the baseline approaches zero.
Write at least two blog posts a week. Ideally one for this site, and the other for my fiction and essay offshoot Broken Rockets.
Keep a cleaner home. Also keep the larder well stocked. Access to a stable food supply in home both saves money and time, but also reduces the insecurities life creates.
Other things included the simple act of making longer todo lists. Having enough of my shit together to come up with a plan should I choose to leave the city, or do anything more complex than fling resumes into the ether. Essentially build back enough momentum to create a passible simulation of a normal life.
Casting a shadow over the notion of normality is writing. I am far from good at it, yet I itch to write bigger, longer, and richer pieces. I have a rewrite simmering in the back of my head, as the current draft of the novel is too far from the tale I want to tell. Attached to that web of ideas, places, and most of all people is a flavor of obsession. There is no doubt in my mind if I dig into those projects I will not come out the same. It is not a comforting thought. In fact if I want to get there from here, I have to choose to be uncomfortable. I will not embrace writing I will choose to get consumed by it.
Since the last paragraph is almost antithetical I feel one more is needed to keep the trains of thought on track. All of these thoughts are connected with an, AND. The biggest of which is the writing and everything else. In that future time when I have work again, I will have to find time for writing, to squeeze it in because its absence makes my brain itch. So it is that last and the one that says once you have a day job, keep your dream that makes writing so dangerous. Say yes to that last option will eat at my comfort because writing will eat at my brain. And perhaps it is this context that I should consider the nature of my day job in. Work that demands less recovery time and leaves room for my own thoughts.
If any one in the Canadian intelligence industry is snooping on this, can you snoop on some potential employers and maybe put in a good word for me.