Mental Malfunctioning

The dog days of summer are upon me, but instead of howling at the moon, I’m lying curled up in my bed without the energy or motivation to get to all these things I want to do. I’m making steady yet slow progress, but I can’t seem to get into what’s most important.

I watched a brief video the other day by Josh Davis, talking about “When to Skip Something On Your To-Do List,” and his advice is simple: If your mental energy doesn’t match the task, then stop. Put that energy where it’ll be most effective and come back to the other tasks when you’re mentally prepared to efficiently work on them.

But, see, this is where my mind starts to malfunction.

I’ve got a to-do list, and it’s pretty detailed just like I need it, but my mind is prepped for only half of it: the half that isn’t nearly as important or as high-impact as the half I can’t wrap my head around. Let me sit at the Wii or with an open book in my hand and I’ll go at it for hours (and I have, trust me), but open a math book or even consider working toward my research paper, and my mind shuts off.

But I can’t just keep skipping these things, or I’ll feel it in a bad way in a while.

Unfortunately, Josh Davis doesn’t say much about modulating our mental energy. How can we put ourselves in that perfect frame of mind so we can switch to the important tasks at will? That’s what I need right now, the ability to consciously match my mental energy to those things that are most important to do.

Instead I’m just meandering, imagining, being incredibly passive in an all-too-active world.

I feel stuck, to be honest. I feel like my mind isn’t mine anymore. I’ve mentioned in a few posts (not all of which I’ve published) that words feel like tar in my mouth lately. I used to be able to sit down and writing would leech all my thoughts in perfect time, helping me make sense of things all while weaving a coherent story.

Now it seems like if the words come at all, they’re either incoherent or numbingly dull.

And just about at this point in any post, it all locks up and I’m not even sure what I’m going to say next, or what I’m trying to say. It used to be I’d get to this point and my hands would fly on their own, fingers dancing across the keys while I was passenger. It was active, but it was passive; it was a balance of control on the edge, a true manifestation of meditation.

Now my mind is stuck at a perpetual writer’s block–that’s a full-grown road block. I want to exercise, but my muscles feel dumb and tight. I want to do research, but my brain protests. I want to sleep and my eyes stay wide open; I want to wake up but can’t crawl out of bed. It’s like I’m fighting a perpetual battle against myself and I just can’t win.

So I skip those items on my to-do list and I go back to what I’m good at. I finished a book last night, and at once started another. I finished one game the other day, and thinking I’d put that time into other things, I instead spent hours doing absolutely nothing.

I tried to write another story today. I had a burst of inspiration but it fizzled out. I want to try to write another story, one I’ve already titled Chronicles of Escalon, but every time I think of it, I’ve got no ideas left, not sure where I’d begin or what the characters would do.

So I don’t. Sometimes lately I’ve spun the Daily Prompts into inspiration for impromptu poetry, and I’ve found it helpful especially when they stir the right heartstrings and make me write about my fiance (Line Items, Disturb Me Not, and Escape Plans for example), which is a nice way for me to help promote our GoFundMe campaign, which I know is tied up in all the stress I’ve been under lately, but even then, it doesn’t seem to be helping.

Writing used to calm me, help me make sense of things. No they’re just empty words.

But they’re not exactly empty. Those poems I wrote, these posts I never publish, they come from places deep inside, not all the places I’ve seen, not all the places I know myself. But even then, even still, they’re just fractured fragments, not the whole story.

And for now, the whole story’s lying silent somewhere inside where I can’t see it.

So my mental energy is somewhere else than where I need, and my only known resources haven’t meant anything to me. It’s like all those comics of children digging holes to China. Sure, it seems possible, but first I’ve got to fall through all that fire to get there.

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