Suffering from the zero-motivation blues

Heather SkompHow to Get What You Want in Life, Things I Learned Today

You know it’s funny, I’ve been having the weirdest month. I’ve been lethargic, unmotivated, and generally feeling malaise (hence the lack of posting), and I had little idea why. I was feeling anxiety in the mornings for the first time in a long time. Waking up after having bad dreams, and feeling fearful, even though there isn’t any imminent, or even foreseeable danger (except maybe Donald Trump getting elected). Admittedly, I’ve been getting depressed over my Dad having to go into a permanent home for Alzheimer’s at 75 years old, still fighting fit and therefore probably going to live for another 20 years even though he’s not my Dad anymore, and I was worrying about my Mom being alone. And now she’s worrying about money for the first time in 50 years, since none of us anticipated this kind of potentially lengthy drain on the family savings. So it’s not like I didn’t have things to put some big downers on my life.

But these things were nothing new. My Dad has been going off the rails for a while, and I’ve cried a million tears already. My family has been falling apart for the last few years; this was just another break in the foundation, albeit a big one, admittedly. But there was something else going on, something that was making me feel much worse than what made sense.

My thoughts kept spiraling downwards. I would wake in the morning wondering why I should bother with anything I was doing. I mean, who really cared anyway? Work has been slow. My volunteer activities have been going slow. Motivation to do anything had completely deserted me. I took up a new project of video captioning, which has its own surprises and benefits, but other than filling the time and earning some extra coin, and learning some illuminating facts about evolutionist theory, Bitcoins, African cartoonists, and the disgusting things white people did in the 30s, it hasn’t given me a huge amount of satisfaction. Even though I’m enabling millions of hearing-impaired people to be able to enjoy 70s episodes of Family Feud for the first time (long live Richard Dawson, you old perv), overall, I still felt… pointless.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking ACK! DEPRESSION!, but that’s not it. Whatever is going on with me isn’t that serious. But it is depressing. 😉

My mind was reeling. I was feeling like I wasn’t contributing anything in the world and all I was doing was existing for nothing and getting older and older and if I’m contributing nothing now what’s it going to be like when I’m 65 and if I keep on this road I could conceivably have contributed nothing for over 20 years and if I even get that far then what I’ll die broke and miserable and crazy and OMG WHAT SHOULD I DO? I’D BETTER DO SOMETHING!!! ANYTHING!!

And it was at this point that things started to get radically unnerving, because I could feel my mind wanting and trying to make decisions based on these rather awful feelings.

Things like: should I move back to a bigger town with more coaching opportunities, even though moving would be a giant pain in the arse? Or should I go back to corporate America just because I’d feel like I was doing something, even though I’d be living dead, and would probably rather be literally dead? Should I start searching for yet another career, since I’m not doing as much coaching as I had imagined/hoped for? Should I take a Javascript class? And if I did, what would I do with that? Should I take an astrology course? Then I could at least predict when I’d get out of this mind-screw I’m in.

Thankfully in spite of my listlessness, my overwhelming lack of drive… well… overwhelmed any potential action I might have erroneously taken.

What in hell is going on?!??! I am the QUEEN of action. So why do I feel like doing nothing, even though I’m hating every minute of it?

So, I did what I am always wont to do, and that’s look up stuff online. I mentioned I like astrology… well, it turns out Mars is retrograde right now, and has been since April 17. Gah!

Now for those of you rolling your eyes, you can quit reading now, because none of what I’m going to say next is going to excite you in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, it will probably annoy you, and none of us needs any of that slop right now, not with Mars retrograde and all.

But for those of you who are interested, or at least have a marginal twitch of belief in these sorts of things, Mars happens to be the planet of DRIVE. And when a planet goes retrograde, all the things that the planet rules slides into a pile of smelly sloth. Which, not so coincidentally, would explain my appalling lack of motivation to do just about anything right now. The biggest desire I have right now is to procrastinate. And, funnily enough, my last post was written at the beginning of May, not too long after Mars went retrograde. Hm.

Anyone else feeling a slowdown in the area of “gotta get things done”? Well, if you’re not, I’d be surprised. But if you’re feeling irritated, short-fused, and basically ready to rip some butts except for the fact that you can’t be bothered, you might be feeling the effect of Mars retrograde.

Now, having said this, Mars retrograde is not to be considered an excuse. One can’t get away with doing nothing at all during this time, and I certainly haven’t been sitting around napping and drooling on my couch cushions for a whole month. I’ve been taking care of my work and volunteer responsibilities, endlessly fighting the weeds in my yard, and telling George how cute he is at every possible opportunity. On top of that, I’m gearing up to leave in a couple of days for a two-month sojourn in the RV. Colorado and Ohio, here I come! But, for me, it does explain my heretofore inexplicable lack of desire to do anything.

I just haven’t really enjoyed doing any of it, like I normally do.

Still, truthfully, even knowing the origin of my inertia didn’t make me feel much better. Knowing that it will pass (come onnnnnnnnnn June 29!) doesn’t always make the RIGHT NOW any easier. I mean, tell me Iyanla Vanzant, what am I supposed to do in the meantime??

And this particular meantime, for me, is jolly uncomfortable. So what I decided to do, in true Virgo fashion, is analyze it to death. I started with my morning anxiety. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been experiencing waking up and feeling… I don’t know… not dread… but … some kind of… well, I guess it’s anxiety. But I don’t like using that word because so many people associate it with fear, and that’s not what I was feeling. Well, not in the traditional sense. I mean, I’m not about to be kicked out of my home, nor is there a bear or a rapist outside waiting to maul me. But I suppose it could be fear, considering I keep waking up and feeling horrible at the thought of my parents not being around anymore. Not having them to lean on anymore. Not having that shelter during the storms of life. I guess it’s scary.

But once I get out of bed, it dissipates. Gone. I get on with my day, even if it is full of episodes of White Collar (now what IS depressing is I just found out Matt Bomer is gay! I would never have guessed in a million years! I’m still in shock, not to mention disappointment. Another one bites the dust. Sigh.). But I get on with it.

Still, I really am not enjoying these morning downers. Is there a way to get rid of them?

Well, apparently so. And, ironically, for me, it turned out to be something painfully simple.

A few years ago I was having trouble sleeping. Now normally, I sleep very well. At the time, I was going through a typically stressful period: the process of completely changing my life. That’s never very easy, so I put my erratic sleeping patterns down to that. I did some research online as to some possible non-medicinal remedies for sleep problems, and found that taking magnesium tablets often helped. And at that time, they did.

But as things eased up, I stopped taking them. I didn’t need them anymore, as the stress in my life gradually gave way to the open road. And new stresses, but those new stresses didn’t seem to stop me from zonking out every night. In fact, I think they made it easier to escape into the blackness.

But now here I am, for the last several weeks experiencing the same kind of sleep problem. But not the same kind of stress. I’m not really under any kind of stress (except some emotional stress, but that doesn’t keep me up at night). So why was I waking up feeling so awful every day?

Well, it just so happens, I’m on a diet. I mean, I’m always on a diet, but I didn’t realize quite how radically my diet had changed over the last few years. I don’t eat any processed foods or sugar (except the very occasional piece of chocolate cake), no dairy, no red meat, no grains, no coffee, no bread, no nuts or seeds, no fruit. In the last few weeks particularly, pretty much all I’ve eaten is chicken, fish, and vegetables. And I don’t mind, I like eating this way. But with the exception of a couple of meals out with friends, that’s really about it. Oh wait, I do eat nuts in the form of cashew and coconut milk in my tea, but that’s it.

But do you know what that also means? No magnesium.

When I started to think of the magnesium I had taken before, I began to wonder if I was getting enough magnesium in my diet now, especially since I’ve cut out so many foods for one reason or another.

Turns out I wasn’t. Not even close. Who knew?

So I dug out some of the old magnesium tablets I still had, and started taking them again. I began yesterday. And you know what?

This morning I woke and had no anxiety. I couldn’t believe it. It was the most restful sleep I’d had in weeks!

It’s amazing how your body can make you crazy. I suppose I should know this already, but I’ve never experienced the hormonal effects that some other ladies do, so thinking my body could be affecting my mind was not my first go to for answers. Something as simple as mineral deficiency was news to me. Especially to the me that is chronically fighting a weight problem. You’d think it would be more like mineral surplus.

At any rate, I’m not a dietician, and I’m certainly not suggesting that magnesium is the cure to all sleeping or anxiety ills. And maybe that’s not even what solved my sleep problem and it was just luck. I guess we’ll see. I’m just relaying what happened to me. So why am I telling you? Because it feels good to write again, even if it’s a post that doesn’t have much direction or point.

So. Two problems solved! Not bad for a month of doing seemingly nothing.

And if you’re suffering from the zero-motivation blues like I am, just know that these feelings will pass. June 29! Or, sometime in the future. 😉 In the meantime, just take small steps. Work on something that you know you can finish, with the least mount of grinding effort. That’s the great thing about small steps – they’re easy.

What’s next? Well, I leave on Thursday for Colorado. I admit, I am looking forward to seeing how Boyfriend handles the Beast. It will be their first outing together. So I guess that’s next. I’m hoping a change of scenery might shake me out of this mental mud I’ve been in for the last few weeks. But if not, I’m sure writing about it will help me in the meantime.

Especially since “doing” doesn’t.

Until next time!