I’ve been at an emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, moral, professional, and social low point for weeks. I’ve failed to really help myself during this period, partly because I didn’t feel a need to. This is unfamiliar territory, as I’ve never been challenged on so many fronts at the same time that I feel ungrounded in knowledge and identity and confidence—I’m completely “fightless”. I don’t intend to stay this way, but I think it’s important to document my state of mind for future reference. The concerns and questions and doubts I have right now may or may not be relevant after I’m through with this rough period.
- I feel restricted and insecure about planning anything due to my unpredictable schedule. I feel like I might as well not do anything.
- I barely enjoy talking with friends in this mood.
- I’m unhappy, but I don’t want anyone’s attention or to receive pity. I’d rather just suffer and be irritable alone.
- Receiving emotional support or validation seems pointless, because I cannot explain what is wrong. I barely even know what’s wrong because my concerns are so multi-faceted.
- I’m perpetually trying to distract myself from thought or responsibility.
- Injuries aside, I feel physically uncomfortable all the time.
- My hobbies are as unreliable as ever, and I’m not motivated to pursue any projects even though I have the time.
- I can barely act in my own interests. My daily routine has obviously fallen by the wayside.
I have just a few fragments about what might be going on.
- It is said that you should rely on discipline and not motivation. Although I’ve been experimenting with that idea, I don’t think it’s applicable right now. Taking care of myself might not be enough to lift this mood.
- In terms of practicing healthy selfishness, I realize that I have somewhat failed all along. It’s not enough to simply cater to your own preferences in a given situation. Selfishness needs to come from the heart. It should be “I’ll choose this and I deserve it”, not the feeble “I guess I’d rather…”
- I came across a pretensive blog stating that positive thought always precedes positive action. I know that this isn’t true, because I realize I’ve been hurting myself even when taking supposedly positive action. I need to be doing things for the right reasons and with the right attitude.
- I’ve been penpaling for three years, but I stopped this year in order to prioritize real-life interactions. I could be experiencing some sort of withdrawal symptoms, as it seems that writing to a compatible penpal makes me feel more confident and secure in myself.
- Some things I seek from friends include basic attention, social advice, discussions of ideas, emotional validation, cultural exchange, an interested audience for expressive works, and a safe place to cry/vent. Some of these things that I want are not accessible from my current support network, and it’s beginning to bother me.
- Emotional validation seems extremely difficult to come by, and I often settle for being laughed at in a benign way. If I’m unlucky, I receive pity and it greatly annoys me. Anyhow, it begs the question: if I can’t receive reliable external validation, should I be using self-validation somehow? If that’s possible, what incentive would remain for sharing vulnerability with friends?
- In terms of having someone to vent to and someone to be a willing audience to my works and projects, I can only put on my rose-tinted glasses and say that these are a work in progress. Although it’s not too hard to come by online correspondences that are willing to listen, I strongly feel that it would be far better for such interactions to be in person.
- “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” I came across this quote misattributed to Virginia Woolf. I’m completely guilty of avoiding life in the past few weeks. This thought led to me reading about avoidant personality disorder, and although I don’t think I have it, I do recognize these symptoms:
- Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
- Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
- Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations
- Is unusually reluctant to take personal risk or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing
- I’ve been sorting through a lot of my old stuff, especially from my high school days. I can see that I’ve always been trying to reinvent myself even since before my teenage years. Strangely enough, I’ve been having a lot of good dreams of acceptance and friendship in the context of my high school life.
- I learned a new term: arrival fallacy. It’s defined as “The false belief that reaching a valued destination can sustain happiness”, such as the belief that you’ll be happy if you just achieve your desired goal like losing ten pounds or getting promoted. I’ve been heavily gamifying my hobbies and self-development interests, and after achieving two significant goals I felt really down and purposeless the following week. I have a long list of things I wish to do, but when I pressure myself to move onto the next goal right after achieving one there is a sense of discontentment and inadequacy. My projects are all tainted with the underlying idea/motivation that I need to become a more cultured, well-rounded person, and that my social desirability depends on it. It’s a terrible burden, really. I need to learn to enjoy the journey and be comfortable with who/what I am right now.
- I need to stop comparing myself to others.
- Breakthrough: when people say “be yourself”, what they really mean is don’t try to be someone else. (I don’t think there is such a thing as “being yourself” in the first place.)
- I’ve been confused about the concept of pride for a while, including what a healthy sense of pride should be based on and why people can be proud of things they didn’t actually have to achieve. I’ve even been questioning why we should be proud of things we worked hard for. There are multiple reasons why I’ve been so conflicted about pride. I haven’t learned much about pride yet and its relation to self-esteem, and I felt especially insecure about my personal values when I was recently exposed to the idea that competence (and even factual accuracy) is neither good nor bad, morally speaking. While there is much left to clarify, I finally took the step to do some basic digging on the topic of pride. All this time I had been acting helpless while partial answers were a Google search away.
I feel a lot better having just expressed my thoughts, even though many questions remain. I’m finally done punishing myself and am ready to get back up.