“…we were all convinced that we must talk and talk and write and publish as quickly as possible, and as much as possible, and that this was all necessary for the good of mankind. And thousands of us, contradicting and abusing one another, published and wrote with the aim of teaching others. Failing to notice that we knew nothing, that we did not know the answer to the most basic question of life — what is good and what is evil — we all spoke at the same time, never listening to one another. At times we indulged and praised each other in order to be indulged and praised in return, at other times we grew angry and shrieked at each other, just as if we were in a madhouse. …It is now clear to me that there was no difference between our behavior and that of people in a madhouse; but at the time I only dimly suspected this and, like all madmen, I thought everyone was mad except myself.” — Leo Tolstoy, “A Confession” (1879)
It’s not easy to write about Nightwalking because it’s not very verbal.
But given a chance, it will “tell you a thing or two.”
I haven’t “given up the fight,” but I did take a dive over the New Year holiday to recuperate from the ’flu and general post-holiday blues. While I was ill it occurred to me that I might’ve been Nightwalking, too.
But let me make this clear: Nightwalking is not an illness.
It’s not the most pleasant state, chiefly because it’s so cheerless. Fortunately I’m now feeling healthier and gaining back energy lost over the past two weeks. I realized it was important to take care of myself, and I did the best I could. But I was starting to feel guilty I wasn’t writing regularly here, that is until I stumbled across the Tolstoy (see the above quote, discovered while recovering).
So, in a nutshell, I suppose that’s the “value” of Nightwalking. It’s the place where time slows down and things are considered more pensively.
There’s a value in that.
If you don’t have it in your life, you may be driving yourself into the ground with anxiety and over-exertion. Because I’m older now, I’ve slowed down and refuse to get myself into a froth over nothing.
I’ve also noticed that when I’m feeling more in the line of Daytalking, like now, there’s usually a song or two dancing around in my head. Add to that an inclination toward playfulness and anticipation and I’m feeling closer to “my normal.”
This is a difficult thing to write about because my normal is certainly not most people’s normal. Most people seem to have healthy self-regulating doses of serotonin. Because of my dysthymia, my reactions to things are more “flat.” That’s not to say I’m not enjoying things — I could be perfectly happy. My affect doesn’t accurately reveal my inner mood; it’s just the way it’s baked in for me. Am I satisfied with that?
No, I am not. Would you be?
So, I’ve been wondering if there’s some form of therapy available that, over time and steady application, might steer things toward more positive outcomes. Variations on CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) seem like they might be helpful, but I need to do more exploring. Also I’ve been wondering if VR therapy of some sort might help, too. (I’m having trouble working out the details on that, so further research is probably required.)
One thing 2018 has revealed so far: there’s a shit ton of stupid fucking crap to cut through already. It always feels heaviest at the start. The defenses are primed from the get-go. That wears on the energy levels, as you know.
This isn’t the best I can be, I get that.
But I’m showing up and getting toward … something.
I even started feeling playful again, which will help the next post on Daytalking, the Kissy-faced Muse of Playfulness. (Mmmmm, “kissy-faced” is gonna get used A LOT more in 2018.)
For now it’s important I recognize the value behind Nightwalking and to not demonize it into a strictly unhealthy mindset.
Thanks for reading me and I hope you are well and happy.