As a small peek behind the blogging curtain, I thought I would start with my thoughts going into this post. Partly I do so as a stalling technique. I have no idea what I’m going to write. Which is highly unusual for me.
Normally when I have a post in mind, my brain starts composing it far ahead of my fingers hitting the keyboard. I think about how I’m going to structure it, how I’m going to explain my take on something, how I’m going to convey my thoughts. And in so doing, I let my thoughts coalesce into something I hope is worth sharing about the topic, even if the topic is me, myself and I.
A month ago, I chose a different path to healing from depression than I normally would choose. Normally, and I use that term loosely, I would choose to either weather the storm and try to push through (often unsuccessfully) or I would shut down, drop some balls that I was juggling, and take time to “heal my busy mind”. Instead of my tried and true methods, I choose to say Fuck the Universe and ignore whatever signals I seemed to be getting and just plow ahead. Not pushing through the storm, not shutting down, more just ignoring it.
I realize in hindsight that it was kind of like “fake it til you make it”. I chose to behave as if I wasn’t depressed to see if I could fake my body out of the depression. I dressed it up a bit more than that, drew on a different form of internal energy (anger) than I normally do, and started blasting as if I was at the top of my game, not the bottom of a valley.
And it sort of worked. I knew it wasn’t sustainable in the long-run, I knew I was going to pay at least a small price for my energy burst, but for the first couple of weeks, it worked.
I re-started doing memes, and deliberately chose not to try and get a formal format that was uniform, coherent, formal. Instead, I went almost willy-nilly in choosing images I like, marrying them to old memes that I had done before, and sharing them. How did I do? Well, it is 30 days later, and I have produced 37 new memes and shared 28 of them. Almost every day I did one. Let’s see – 2 book quotes, 8 humour, 4 lunch notes, 2 music quotes, 12 quotes so far.
I also started working my way through a backlog of “comics of the day” that I have saved, and shared those too. About the same number of memes for the month, over 25. Almost one every day. Plus I sorted literally hundreds of other ones and filed them away…ones that I liked, but not enough to share at this point. [FtU #01 – The universe can go meme itself]
I also started pushing ahead on finishing a MOOC about metaliteracy, although I only did another week or two. I’ll finish the assignments, but I don’t care about clicking the boxes to get the note that it’s complete in the system. I can take what I want from it, write a few blogs, move on. [FtU #02 – MOOC this, universe] In the meantime, Jacob has been taking a coding course, and it got me a bit more interested in Unity. I found an online MOOC for programming in Unity and C#, downloaded and installed Unity and Microsoft Visual Studio, and completed the first couple of exercises (much like my high-school coding course, it starts with output commands to a raw screen to say something like “Hello World!”). It’s pretty basic, but that’s okay, I need to ease back into it. I also downloaded a whole whack of other learning materials too for coding, we’ll see how those go.
Finally, I broke down and reconstituted my astronomy hobby, chose hope as my passion and mantra, and tried imaging some astro targets. And I had some success. I rebuilt my astro log book in a Word doc I can use on my tablet, took a whack of images, tried stacking, reviewed some software. I threw myself into it. And it worked. Just in time for the weather to thumb its nose at astronomers here in Ottawa, but still, I’m back in the thick of it. [FtU #03 – My astronomy hobby – Here’s looking at you, universe!]
I had more activities planned, even though the astronomy took over more of my time than I expected (setting up a portapotty for the star parties, buying my son a scope, ordering some extra accessories, etc.). I had my birthday in mid-June, turning 51. I was even doing better at work, so much so that my boss even commented on it. I was producing more, volunteering more, being more “positive”. An online friend noticed too.
Except I also know that it was feeling a bit false, which is really hard to explain. I was doing better, but that isn’t the whole story. My energy lasted until just past mid-month, and then slowly started to fade. I knew it was coming, I fully expected it, but still, it’s a bit annoying. My wife was traveling for a week, so I was doing single parent duty, and that part was fine, although a bit more tiring. But even when that was over and she was back, I noticed my energy levels were down still. I was still faking my positive energy glow, or rather I knew it wasn’t completely the whole story. The foundations weren’t quite as strong as they were earlier in the month. I can’t keep up the same energy boost the whole month. I can kick in afterburners for a short while, but then they shut off and I have to rely on the boost to coast me through the rest of the month.
And as some form of gravitational depression started to drag on my trajectory, I let myself slide a bit the last few days. Which also gave me time to take stock. Blasting through a few barriers was fun, quick wins to give me more confidence, but I also know that I dropped a LOT of other balls to be able to focus on those quick win areas. Like my weight, eating healthy, etc. My weight has slowly crept back up in recent months, as I knew it would, and my A1C number rose slightly in there too. Not enough for me to panic or anything, but a reminder that the rocket boost was nice, but it was in areas that are not my core goals right now. Just nice ones to raise my quality of life for a bit.
But if I want to also improve my quantity of life, i.e. living longer, I need to get back to some of those other goals. I’ve got some ideas for my next “blast” for July. But I also need to get back into making my lunches for work, taking my snacks, etc. And working on a long-term health project in the basement.
I don’t know what the FtU campaign will look like specifically for July, but it starts tomorrow. Let’s see how I do. And maybe next time I write, I’ll know what I’m going to type before my fingers hit the keyboard.