Monday, September 28, 2009

In a Funk

Have you ever gone through one of those periods where you feel so crappy about yourself, that you feel like you just can’t do anything right? Where you feel so down about yourself that you’re at your happiest when you’re asleep?

I’m kind of going through one of those periods right now. I’m not sure what has caused it, but I sure would like to see the end of it now. In a way, I think I’ve been a bit self-indulgent about it, I think living alone for a long time can do that to a person. When you don’t have anyone to talk to much, someone to stick up for you and to even tell you when you’re being ridiculous, you tend to have a self-dialog that can spiral in the wrong direction fairly easily. I don’t usually mind being single, but it sure can get lonely sometimes, especially as I have little to no close family either.

When I get like this, I also tend to indulge in somewhat self-destructive behavior, like eating a lot of junk food and not exercising. And (of course) the worse my eating habits become, and the longer it’s been since I exercised, the worse I feel about myself and the more I want to eat inappropriately, etc. So that becomes a vicious circle that is very hard to break out of. I feel low, eat some comfort food, hate myself more, need more comfort food, really hate myself -- I’m self-medicating and the worse part of it is, I (obviously) realize what I’m doing, yet I still can’t seem to stop. Crazy. Vicious. Cycle.

Being around Ruby (and horses in general) and riding makes me extremely happy and very often will help me forget about all of this crap, but I haven’t even been out to the barn since last Wednesday! Part of it is that work has interfered a little bit, partially that I’ve had a bug that I’ve been fighting off and have not felt very well, partially because I was so disgusted with how poorly I was riding last week (causing me to hate myself even more) and a good part of it is just this funk that I am in. It is causing me to be in a serious torpor. I have a competition this weekend and there is no way I’m going to be even remotely prepared for it. I almost feel like I should scratch maybe, except that I’ll then hate myself even more if I do, I’m sure. After one unfortunate ride last week, my trainer told me that I’m really too hard on myself, that learning to ride (really ride) is a frustrating, life-long process and that she feels that I’m doing well and am right where I should be (given where I started) and that there are just some things that aren’t going to happen overnight. I know that I should cut myself some slack in this one regard, I know that I’ve only been back to it for a year after a very long absence and, from a distance, I am even a little bit amazed that I’ve been able to compete as I have. But when I come away from an hour on my horse feeling completely incompetent, it’s hard to have some perspective. I can intellectualize that I’ve come along way, that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but it’s hard to actually feel that way on an emotional level. I start to feel sorry for the horse too, like I’m not doing her justice at all.

I seem to swing back & forth between confidence and feeling like the most inept person on the planet at work too. Sometimes even over the course of one day. Sometimes I feel plugged in, that I am valuable and contributing significantly and the next moment I can feel like I’m completely clueless and a waste of space. I know that I let these negative thoughts take over my brain too much and that I’m also too easily affected negatively by the overconfidence of some of the people in the office around me. It’s almost like the more that I encounter this overconfidence in some, that my confidence lowers in direct proportion. I know that a lot of this is tied to the economic down-turn of the past year too. Things just feel so uncertain and sketchy and that makes me feel paranoid and unstable and (frankly) scared. Still, the work thing has been a factor for good while now, I don’t know why I suddenly feel worse about it. Probably I’m just in a more vulnerable state of mind and so it’s infiltrating my mind more because of that.

Maybe this is all just a matter of chemistry. I know that when I’m riding consistently (5-6 times a week) that I feel better. If I can manage some other exercise on top of that, even better still, although finding the time is rough. The endorphins and whatever other chemicals produced by the activity seems to keep me on a more even keel. Riding and being around horses also fulfills me beyond that on a more emotional level. I don’t quite know what the answer is, but I have to pull myself out of this funk somehow and hopefully make it a more permanent thing. Cycling endlessly through these periods has become rather old.

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