I’ve been feeling uninspired, lately.
Some days, you give up. Halfway through the afternoon, you realize your remaining chances of achieving anything particularly worthwhile are low, from a lack of something like (motivation/ energy/ bias towards action/ mental clarity/ drive), so you just give up on hope and effort, and just aim for your remaining waking hours to pass by without causing you much trouble, hoping you’ll fall asleep easily and early enough to wake up the following day with the energy to do whatever you’d given up on. It is a violent act: a deliberate murder, through neglect, of one of the irreplaceable components of your life, but one done with such a graceful and meek resignation that its inward cruelty seldom becomes apparent.
Lately I’ve been finding that more and more of my days are ending in this way, and that this insidious desistance, as I call it for self-amusement, has been happening earlier and earlier, with some particularly outlying ones occurring in the early stages of hyperglycemia-induced post-prandial stupor.
I wonder whether this trend will continue. Perhaps by Autumn I will be down to one single day of morning-to-evening activity a week, with the six remaining desistances coming up A.M.: maybe right after the morning check-in video meeting, as soon as we decide on what are the day’s tasks that I will not even attempt, or even right after waking up — an eye slightly opened and immediately closed to avoid the aggression of the entering sunlight, followed by a long wait for the cycle to repeat again.
Incidentally: all of the above is both a description of a real behaviour and an evocation of one of my favourite passages from La carte et le territoire:
Ce que je préfère, maintenant, c’est la fin du mois de décembre ; la nuit tombe à quatre heures. Alors je peux me mettre en pyjama, prendre mes somnifères et aller au lit avec une bouteille de vin et un livre. C’est comme cela que je vis, depuis des années. Le soleil se lève à neuf heures ; bon, le temps de se laver, de prendre des cafés, il est à peu près midi, il me reste quatre heures de jour à tenir, le plus souvent j’y parviens sans trop de dégâts. Mais au printemps c’est insupportable, les couchers de soleil sont interminables et magnifiques, c’est comme une espère de putain d’opéra, il y a sans cesse de nouvelles couleurs, de nouvelles lueurs, j’ai essayé une fois de rester ici tout le printemps et l’été et j’ai cru mourir, chaque soir j’étais au bord du suicide, avec cette nuit qui ne tombait jamais.
Would the former exist if I hadn’t been exposed to the latter? Maybe I’m just a victim of books. Like Don Quixote, in that book.
There were two occasions in my life in which I, for lack of a better phrase, “stopped being depressed”. Meaning, the ranges of moods I experienced before and after each of these had limited overlap: the lower end of the “before” range feeling thankfully unreachable in the “after” period, and a low-to-middling “after” mood comparing positively with a good “before” one.
In both cases, the change was triggered by my experiencing an extraordinarily intense happiness, beyond my previously existing range of moods — and the experience of this intensity, the subconscious knowledge that such a feeling is possible, somehow inevitably affected all future experiences, pushed them upwards in this newly opened mood-range space. The two occasions were: in 2012 in Barcelona, repeatedly listening to Arctic Monkeys’ first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and going to bike messenger parties; in 2016 in Madrid, taking MDMA and walking around parks listening to Boards of Canada.
Now I essentially don’t feel depressed anymore: more like permanently listless, resignedly accepting my inability to do, which I’m not sure is better — at least the deep overwhelming anguish I almost constantly felt was sometimes motivating, I suppose.