Autumn is a very ‘go’ season for me. I find it very difficult to stop at the best of times, as stopping generally means solitude and thinking, and I am not a naturally optimistic type. This means I generally consider neutral/negative outcomes to be more common than positive ones, so leaving me to my own devices means I broadly think in those colours.
It feels especially important to keep on truckin’ in autumn because Winter is Coming, and it needs a run up. The slow, deadness of winter is intolerable. Going outside is difficult and occasionally inadvisable (the weather person told me so). Energy levels are low. There’s not a lot to do but give ourselves headaches staring at screens and hoping for photos of illuminations or kittens wearing knitted hats. Or thinking.
A handful of people on my online feeds claim to have found their zen state, posting optimistic messages of hope and how they stop regularly to reflect on something. When I reflect, usually I’m doing so to get a sense of how much I’ve achieved in a timeframe (an important part of metalearning, which I’ve learned to do as a student).
I glossed alone time at the start of this post. As a shy extrovert, I find it hard to ask for time with my friends (‘why would they want to?’ whispers the monster in my head), yet alone time does little to recharge me. Many people I know are capable of sitting in silence for lengthy periods of time. Not me. My closest friends and partner have all commented on my inability to even sit still for very long. It takes a meaty conversation, activity or task to get me to do so. Insufficient stimuli makes me go into my head very quickly, resulting in my least favourite question on the planet: “what are you thinking?”
So I don’t stop. Where does this leave me? One big part of this is definitely my depression, which I still struggle with daily. Fortunately, my ‘crutch’ is quite a useful one in some ways – I have a lot of accomplishments, get on at work because I like to push through (even though I haven’t enjoyed my particular posting), and have a high endurance even when tired (which sometimes substitutes for resilience). But it’s also limiting. Not being able to stop means I’m frequently exhausted (and probably exhausting to other people).
To actually stop, I rely on others. Lighthearted socialising is my main source of respite. This may be why I am so into games, and ‘after-school clubs’ – that is, my evening classes (right now those are Japanese and Improv). Lucky for me, too, that my fiancé is particularly good as someone to rest my head on when I need to if I don’t have the energy.
However, this means I’m not confronting anything. It’s fine to run full-tilt at life. One of the excuses I use, that you only get one life (also known as YOLO, but I’m avoiding the trashy sense of the term), is laudable – but not the whole truth for me.
So this winter I will make an extra effort to sit with some of my uncomfortable thoughts, but also be a little better about asking for companionship. Hopefully in so doing, I’ll form some healthier mental habits.