Exhaustion 1/n

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I’m tired and am staring at this screen like it’s a window.

About two weeks ago I experienced a particularly low period. Some days I was sleeping nearly 12 hours, but could have slept more. There is a line you can cross where the sleep becomes more exhausting than restful. I managed to do the few tasks required keep my life on track, but anything beyond that was non-trivial.

I’ve since come out of that low, but I find I’m drained.

Part of pulling myself out of the hole involved sticking to a schedule. If I was going to sleep for 12 hours, it would be at night, in one shot. No afternoon naps. It’s too easy to fall into the pattern of sleeping all day and being restless all night.

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If I choose to keep the door closed, my office can be quite private. Even if all I could manage during the day was to answer emails, I could do it from my office – ensuring I left the house a little bit each day while the sun was out.

The narrow windows of my office face North, staring at the frosted gray of the nuclear reactor. But if you prefer, there is a sliver of window that just catches the periodic flow of students moving between classes.

Through repetition, these things required less and less mental energy to perform. If I can keep a schedule during a low period, I can limit how much it affects me. It’s like when I used to do bike races; you would eventually hit rough patches, but you needed to keep pedaling. And when you finally felt good, you needed to keep pedaling.

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Despite feeling much better, I still find it hard to motivate myself to do work or focus on anything one thing. Instead of throwing myself into my graduate work, my mind wanders to anything but that. I find myself sitting in front of windows. I’m not looking at anything in particular, so long as whatever I’m looking at isn’t where I am right now.

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This is different from what I was feeling before, and I don’t know how to push through it. Last week I tried letting my mind wander and indulging in a few short work days and some crafting (this week I carved rubber stamps). I tried spending time with friends (in Toronto on Saturday to see my friend’s band, Boonie). I tried spending time with family (watching my mom curl one afternoon with my dad)…

I don’t know. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this and I’m sure it won’t be the last. If I could force myself out of this slump I would. But right now, staring out the window is the only thing I want to do.

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