Where is my mind?

And not to quote the Pixies too much in a desperate attempt to sound cool, but last week my head did collapse and there was nothing in it. For some reason everything – even the most mundane of every day tasks turned into a baffling psychological obstacle course.

What’s weird is that nothing terrible or stressful happened to me last week, I don’t have PMT (or PMS – depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on), I’m not even having a rough time at work, but something sent my mind into a bit of a meltdown.

I haven’t been able to write. Okay, so I haven’t been able to do anything much because my mind turned into mushy peas, but specifically I haven’t been able to write. And I know I say that a lot, and I guess that’s because I go through phases of being able to hammer out thousands of words creating what seems to me (at the time – in the euphoria of productivity) to be the most ingenious piece of work ever written, to barely being able to scrawl out a legible message on a Post-It note.

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When I stop working my brain gets overcome with guilt, but still refuses to facilitate any kind of decision on what to do instead. And so sometimes out of shear frustration I force myself to sit down and write – the thinking being that something worthwhile will come out eventually. On Thursday, hoping I’d come up with a blog post, I sat down and forced myself to write. Unfortunately, the end result was so horrendously depressing that I couldn’t even finish writing it. And needless to point out, I didn’t post it. Here’s an example of what I wrote:

“Earlier I worked for a whopping forty minutes on a review I’m doing for another site, and once I’d hammered out my final wonky sentence I promptly rewarded myself with a two hour nap. And then I cried a bit because I felt really guilty for falling asleep and not writing. And after the crying I had another nap because the crying made me feel tired again.”

 

Friday was a work day and I was totally dazed and unable to concentrate on anything. After about an hour of being in the office I found myself following someone who uttered the words “Free coffee and Danish pastries’ down a corridor to wherever it was they were going – unaware that they were attending “Stress Management” training. After helping myself to a coffee and a hot pastry, I soon realised that so was I… For the next three hours.

Despite the stress management training, Saturday was actually the most stressed I have felt in a really long time. My seemingly scattered mind had now gone full throttle into a complete funk and I decided that the best thing for me to do was to go for a drive hoping it might clear my head.

Only, in my scattered brain stat, it took me so long to make the decision to go for drive that by the time I had set off it was growing dark. An hour later I was tensely gripping the wheel, manoeuvring around winding country roads in the dark – convinced that the poor visibility would cause me to kill a lost child or a stray deer/supermarket carrier bag. Worse still, my concentration was impaired by the faulty tape deck which randomly changed sides a few times roughly every 25 seconds making a distracting KUDUNK! noise over and over.

When I finally made it home in one piece having not (to my knowledge) killed a child animal or flimsy supermarket bags, I was so tense and frustrated I could have chewed my way through the windscreen to get out of the car.

So this week I’m aiming to take myself in hand, possibly review my notes on stress management, and try to regain some focus – starting with this chaotic blog post.

How’re things with you?

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Comments: 20

  1. alonewithcats February 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm Reply

    To my knowledge, I haven't killed a child this week either, but I've also been in a funk. I'm starting to wonder whether killing a child would make me feel better. In jail, they get cable TV, which is more than I have now.

  2. Simone February 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm Reply

    i've been weird this week too. i think it's because i killed a child.

  3. Steven Chapman February 3, 2011 at 10:38 am Reply

    I always feel stressed/empty/collapsed/man-PMSey. It's all about the distractions, just fill your life with so much useless crap that you only have time to get mildly stressed with something before having to move on to concentrating on the next distraction! It's the same amount of stress but divided up into manageable chunks, and chunks are always fun…

    As for chewing your way through windscreens, that actually sounds like quite a good way to relax right about now. I don't have a car but I suppose I wouldn't want to damage my own anyway, think I'll wander off into the streets and look for a tasty laminated sheet of safety glass…yum yum!

  4. NickMB February 3, 2011 at 11:05 am Reply

    I couldn't seem to write anything for most of December, I blame real life for being unusually distracting, or myself for being unusually drunk. Luckily then my MA deadline hit me and I had to make myself write or else. So maybe you could get a man to stand behind you with a gun to your head or something.

  5. Steven Chapman February 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm Reply

    I know a guy who knows a guy who likes to do this…if you're interested?

  6. Stoo February 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm Reply

    if it helps, 40 minutes sustained effort from yourself probably amounts to better quality content than anything I come up with!

  7. kyknoord February 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm Reply

    It only counts if you kill a child *in* a supermarket carrier bag. Stray deer count either way.

  8. Jojiebean February 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm Reply

    Still, I wouldn't recommend killing a child. I feel guilty for running over carrier bags – but I'm not entirely convinced that's why I was in a funk. Should we start listening to funk in an attempt to get out of a funk?

  9. Jojiebean February 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm Reply

    Okay, for the record, I'm not promoting the killing of children. Or carrier bags. Or deer – although I could be persuaded on that last one.

  10. Jojiebean February 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm Reply

    Man PMSey – well at least you can admit it. Besides, I think it's all part and parcel of being a "creative" ahem. But you're right. Most of my stress stems from apathy – and I could do with breaking it down into manageable chunks.

    Chunks *are* always fun.

    Except in vomit. Then – not so much.

  11. Jojiebean February 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm Reply

    I once tried setting myself deadlines, but as it turned out, I wasn't tough on me when I didn't make them. And then I started taking liberties, and what's weird I didn't really seem too bothered by the fact I was taking advantage of me. So the whole thing just kind of went by the by. I need to hire someone to make me work and not procrastinate/get stressed/worry about killing inanimate objects by driving in the dark. Or a man with a gun.

  12. Jojiebean February 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm Reply

    LIES! You have a reputable website which has been online for ten years. HA!

  13. Jojiebean February 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm Reply

    I don't know when I started to feel so hostile towards deer. I think the film 'Bambi' might have something to do with it.

  14. Steven Chapman February 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm Reply

    You just need ChunkManager v.1.2, it's a great little program for chunky administration. It even comes with a trendy t-shirt with the company logo on it – "I manage my chunks with CM!".

    Can my man-PMS still be compared to PMS if it happens once a day??

  15. Rik February 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm Reply

    "Reputable"?!?!
    "Website"?!?!

  16. Megan-Best of Fates February 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm Reply

    Goodness graciousness – I feel stressed just reading about it! I think what you need is obviously some more post-it note dates.

    Or maybe that's what I need.

    Obviously SOMEBODY needs that.

  17. NickMB February 8, 2011 at 9:02 am Reply

    Yeah, I guess the terrifying looming threat of academics beating me up with tweet shoulder pads probably helps me get the business done. You could always form a group to impose some sort of NaNoWriMo-esque peer pressure deadline on yourselves.

  18. Suniverse February 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm Reply

    See, now, this is why you are a must stop when I finally have a free moment to either read blogs/write something worthwhile. I never seem to manage writing something worthwhile, but now I don't feel so bad, because you aren't, either, and since I think you're aces, I guess it's o.k. for me, too.

    Or maybe I'm just a lazy fuck.

  19. Jojiebean February 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm Reply

    Say it with post-it. Whatever it is. Even if it's"Please come and get beer with me". That should totally be their next marketing campaign. Supposing they even need one. I should get into advertising. This shit practically writes itself…

  20. Jojiebean February 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm Reply

    I'm a lazy fuck too. We should be neighbours. But you'll have to come to my house for coffee, because I can't be arsed…

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