Yesterday I got a crash course in doing versus thinking about doing.
Over the holidays I acquired a road bike and yesterday I took it out for a spin. In the first five minutes, I was exhausted. Yes, I live in a hilly neighborhood, and yes I have not climbed a hill on a bike in quite some time, but I was a bit disappointed. And then I laughed. Wanting, thinking about, and looking at the bike was not the same as getting on the bike and riding. The idea of getting fit and being able to keep up with my fiance on the bike are nice ideas, but none of them happen in the “thinking about doing” realm.
Over the last few months, I have been quiet, trying to re-calibrate my brain. It was an enforced “time out,” that set me back on my plans and dreams a bit. And today I’m in the process of rebuilding the momentum I had before I slipped into a self-inflicted holiday depression. There was way too much thinking going on. Thinking that was not productive or positive in any way. And I listened and was partially paralyzed by the onslaught of chemicals that have been wired up to respond to such thoughts with much anxious energy and restlessness.
Really the answer to some of my issues would have been JUST DO IT, if I could have gotten there. But I simply didn’t have it. It’s not that I suddenly got lazy or started sleeping in. But some part of my mental-physical complex structure got out of balance and I stressed myself into paralysis. And when the adrenaline and cortisol start flowing, there’s a pattern that emerges. I hibernate. I hide. I run from problems that would be much easier to “just do,” but I can’t.
Again, thinking about doing something, is not the same as doing it. When I actually had to explain to a friend, or therapist what was going on in my mind, I was often at a loss for words. What I was staying out loud suddenly sounded so silly. The ideas that were ruminating around in my mind with vicious ferocity seemed so bizarre when I tried to articulate what I was thinking. And when I tried to explain why I wasn’t doing something I knew I should do, I only had one phrase, “I don’t know.”
I’m coming out of my illness and beginning to feel my hopefulness again. But I’m not able to climb a quarter-mile hill right out of the gate, my first five minutes on a bike. It takes some time to build up to that. My friend who sold me his used bike said, “Start out in the flats, build up to it.”
Some of you may know I’m writing a TV series from the “divorce” writings and struggles of a single dad. And today I’m planning, strategizing, and imagining the third (and finally perfect) version of my script. But I’m not writing it. I seem to think there is more planning to get done before I jump back in. But I’m pretty sure, I’m just scared.
Putting my butt in the chair and opening the script editor is the only way to make progress. Yes, I have a collaborative partner who has been hard to get a hold of, but there are plenty of scenes I can write without his next input. But I’d rather imagine it.
Sort of like my depression. I could imagine all these things happening. But when I actually had to talk about, to put it out there, it suddenly seemed absurd. Some of my depression is simply absurd. Some of my coping mechanisms are dysfunctional. And still, I do them. I hide, withdraw, isolate, even when I know this is the opposite of what I need.
I want to be fit and healthy. But I’d rather read about it, than do it. It’s easier to join a gym then it is to actually show up. Sure the roads around my house are hilly, but that’s why I walk them. A lot.
To give myself a short pat on the back, I did continue to go out the front door and climb the hills around my house even when I didn’t “feel” like it. And even the “flat” walks have a substantial number of hills in them. Thinking about it now, I can recall times when walking up the hill I wanted to ride up yesterday that I felt how tired I was.
I am getting on the bike again. I am blogging again. I am writing the script this afternoon when I get home from work. It’s a matter of taking steps. Steps that can only be taken by stepping out the front door and actually engaging in the physical or creative process.
I love to dream about my TV series. It’s harder to simply keep writing it.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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- The Training and Education of a Reluctant Divorcé
- What You Can’t Tell Your Kids After Divorce
- The 3 Immutable Laws of Co-Parenting
- Back to School and Summer’s End for the Single Dad
- The Transcendent Single Father
- Dear Non-Custodial Dad: Here’s What You’re Getting
image: the black cat of my depression knows I’m just not doing it, cc 2016, john mcelhenney, creative commons usage
This Post Has 2 Comments
I’m really, really glad to see you surface. I wondered what was going on. As it happens our parallel lives apparently were struggling with the same blues that only the holiday season can inspire. Glad to hear you getting back in the saddle. I totally get what you mean about the inspiration to lift you out of the doldrums seeming absurd in so many ways. That inner narrator really doesn’t serve very well in the difficult times. You’re not alone friend. And I’ll be joining you on your next ride albeit from a different time zone. Thanks for putting up the beacon of your lighthouse again.
Hey DW! Thanks for the kind words. Holidays are often hard, this one was particularly rough. I was unprepared for how deep my rabbit hole went. Thanks for your comment.