Writing My Way Through the Tough Stuff

I struggled yesterday. I felt more depressed than I’ve been feeling on a day-to-day basis. All day, my mood felt pretty low and I had trouble focusing and being productive. Although it just came to me now, one of the culprits was likely the fact that I yet again got contaminated with corn the night before (Wednesday night). Consequently, I slept poorly, I had a large and painful hive on my tongue, my body was achy all over, and I was feeling emotionally defeated due to the reoccurrence of what will be another health setback as this contamination works through my body. Even though it was less than twelve hours after the offending event, yesterday morning, my head was too foggy and my thinking too impaired to recall the contamination and properly attribute much of my struggle to that aftermath. Instead, I wandered around aimlessly and listlessly, clutching my swollen joints, poking at my tongue in front of the mirror, and limping in a cast shoe because my ankle was too immobile to use a regular sneaker. I had to take the entire afternoon off from work and I squandered that “free time” by writhing around on the couch trying to find something distracting to watch on TV to no avail.

This perceived sloth and laziness made me feel useless and down on myself. It didn’t help that there was a constant drizzle all day, so there was no radiant heat from the sun drenching the living room. Instead, the house was cold and dreary. In the interest of curtailing my litany of self-indulgent complaints there, I’ll refrain from delineating the other pains and struggles of the day. In sum, it was a tough day physically, mentally, and emotionally. Though my mood was somewhat soured by my physical pain (which fails to satisfy one of my main goals of late), I was primarily depressed because I felt frustrated that I was re-contaminated while still suffering the consequences of the one ten days before and I felt upset about that problem at large (my autoimmune struggles and food allergies).

In hindsight, I also had been thinking a lot about my parents’ divorce in the early morning and our old house, which are thoughts that aren’t that conducive to breeding a happy mindset for the day. That’s not to say that it’s better or healthier to ignore those thoughts and feelings, as denial and avoidance carries plenty of other negative consequences, but I just have to limit the frequency and extent to which I perseverate on emotionally difficult topics, much like I was noting about therapy’s problematic impact on my mood.

Writing about tough memories, realizations, or emotions is cathartic for me, though sometimes it takes time for that benefit to come to fruition. Initially, the mental exploration and emotional release and exposure of baring my feelings can cause a setback or a decline in my mood and mindset. However, the rebound effect is always positive, and lifts me back out of that temporary lull, past my starting place, and into a more ideal place of improved psychological state. It can be unmotivating or unadvisable to do this “therapeutic writing” when I’m already depressed or emotionally fragile (perhaps teetering on the precipitous of a bad depression) because of the risk of the initial setback in mood. Some degree of judiciousness must be exercised when deciding how much “work” I can take in exploring tough subjects when I’m in one of those unwell states. I’m still learning how much I can push versus how much I need to coddle myself and avoid exposure to difficult topics when I’m already down and out. Again, because the eventual benefits of the writing I do are so favorable, it’s often still the best choice to push through and think and write, so long as I can handle the intermediary slump.

I should note that the writing I “publish” on my blog is only a selection of the writing I do and that I’m referring to. While many of my blog posts are personal and explore buried or confusing thoughts and feelings, I tend to keep most of my more sensitive and “therapeutic” pieces private. After all, there’s only so much vulnerability I can tolerate; moreover, I doubt anyone else (except maybe Ben) cares to read my innermost thoughts, fears, and pains. I like to think that some of my posts are informative about autism or the other conditions I write about or relatable in some human way, so I don’t want to lose potential readers by congesting my feed with many highly personal posts that likely don’t speak to a greater audience or general population.

I hope today is a better day. Unfortunately, I’m actually feeling worse physically. My tongue hive has popped, so my tongue is raw and exceedingly tender (tongues are so sensitive!). I’m running a little fever and I’m still achy all over. The nausea hits me in waves.

However, despite a bad headache, my brain feels a little clearer and like it is operating closer to its normal capacity. I slept just as poorly as Wednesday night, so although I’m exhausted, the improved mental clarity gives me a glimmer of hope that I can have a more productive day. This should help me avoid the pit of doldrums I couldn’t climb out of yesterday. I’m committed to putting on my bravest face and pushing through the obstacles that threaten an easy day. The good news is that it’s Friday. That alone is a welcome treat.

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