A post exactly like one I would write out of boredom

Lately my lack of motivation and focus has taken what should be a concerning turn. Ordinarily, when I fall behind in multiple areas at the same time, I at least become concerned about it even if my burgeoning stress levels don’t compel me to behave pragmatically and try to rectify matters. Lately I’ve been more of a Peter Gibbons (protagonist of Office Space) look-alike, preferring to remain utterly irresponsible while wearing a sleepy grin and for the most part not caring in any meaningful way about the possible consequences. It’s like I’m in a train rolling down the tracks toward a second train sitting on the same tracks, with access to the brake, and absently intent on awaiting the exact nature of the collision rather than trying to avert it.

I think I set a personal record in October in terms of the largest amount of disruption in I caused in any 28- to 31-day calendar period to the lives and well-being of of people I know. There’s plenty of competition out there, including both May and October of 2001, but I think I outdid myself last month. Every day, I deservedly field e-mails I can only respond to with grand excuses, philosophical distractions, or other forms of arrant bullshit. Over and over, I remind myself that I should override any primal instincts I might have when it comes to successfully managing any future romantic relationships (inasmuch as these are in fact “primal”) and just rely on the competency of the flexor carpi muscles and tendons of my right forelimb when it comes to assuaging all related drives.

I could have parlayed the contract work I did this year into something that would have carried me through 2010, but instead dropped the ball and am looking for something else. A couple weeks ago, I was actually offered a fairly lucrative contract job with a textbook publisher, but when I responded by e-mail to accept, the sender admitted that he’d sent the offer out to more applicants than he should have and that he did not, in fact, have anything for me to do after all. It’s good to know that others in a position to deal are as worthless and unreliable as I am.

I also withdrew from the running-book project I accepted in August. I fucking hate writing about running these days and have had my lifetime fill of it. The few proposals I have made to magazines in 2009 have been so awful that I have literally laughed when sending them along to editors. My own running is in the tank, not that I care (October is my favorite running month and I basically did nothing last month), and I hope to never again have my byline in a running-related article. I still follow the sport at the level of genuine sport and have strong connections to the half-dozen or so I continue to work with, but beyond that it’s a past chapter of my life and I’m astounded that it was ever anything I could have taken seriously myself, people to whom a have a rabid, earnest, and unyielding commitment notwithstanding. I’ve chosen these athletes carefully and am fully invested in helping them.

These days I just make sure I get in about five miles a day on foot (by some combination of jogging and walking) just to get outside. It’s funny; I had a few periods this year where I started to rally thinking I would want to race as a masters (40-and-over) runner come next year, but these never lasted more than a few weeks. But in deciding that it was acceptable to abandon the idea of racing and just be one of these people who runs to avoid getting fat or to boost general health, I understood that I was deluding myself. I’m not out to impress anyone these days and it’s never been my goal to live to be old.

So, anyway. I hope you don’t expect to get back the few minutes you spent reading this.

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  1. #1 by OmegaMom on November 15, 2009 - 8:55 pm

    This type of overwhelming apathy to just about everything in one’s life is one of the most classic symptoms of clinical depression. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on. It’s not my place to suggest, but if it were…I’d suggest you go visit a family doc and talk this out with him/her.

  2. #2 by Norm on November 15, 2009 - 10:19 pm

    Hmmm, well I was just going to say that the rest of us are just as fucked up as you think you are. But maybe I’m just clinically depressed.

  3. #3 by kemibe on November 16, 2009 - 1:44 am

    OmegaMom,

    I’m sure you’re right, except that at some point in the near future this will all transform into hypomania and superficial glee, meaning that I might get only marginally more done while feeling markedly improved. It’s always better to feel good about energy expended on nothing at all useful than to submit to complete lassitude.

    I don’t have a doctor and with no insurance I can’t really afford to see one, and given my general mindset I wouldn’t bother anyway–people who are fucked up in terms of mood are more or less destined to be that way, and trying to avoid reality using pills and therapy is basically a waste of time and perhaps karma. People are who they are, and psychiatric medicine is a spectacular, if often well-intentioned, failure, at least when it comes to whiners like me who complain merely of being slackers and cynics.

    I do appreciate your thoughts, and if I throw something into the public domain, it is in fact your place to suggest anything you want.

  4. #4 by Gráinne on November 18, 2009 - 7:16 am

    This does bother me… clinical depression is a hard one to call, but the apathy is troublesome and loss of interest in something that you were previously passionate about such as running is particularly worrying. Not wanting to continue as you are doesn’t make you a whiner, but it might help if you could put aside some of the cynicism at least temporarily. Drugs work for some people but are hugely over prescribed. Therapy has gotten a bad reputation in a way from TV representations of people spending years on the couch…whereas CBT/REBT are more problem-based or active approaches which tend to work faster and don’t really bother with why you may behave a certain way-just what you’re going to do about it. There are even online/e-mail options e.g. http://www.abc-counselling.com/id88.html You just don’t have to feel this way. But when you’re in the hole, you feel like you can’t climb out and there is no other reality.

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