I slept like ass, so I took a sick day today. I probably didn't need to—I could have gone to work and pretended I knew what I was doing—but it seemed like a better idea to stay home.

And, really, if you look at how little sleep I've gotten in the past week or so, and how disturbed my sleep has been, it's little wonder I've been feeling depressed recently. When I don't get enough sleep, I feel powerless and worthless.

I know I'm neither of those things, but when I'm sleep-deprived, my emotional reality doesn't match my rational reality. It becomes much easier to string together a consistent narrative of failure, of not doing enough. Things at work are way behind and it's all my fault; I don't spend enough time with my partner; I have a million house projects that I've not completed; I haven't seen any of my friends in too long; none of my creative projects are coming together; I can't sit and focus on one thing for more than two minutes.

I'm not smart enough, socially-aware or friendly enough, hard-working enough, politically active in the right ways, sufficiently creative ... just not good enough.

I can't [exercise the modicum of self-control required to] go to bed on time every night. Instead, I stay up and play video games. I don't [have the discipline required to] exercise regularly. I eat poorly because it's expedient and I'm making a tradeoff[I make poor decisions], and then feel bad about it afterwards.

But I know that's bullshit. It's bullshit because:

  • I'm writing this blog entry. That's producing something and honing my writing skills, even on my "sick" day off. [Fuck you, depression. I'm doing something right now, as I type this, to make myself feel better.]

  • I spent a good chunk of this weekend learning Rust by trying to create a game, and I'm forming and writing down my opinions about Rust. I may not produce any shippable software, but I will have learned something new, and I can share what I learned with others.

  • I saw my parents this weekend, and laid the groundwork for a significant conversation later. My parents aren't my friends, exactly, but they definitely count as an important social interaction.

  • I played some Stellaris this weekend, and finished Frog Fractions 2, both of which were things I was looking forward to. Even if they weren't "productive" tasks in their own right, they're still a valid way to take care of myself.

  • I have an OmniFocus reminder to eat veggies and such regularly. I'm even pretty good at following it. I also mostly only drink water (and mochas, but again, tradeoffs ;) ).

  • For my 1:1s at work, I take my folks on walks when possible, rather than sitting in a conference room. That's an extra 2-3 hours of walking per week.

  • At work, I'm pushing myself to learn new social and leadership skills, both of which are areas where I feel I've been historically weak (Boy Scouts notwithstanding). I'm making a lot of progress, and my coworkers have noticed and commented on the difference.

  • At work, my team and I are tackling our most ambitious project ever. Yes, progress is slower than anyone would like, but we're learning a lot along the way, both technically and about project and self-management.

  • I've recently gotten more involved with my local community, since I'm helping our HOA with their newsletter.

So I'm not doing bad at all, not on the whole. I'm not on solid emotional ground, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not doing bad. Everyone I know, at work or at home, or wherever, needs to take the occasional sick (or even "sick") day. Nobody can be on 100% of the time, and nobody can be expected to deliver creative output, consistently, over a long period of time. (A very few people can, and I envy them.)

There are plenty of things that are legitimate problems I need to work on, like getting enough sleep, or that occasional feeling of dread that crops up in response to various social situations. (That social anxiety-thing really fucks with me sometimes.) And a lot of those things are the seeds for the kind of runaway negative self-talk that leads to me feeling depressed. There's absolutely more that I could be doing.

But I need to take time to explicitly remind myself that even though I spend so much time focused on problems, there's a lot to be grateful for, and there's a lot I can be proud of.

Otherwise, I'll have more days like today.

— Des


deskitty: Angry pouncy siamese cat head (Default)

August 2018

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