Getting started is often the hardest thing


“Well, DUH,” I hear you all saying. “No kidding, juice, no kidding.”

But it’s even more true when you have depression. Let me try to explain.

Unless you’re the “throw yourself in at the deep end” kinda person, starting is tough, no matter who you are, or what you are doing. Like the car that needs to be pushstarted (he said, aging himself), getting those wheels moving is the difficult part. Once they’re turning, not so bad, you can keep it moving with a lot less effort. But getting them rolling? That’s the tough bit.

And with depression, it’s like that all the time. Currently, I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, eight days away from having to hand in this second paper, with a reasonable amount of it done, and I just can’t get going with it. Yet again. You could argue that because I’ve done a fair bit, that the thing is rolling, but it’s not. At 11:30 last night, when I saved the word doc, and the PDF edits, and synced Endnote, I’d done a good job for the second part of the day.

But the wheels stopped turning when I stopped working.

And so, this morning, pushing has to start from scratch. And it’s hard. Prior progress apparently counts for nothing. Much easier to sit here and write this blog post (which, to be fair, I think is important enough to spend the time writing) than somehow summon up the emotional and intellectual energy to get back into that mindset. Am I overthinking this? Most certainly. Can I ratchet that down? No. If I could, of course I would. This is not my ideal state of being.

The REALLY frustrating thing, though, is that I KNOW that once I get started, I’ll get stuff done. (As happened yesterday, when I was the same, and yet got things done. Not so much for the previous week, when little happened…) And getting stuff done today will reduce the pressure tomorrow and later in the week (well, and later today) when it’s due next Monday, and the next one a couple of weeks after that. I know that. So what?

The other danger is that it’s hard to stop when you’re going, because of the fear that you won’t get it started again. Actually, fear isn’t the right word, it’s not anything like strong enough. So you’re lying there in bed, trying to get to sleep because “sleep is important, you know” and you can’t, because you’re thinking you should have kept going because you were actually going, and that stopping was a moronic thing to do.

I think it’s the self-awareness of the issue that makes it even worse. I KNOW all I have to do it get started, and the car will roll on down the road until, say, lunchtime, when it will stop again, and I’ll have to get it rolling again from scratch. And it’s close to lunchtime, so why bother now? Right? #headexplodes

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