Off Days

Everyone has off days; days when they don’t really feel themselves. They’re unmotivated, less energetic than usual or sad for no particular reason. When you have a mental illness, every day can feel like an off day.

Two days ago, I found myself in a not unusual position.

You know that thing that sad characters do in movies, when they lean their back against a wall and let it slide down until they’re sitting, slumped, hugging their knees, head bowed, crying into their lap? I do that. I do it often. Perhaps there’s something about crying against a wall that gives the crier a [false?] sense of comfort, like having someone to lean on by having something to lean on. Perhaps that seems pathetic. Perhaps it is.

Or perhaps, to throw more psycho-analytical conjecture out there, people cry against walls because they’re hoping that somebody will hear them through it, and that person will come and offer them the real comfort they need. Or it could just be a coincidence. It could just be something I saw in the movies and replicated in my real life. Of course, this isn’t the point or the issue behind anything I’m trying to communicate in this post; I’m avoiding both.

In the last fortnight or so, my mental state has gradually been worsening. What happened is that before this regression, for a few weeks there it was as though I was struck by some sort of electric force. For the first time in years I felt motivated. Perhaps even, dare I say it, determined. And even though in the grand scheme of things this lasted only momentarily, it made a substantial difference to my mood and a notable difference to my self-esteem. For the first time in a long time I felt I was making progress, or was at least on the verge of progressing somewhere, to something better.

But now my mind is back to normal.
My mood has resumed its status quo.

The transition has felt much more dramatic than it is, as though I’m having a mental breakdown when I know for a fact, from experience, that I’m not. Probably not. My theory is that despite how fleeting my sudden peak of motivation was, despite it being an anomaly in my life’s general mood, somewhere along the way I think I forgot how normal it is for me to feel this bad. So now that I’m back to feeling this bad, it’s come as a bit of a shock to the system.

Ever heard of a ‘comfortable sadness’? Well it’s intensely uncomfortable right now. Every day, once again, is feeling like an off day. Every day I’m not myself, and what an awful way to live if you’re never yourself. It’s then so easy to forget who you are and start to question, ‘Surely however someone acts is whoever they are, so maybe this is me?’ Because how many days can somebody go ‘not being themselves’ before they become the person they are being, and people’s perception as well as their own perception of their personality changes?

You lose yourself (and not in the positive way, not in the Eminem way).

But the entire experience has made me recognise that surely it shouldn’t be normal to feel this empty day in and day out? I don’t want to go back to hating myself but I fear I already have. It’s already becoming impossible to get to sleep before 3am, like it had been before. And reading strains my concentration as it had done. But what changed to cause this? Did I do something wrong?

Now I have to try and put a positive swing on things because this is a blog, not a diary. Here goes.

The fact that someone can identify ‘off days’ is perhaps a good thing. It shows that they must be having on days to be able to distinguish between the two. My off days can’t have blended into one, because then I wouldn’t call them off days; I’d call them days.

Did that suffice? I hope so.
But nevertheless, perhaps there is something in that.