Cole Reid — May 15, 2020
Today I’m having an ‘of day’. For me, an off day usually starts with a bad night’s sleep or perhaps a lack of sleep. Last night I had a dream that my wife cheated on me with my brother. Yeah, weird…right?!
So I wake up, hit snooze on my alarm. Miss the first 10 minutes of my most productive two hours of the day (6-8am) and lay there dreading getting out of bed. I finally drag myself out of bed and into the shower. By now it’s 6:30am and my grumps are clear as day. My dog is unhappy, I grump at him. My wife senses I’m grumpy and I’m cold to her. I am generally all around miserable. I call this “the fog”. A younger me would not have even noticed this state for several hours or perhaps even days. I would have floated through my day in a cloud of grumps with nothing and no one off limit from my bad mood. I would find myself road raging at people driving safely, or audibly experating at colleagues in meetings I didn’t agree with or I thought were stupid. All the while binging on food and alcohol to subdue the unnoticed fog.
With a few more laps around the sun, I can now, most times identify when I’m in the fog and communicate it to those around me. I can also tell that just about every time the cause is one of two things. A lack of self worth or feeling unsafe. I can see how my dream mentioned earlier likely triggered both of these and it has made the fog extra thick.
The fog has a lot of side effects, but the worst is always a lack of productivity and drive and a loss of belief in myself. This makes tasks such as my current one; getting user feedback on TidyCloud almost unbearable. In the past I would have drifted towards YouTube or Reddit to lull myself into a false sense of safety and welcome by connecting with strangers and what they are doing in their lives. Today, instead of that I decided I would write about it as a way to break it down to its base parts and try to examine it in realtime. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.
I now know that, for me at least, the path through the fog is a two step process that also has a supercharger. The first step is acknowledging it and saying it out aloud to someone, usually my wife. By naming it for what it is, I believe it takes it’s power away. The second is exercise. By getting outside, getting my blood flowing and my heart rate up it flushes the physical manifestations of the fog out of my body. The fog may last for hours or sometimes days, but trying to be consistent with these two things helps to steer a course through it.
The supercharger is diet. Being cognizant of what I eat and making sure that I curb my desire to self soothe with food helps to stabilize my mental state through making my physical body feel the best it can.
Anxiety and depression can be hard but naming it and trying your best to be comfortable in the fog can really help get you through it.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill
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