I’ve been struggling lately. It feels like the universe is either testing me or being mean just for the fun of it.
After months of trying to keep on top of a healthy, productive lifestyle and being confronted by medical conditions one after another, I finally got the spirit beaten out of me.
In my last post, I talked about rebellion week being like a vacation to recharge in. I thought that was going to be the end of it and I was going to rise like a phoenix from the ashes and soar to literary success (not by writing clichéd idioms in blogposts).
Alas, I thought wrong. What happened, instead, was the universe wasn’t quite done with me. I think I got hit by seasonal affective disorder (because I don’t know how else to explain it). In case you live in a tropical country and have not heard of this disorder, here’s a definition:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer. (Source)
Yes, I’m one of those rare people who are averse to light and sunshine. I keep all my curtains drawn and blinds closed 24/7. At least, that’s how it would go if Piers didn’t keep opening them back up again. In fact, I actually come alive in the winter when it’s cold and gloomy. Come summer, I get overwhelmed and antsy and feel drained just looking out the window which Piers would have exasperatingly left open.
So, after floundering for a while, I reread my journal entries and realised I had started losing sleep and feeling anxious and frustrated around the beginning of summer, which is why I diagnosed myself with summer SAD.
I would have a restless sleep each night and get woken up at 5 am by neighbourhood seagulls having a sell-out concert and it would be bright and hot and I would just wither and die.
I started hating morning yoga because it made me feel sweaty and awful instead of calm and peaceful. Somehow, my body felt heavy and sluggish. My mind refused to be still during meditation, which puzzled me for a while because I never had any problems with it even as a beginner. Without satisfying yoga and meditation sessions in the morning to ground me, I fell apart.
One day, I gave up trying and let myself go. I started playing iPad games again and reading novels all day long. I ate junk food, which only made everything worse. I got depressed, moody, mopey, angry, fearful, defeated, numb.
I started wanting to play MMORPGs again, those games that had taken over my life in the past. I have very treasured memories of playing with friends, enjoying hilarious adventures together, and needed to feel that again.
But I resisted because I knew I needed to be working on my novel instead of wasting time playing games.
Except I couldn’t make myself do anything. I wasn’t even enjoying the junk food I was allowing myself to eat.
After languishing for more than a week, each day getting closer and closer to giving in and going to Amazon where I could so easily one-click-buy a game and receive it the next day, a good idea suddenly came to me.
How about listening to podcasts for writers to help motivate me and distract me from the lure of video games?! I was in a funk so couldn’t make myself read motivational books, but podcasts were different. I could just put them on while doing mindless things like chores.
So I googled “podcasts for writers” and picked one among the top ranking ones with the most awesome name: Dead Robots’ Society. To date, they have released 454 episodes. I decided to listen to the very first episode made in 2007 because I like starting at the beginning.
I felt hopeful. I envisioned getting all inspired and then I would sit down and write something good and be back on track and happy again.
I pressed play.
Five aspiring authors were having a chat and the first order of business was introductions.
It went something like this:
“Hi, my name is so-and-so. Right now, I’m working on the third edit of my third novel, blah blah blah how it’s working out, blah blah, and in between all that, I’m playing All-Pro Football 2K8 on the Xbox.”
And then, the next person:
“Hey, I’m so-and-thus, and I’m still plugging away at my novel and also playing Baldur’s Gate.”
“The first Baldur’s Gate?”
“Yes, the first one.”
“Oh, god, that was sooooo good.”
“Oh, I know, right? It kicks ass.”
“Have you played the Icewind Dale games?”
Then 10 minutes of everyone talking about games.
Had I accidentally fallen into an invisible portal and been magically whisked into an alternate universe where an alternate me was listening to a gaming podcast?
Or was this mean universe playing more tricks on me?
I laughed at the perverseness of life (you know, like an insane person laughing out of the blue for no apparent reason) and then I went into Amazon and one-click-bought a game.
To be continued.