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.
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?