Sunday, June 29, 2008

DIARY 63 - The Rocks of Lethargy

What an odd week. Well, it's not the week that's been odd, just me. I've been so out of being my usual self at all, I'm not entirely sure who that person is. Time off work, you would think would allow me to do all the things I don't get much time for normally - like writing. Let's make the most of this space, eh!. Apart from a few blog posts, I really haven't wanted to do much of that. I've done basically bugger all, of a creative kind - which feels disappointing.

When I think about it, it feels OK. What I feel about it, is far different, a slightly less charitable voice (like a parent hectoring ) chimes in. On most Sundays and school holidays, when I was a teenager, you'd just want to relax,and unwind, but my Mother would come in saying ' Don't think you're going to lounge around doing nothing all day,young man, you can make yourself useful' and you'd be told what needed doing, and have to get on with it. I was rarely allowed to just idly dream for long. When I've reflected on my now 51 years of life,( for it was also my birthday this week ) all I can see in such unforgiving moments, is a life of 'making myself be useful' in order to keep that particular devil off my back. So a week of doing nothing in particular, can be quite a challenge for me. But, considering what else I've been enduring and absorbing over the last few weeks - lack of sleep, extreme shoulder pain, lethargy, disengagement, and a suicide - I guess, a little time off from being disciplined and purposeful has been needed.

I finished the course of Amitriptyline on Wednesday, and my sleep has been OK-ish. I wake up in the morning with extremely stiff, painful shoulders, but I do sleep. Also, our shower has finally been repaired ,after three months of feeble lukewarm dribbling. So now I can have hot water cascading over my tender joints, and it is sheer bliss I can tell you. I'm not completely over the shoulder problems yet, but there is discernible progress being made.

It was a week with recognisable halves. The first part, I felt low, self preoccupied and suffused with a sort of hopeless, yet, restless spirit. Everything about my experience felt tender, over sensitive and hence uncomfortable. I apologise to any friends with whom I spent time this week, if I was a little uncommunicative or emotionally distracted. I was often the former because of the latter. As ever, it comes back to very familiar terrain for me - what I'm presently doing with my life, is that the best I can do, or hope for, and is that going to be enough for me? To which I have a response which groans despairingly. I described my current feelings about my work in Customer Services, to my friend Saddharaja, as somewhat akin to a grass court tennis player, being forced to play on Astro Turf, very little seems right about it. Yes, you can play a game on it, but it feels somewhat alienated from a real life affirming experience. I often feel hampered like I have two left feet, and frustrated at not being able to play my best game. Yet when I assess what my other options are, I can't summon much purpose or enthusiasm from them. A life of just being 'useful' doesn't cut it any more. Other needs have to be in there too - for creativity, meaning, purpose and a basic sense of satisfaction to come from that. All I can sense at present is the absence of these. As Saddharaja commented, this wasn't a tenable situation to maintain even in the short term (which has been inordinately long) - something is gonna give - and it wont be the job.

The rest of the week? Well, there was a good day out with Jayarava in Norwich. Public transport was not a willing or a speedy servant that day, so it took us a lot longer to get to our desired destination - The Sainsbury Centre at the UEA, but, it was worth it. When I lived in Diss, I used to go there a lot to meet with a friend of mine. I've forgotten what an eclectic collection it is. It is so obviously a particular individuals choice and taste, of ethnic art, the archaeological artifact,and a smattering late 20th century artists. It was good to spend time with Jayarava too, he's always good company, with a lively interested mind and stimulating conversation. Though I wasn't perhaps always able to meet him on that level, as I struggled to keep my head out of the green slime of despondency.

Then there was my birthday, and the arrival of cards bearing store cards with money on them. So, I went out on Friday on a spending spree. Though David had already bought me two new shirts, I bought myself four more, plus three ties. Not that I really needed them, because I didn't really need them. I just felt like recklessly indulging myself in the distractions of retail therapy. I also blew a bit more money than I intended on a digital camera, as a present to myself. Though I enjoyed the thrill of this at the time, I felt afterwards, slightly guilty, like I shouldn't have done it, that I ought to have waited and considered more carefully what I could afford, or whether I should wait a while. But that is, largely, just that internalised parental voice again, telling me I've been indulgent and profligate with my money - and that I ought to feel ashamed. Though that puts it in perspective, there is still a background feeling that someone is going to come and tell me off,and withdraw my privileges, which hasn't particularly vanished.

David's been away on retreat this weekend. So I could do whatever I wanted - which was? - more of not a lot. A fair bit of pootling about on the computer, watching far too much 'really interesting' stuff on I-Player, and trying not to do things just because I think I should. When you take the 'should' away, I find there wasn't an awful lot left I wanted to do. Certainly I've been more easy going and relaxed, but definitely rudderless, and drifted towards, then repeatedly foundered on the rocks of lethargy.

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