Saturday, March 24, 2012

Surviving the Land of Do-As-You-Please

Let's lay it right out; when my internet activity diminishes or goes away during the time between mid-January and the end of March, it's due to seasonal depression.

That said, I haven't been unhappy. Right now, my life is better than it ever has been, and the continual sense of being just at the start of something is a big part of that. The difficulties I face aren't of the, "Will I have a place to sleep?" variety. They are of the, "What kind of sheets do I like?" variety. I don't want to seem like I'm bitching.

I have been working every day, but I haven't been producing work that I care to share. In previous years, I would have said that I was completely frozen, when in fact I usually do put in the time. It's just that I don't like what I do.

At this time of year, I'm critical of myself and my work to a degree that is distinctly pathological. The missus recently gave me a copy of a well-reviewed book on the application of neuroscience to decision-making. I got a third of the way through it before my grousing became audible.

"This isn't any better than the crap I've been throwing away!" I said, and then it hit me that yeah, this probably wasn't any better than the crap I've been throwing away, which probably wasn't crap and which I probably shouldn't have thrown away.

This is the kind of thing that's hard to deal with. There is a symptom of mental illness called, 'grandiosity.' I've got it. My sense of self it both grossly inflated and distinctly insufficient, and the fact that I have very real and extraordinary gifts and deficits makes it fucking difficult for me to get a bead on myself.

I could look at a number of different areas in my life and say, "Yes, that is stressing me out. Yes, that is stressing me out." But unless this condition persists into April, there's no reason to assume that I'm dealing with anything other than seasonal depression. And while the symptoms are not fun, they are not threatening me, and my overall quality-of-life is wonderful.

Let me put it this way.

You'll hear me making rude noises about The Lord of the Rings from time to time, but I am by no means resistant to the charms of Tolkien. There is a lovely story he wrote called Leaf by Niggle. In it, near the climax, the protagonist, Niggle, has worn himself completely out in his struggles to be a good and productive member of his community. He's laying in bed, listening to his case being discussed by a number of rather intimidating voices. Then one of them makes a suggestion.

"Perhaps we should try the gentle treatment."

I feel as if the world has decided to see what happens if I get what I want for a change. It is not just one area of my life; there are basic parts of me that I have assumed were broken or missing that are now undergoing radical healing. The great fears in my life are diminishing, and while my future is problematic, it is far from hopeless.

Here is the thing about being a late bloomer. You really get a chance to appreciate it.

And thusly, I finish an unsatisfactory, somewhat insipid and pointless post. But I'm here! I'm alive! And one day soon, I'll write something sensible and of interest, I promise.