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The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

It’s That Time of the Year Again…

… where I feel intensely stressed and dissatisfied with my life. Excellent! :)

No, I am not mad. Crazy and insane at times, but not totally mad. However, I do welcome this sort of mood with arms wide open. Although the run-up to the crisis (my way to call the moment when it all comes to a head) is usually long and smooth (mostly I don’t notice it), the crisis itself usually starts with a ‘hibernation period’ which is a period of time (sometimes this lasts a day, other times several months), where I cannot get myself to do anything. Today, I was going to clear a couple of shelves in the lounge in order to keep all my DVDs in one place. I was going to clean out the spare fish tank I have and put it on gumtree for someone to buy / get free (I haven’t decided on this one yet). I have three piles of clothes that need to be hung up, photographed, and uploaded on ebay with a description so mouth-watering that someone will have to have them! — so I was going to do that today, too. I have a box full of cosmetics with the same purpose in life — again, one of today’s tasks. I am putting together a parcel for my best friend from Slovakia whose birthday is rapidly approaching and I was going to book the couriers today. I was going to go to the gym and have a swim, followed by a sunbed session. I was going to call my mum for a chat.

This is what I actually managed to do today: I called my mum.

Yes, that’s it. The rest of the time was spent thinking, being gloomy and angry, eating, wasting time online and sleeping. I would sit on my bed and not be able to physically force myself to do any of the tasks above. Not particularly difficult tasks, mind you. I only called mum because I have one of those walkabout phones. Should I have sat in my lounge next to the phone, I wouldn’t have called. I was only able to do this thanks to the fact that I could be starfishing in my bed while chatting to her and as soon as I get sleepy, I can get off the phone and doze off.

Lazy, you’d think. But you’d be wrong. There is an inherent difference to when I'm like this. Yes, I am super lazy and I will be the first person to put my hand up to that. But laziness is usually accompanied with my brain screaming ‘I don’t want to’ or ‘not bothered’, whereas today had the constant soundtrack of ‘I can’t’ going in the background. I wasn’t tired, I had a good sleep last night, the world is my oyster these days, and yet (or precisely because of that) I am experiencing this unrest and non-motivation to which I have no answer (yet).

What follows after the hibernation period is more exciting, in that at least it shows signs of life as opposed to lying in bed, dead-fish style. I call it the ‘bitching period’. This is what it says on the tin. I take one hard look at my life and decide I am dissatisfied with the way things are. It could be unhappiness with my job, or flat, or weight, or my relationship, or virtually any other aspect of my life that might be deserving of (and overdue) an overhaul. Cue a period of stress, where I moan and groan and hate like a true hater (the only difference is just that my hatred and blame is inward-bound).

There are three ways out of this:

  1. Do nothing about it and hope for it to go away, which lets the depression set in and a few uncomfortable, sad months follow (until the situation changes through influences outside of your control). This one I have tried a fair few times, and didn’t particularly like.

  2. Accept your life for what it’s like and adjust your attitude, resulting in content happiness. This one I have also tried several times and it is distinctly nicer and productive than the former option but it doesn’t deal with the source of my frustration.

  3. Objectively decide what the source of your frustration is and take positive action to change this. This is the hardest option but also the most rewarding one, the one where you get the chance to grow as a person and has life-changing potential.

Most of the time I would go for option one and become ill, or option two and be happy for a bit, but this time, I have decided to go with option three. I have already started changing things I don’t like about my life, starting with unhealthy relationships that are making me unhappy, and weight that is putting weight onto my shoulders. But there is so much more to life than flab and people. For one, there is your job and worldly possesions and the bills you have to pay. There are financial commitments and loose relationships. Then there are attitudes and perceptions that need changing and adjusting.There are all those loose ends you have always wanted to tidy up and the bridges you haven’t quite brought yourself to burning down.

Stress that propels you to take action is your mind’s helpful tool. But only if you realize that quitting is not an option.