Prioritizing Recovery

It’s been over seven weeks since I last blogged, and every day I feel guilty for it. While I know that the perfect is the enemy of the good, I often visualize and imagine how excellent my writing would be, if only I could get my mind to clear. But my mind has not been clear. I switched medications shortly after writing “Winter Freeze,” and lost about 45 days to two different medications that made me sleep all the time – a restless and fatigued sleep. I still wake up every morning shaking off nightmares, and I don’t know how long they will last – it’s already been years.

The blog brings me a lot of support, thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters, who have magnificently stuck with me when I go through my dry spells with writing. Deeper than this, I feel the same sense of guilt that was a part of my religious upbringing: there are thought patterns hard-wired into my brain that I wish I could manually adjust. Well, they can be adjusted, but it takes many months of dedicated and painful healing. What I’m trying to say is, there are better ways to motivate myself than with guilt, I am just unlearning how.

I have always been more than a little obsessed with productivity. It comes from the mentality that those who work hard will succeed, and hard work is a formidable virtue – at least, it was to the capitalist-colonizers who raised me. For me, this obsession with productivity has led to me exhausting myself and burning myself out, and it has taken the joy out of every activity that I can’t justify as “productive” somehow. Indecision makes me freeze up and struggle to do anything at all, no matter how much I would like to do things and enjoy them. Even my professional therapists sense my hypertension and encourage me to relax at home, recommending that I play games and do fun things, just for me.

Prioritizing my recovery would mean letting go of productivity, and that’s part of what has been bothering me over the past two months: living life is more than what we produce. I am still working on deeply believing that, and letting go enough to let myself relax.

This relaxation should lead to a more inspired Muse, a more creatively intrigued mind. In January, I went to the gym several times with a friend who can bring guests, and started practicing yoga at home. The pain in my joints and lower back isn’t miraculously going away, but the exercise is helping. Prioritizing recovery is about feeding the mind, and I’ve been challenging myself to read about writing and psychology, about the history I was never taught, and trying to regain that childlike sense of getting lost in a book over fiction. I also play brain-teaser games and study new mathematical concepts when I can.

My mind is not always clear. It’s clear less than half the time. Describing the fog that I’ve been in is almost as difficult as experiencing it. Thoughts spin, never landing, forming words into looping and illogical sentences, flitting from one subject to the next, constantly in anxiety over whatever I must do next, with a large dose of depression to make me feel numb and lifeless toward everything.

Prioritizing recovery means giving myself room to breathe, to exist, and to live a full life. I’m so thankful to the people who have helped me get here, and I think of you all every day, thinking of ways to write my thoughts out as clearly as possible – when my thoughts are clear enough to allow it.