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How To Talk Yourself Out Of Doing Anything

August 31, 2017

I’m basically a lazy person. That would surprised a lot of people. My boss thinks I work incredibly hard. The other people I volunteer with in our scout troop would disagree. Even you fair readers, watching me post here daily since 2013 might not see it.

The fact is, I struggle. I struggle with ADHD. I was diagnosed as an adult. It explained SO much of my childhood. I was the “gifted but unmotivated” kid. I also suffer with various PTSD triggers. Fortunately it’s not as severe, nor as debilitating as those men and women who fought in the wars. Mine is related to abuse as a young child and some really horrible experiences early in my career. I also suffer with depression. It’s probably not clinical. But, if you have reason to be depressed it’s hard to tell the two apart. I’ve dealt with some truly horrific situations over the past 10 years. They continue on.

Okay, I’m starting to depress (and annoy) myself. What’s the point? Not that I need sympathy. Nope. I’m a grown up person with a family and a mortgage and a job I love and everyone deals with “stuff.” Mine is worse than some, but not as bad as others. And I own it.

But, owning it, doesn’t make it go away. It means that you acknowledge it’s there and can affect your life. That brings me to the topic of “not doing stuff.” I don’t mean avoiding drugs or alcohol or self harm. Those are things we should all avoid. I mean avoiding stuff I want to do. Stuff I even enjoy doing.

Take writing for example. I’ve always loved writing. I love creating stories. I love teaching people things. I love the ability to take a complex concept and lay it out into a logical pattern. I both like to write and as my one time mentor, Ben Bova says, I like to have written.

And yet, I have a research paper that I’ve been putting off for months. It’s a collection of blog posts about the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN.) I’ve essentially written it, but I just need to polish it and send it to the folks waiting on it. Why don’t I simply finish it?

I don’t know.

But, I can find a thousands other things to do. It’s not even procrastination. It’s an active avoidance. I’m not sure which of my neurosis are responsible for my dreading finishing it. It scares me. The project, but also not understanding myself well enough to know why I struggle with it. When I get to this stage, the world becomes as wide as my imagination and as tiny as a keyboard. I sometimes fear I may be going mad. Would I know? Would I recognize it? Would my neurosis appear normal? If they don’t appear normal does that mean I’m not slipping into madness?Aren’t we all a little crazy?

My lovely mother is a brilliant woman, retired these many years. She built multiple successful businesses. And yet, the thought of sitting further back than about row 10 on an airplane puts her into a full blown panic. Yes, it’s all in her head. Saying that doesn’t make it better. She wasn’t always like that. I worry about my own mortality. Are the struggles I have motivating myself the normal process that people have who want to rest? Or are they indications of something more sinister?

So, if I struggle, what keeps me writing here day after day? Sometimes it’s as simple as muscle memory. When I sit at the keyboard, I can block out distractions. I can focus on a single word, a single sentence, a single concept. And for a few minutes, I’m not afraid of anything.

Probably not what you were expecting to be reading in these pages. That makes two of us.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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