I already know I want to write a longer post about this, but this is such a helpful thing (at least for me) that I’m gonna roll out version one pretty quickly.
One of the biggest problems I face when I’m down, is how apathy smothers everything. I can look at work I have to do and know full well what must be done and how to do it, but nothing happens. It’s not that I’m unaware of consequences, it’s just that they no longer matter. It’s not a battle of wills – there’s no contest that you could point to.
No matter how low my depression though, I’ve never been completely robbed of curiosity.
Something, anything, that starts me positively asking how or why takes me out of stasis and moves me toward answers. Another question invariably beckons. Then another. If I’ve been frozen when I really need to work, I can get off the curiosity train once I’m moving and get back on with what needs to be done.
I can’t break the grip of depression by fighting it – I can slip from its grasp by placing my attention elsewhere.
The key part isn’t knowing I can do this, though. It’s having a reminder set when things aren’t looking good. Every hour my phone pings – ‘curiosity battles apathy’. That’s the cue to engage with something, without which I could be stuck for hours. Snoozing the reminder is easy if I don’t need it. I’m stuck if I need it and don’t have it.
My default is to have a reminder for ten in the morning. If things feel good, I’ll knock it back till two in the afternoon; if not I’ll have it ping again sooner. I pre-empt the paralysis so it’s minimally disruptive.
Knowing is not enough. We must apply.