Inspiration · Writing

The good news about crying for no reason and feeling utterly shit and listless

Sunrise

The last three days have been rubbish. (‘Rubbish’ being code for utterly, soul-sappingly crap).

Out of the blue, several times a day, I have found myself crying. For no reason other than the fact that I am deeply, to-the-core-of me tired. Not the kind of tired that goes away with a little more sleep. The kind of tired that drains your soul and leaves you pondering why you bother to exist.

It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. But the truth is, I’ve experienced this listless, why-do-I-bother-getting-up-in-the-morning depression many, many times before. And it always, ALWAYS, leads to good things.

Case in point:

This morning I got up at 6 am to sit in bed with a mug of tea and read. I do this every morning, only today I thought I’d read some motivational books to lighten my mood.

I picked up the first book, read a few lines and chucked it back down on the bed. No good. I picked up another, tried a few sentences and closed the cover with a heavy sigh. Not right.

After 15 minutes of this, I gave up.

It occurred to me that my brain didn’t want to take anything in. What it really wanted to do was GET SOME STUFF OUT.

So I found my A4 pad of paper and my favourite biro and I started pondering. I pondered how I would ever pay the bills and still have the time and energy left to write a second book… and then I pondered what that book would be about…

I started with a few bullet points. Some sketchy outlines. No actual paragraphs. But soon chapter headings started appearing and within 30 minutes, I had mapped out an entire non-fiction book! More importantly, I felt alive again. There was fresh blood pumping through my veins. And I remembered, Duh! this has happened to me before…

Every few months or so I will wake up feeling depressed and listless and nothing will shift the feeling. We’re not talking a ‘bad day at the office’. I will stumble around in a pointless, meaningless vacuum for up to a week, during which time I can’t see the point to anything. Including getting up in the morning.

And then, all of a sudden, something will shift. A startling thought will zap like a thunderbolt into my brain and give me a fresh new perspective, a new direction, a surge of turbo-charged determination, or, as in this case, an outline for a whole new book.

It’s almost as if the brain needs to dump some crap before it can make space for better thoughts. Like a forest fire which obliterates the trees but actually leads to new growth and a better ecosystem. Or the body vomiting or in order to get rid of nasty toxins.

This has happened to me so many times now, you’d think I’d remember when I start to feel low. But I never do. And the shift, when it comes, is always a total surprise.

That’s why I’m writing this post. If you’re going through a tough time at the moment – hang on in there. Maybe your brain needs to dump some crap that’s been poisoning you from the inside out… and it’s doing it for a great purpose: to make way for new, life-altering thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “The good news about crying for no reason and feeling utterly shit and listless

  1. I really like your ‘forest fire’ analogy — the fire destroying everything in its path is not good but a lot of new growth would never see the light of day without it. Yep, that image really works for me.

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  2. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful account of a very familiar process Katherine. The fresh blood pumping through the veins is a perfect way of putting the point of relief.

    A very wise friend once said to me that ‘after every breakdown comes a breakthrough’. Fortunately these words come to my mind earlier on in the process these days and shine their rays of hope on an otherwise grim outlook.

    Keep up the brave work girl. X

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    1. Amanda, thank you so much for your comment. It really means a lot to me to know that you identified with the post. Tapping away at the keyboard can be a little isolating at times – it’s good to know people are out there and have been through similar things!! x

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