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?