I am low. Low, low, low. Lowwwwwwwwwwww—no, that looks like “ow” with an L. Talking about being low is one of the things that can help fix being low, so here we are.
First, it is so boring to be someone who would be talking about this again. I cringe on your behalf. As the decades of life roll past, it seems as if this would stop happening, but no. At least it gets easier to recognize as A Low Time which is MASQUERADING AS a Ruined Wasted Life of Doing/Being Everything Wrong, and therefore has become somewhat easier to deal with. When I’m lying awake thinking of every way in which everything I’ve ever said or done has been in the very NICEST interpretation stupid and clueless, I can think, “Okay, there is no point thinking about this, now just stop it” before I continue thinking about it, instead of thinking I OUGHT to think about it, or that it is HELPING to think about it.
Second, I continue to find it useful to pretend someone ELSE is saying/thinking the same things, and deal with it THAT way. I am by temperament a Fixer, one of those people it’s good to prime with “Now, I just want to VENT to you about this, I don’t want SOLUTIONS.” If I pretend someone else is saying the floppy, discouraged things I’m thinking, then my mind immediately switches into Fixer Mode instead of cycling back around uselessly into more discouraged flopping.
Third, I continue to find it useful to ask what would make it better, even infinitesimally. Big things are too big, and too difficult: if a big thing is what it’s going to take, I can’t do it. But little things add up to a big thing. Drinking a glass of water is not too hard, and maybe helps a little tiny bit: one point for the actual inputting of the water, plus a second point for feeling like you’re doing something good for yourself, plus a third point for feeling like you’re making some progress on feeling better. Wiping a little spill off the counter is not too hard: one point for the actual wiping, one point for the improved household view, one point for not seeing that spill and feeling bad every time you walk past it, one point for feeling like you’re making a difference. Sending for a course catalog is not too hard. Eating a baby carrot is not too hard. Writing something down on the list is not too hard. Filing one piece of paper is not too hard. Turning on the radio isn’t too hard. Petting a cat or dog isn’t too hard, if you have/like a cat/dog. Peeing is not too hard, and can help considerably.
Fourth, I continue to find it useful to dabble / DO something. I picture it exactly like when someone in a movie is trying to start a fire, and they get the teeniest little glow and they immediately put all their energy into encouraging that little glow to survive and get bigger. QUICK, GIVE IT OXYGEN!! Any flicker of interest I feel in anything, I try to pursue it before it goes out. As I drove sullenly through town the other day feeling as if life were nothing more than a neverending cycle of pointless, tedious chores punctuated by pointless, stressful chores, I saw through the window of one of the shops a rack of what looked like postcards. I felt a flicker of interest. A feeling of “What’s the point? I have too many postcards already, and barely ever do Postcrossing anymore” threatens to put it out; a feeling of “It’s probably just greeting cards anyway” is the next threat, followed by a feeling of “It’ll just be awkward: I’ll go in and there won’t be anything I want or they’ll be greeting cards or they’ll be postcards but overpriced, and the owner will keep talking to me and I’ll feel pressured and the whole thing will be a bust and I’ll have wasted my time,” which needs to be shoved HARD away from that little glow. I will go to that shop today, when it opens. One point for satisfied curiosity; one point for getting out of the house; one point for a mission; one point for probable social contact, however brief; one point for feeling like I’m making progress on feeling better.