No, Seriously, I Really Need to Stop Sabotaging Myself

Yesterday I wrote a few words on my cycle of depression, and how I need to stop sabotaging myself. I get things going along pretty smoothly, and then something comes up and I take my eyes off the prize.

Take this weekend for instance.

I got a bit down, I got a bit distracted, and I found myself, come bedtime, lacking focus.

I knew I needed to get to bed, even if I wasn’t quite tired enough to go to sleep. I’ve discovered a really cool little technique to help quiet my mind and help me prepare to sleep, even if I’m not quite there yet. I load up one of Ben Settle’s audio lessons, and listen to it in the dark and quiet. Generally one or two audios later, I’m ready to sleep.

Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s not boring me to sleep. Quite the contrary, Ben packs a tremendous amount of content into a relatively short period of time and trying to process it in real time is enough to wear my tired old brain out. In fact, I often listen to the same content two or three nights in a row, just to make sure I’m really getting it.

This is something I do when I’m NOT sabotaging myself.

On the other hand, Saturday I stayed up late one night reading a movie. Yes, reading it. It is an action movie and I didn’t want to wake up the missus or the kids, so I put on the subtitles and turned the sound down low. Going to bed at 1:30 did NOT help me get a good night’s sleep.

Which meant that Sunday I was a bit of a wreck; overtired and grouchy. Tired enough that I drank too much coffee, and didn’t do the weight workout with the boys, leaving me somewhat caffeinated and not tired enough for sleep at bedtime.

So I stayed up to midnight re-watching The Shawshank Redemption, which is a great movie, but it’s not something I should have been up late on a school night watching. I need to be up at 6:30 to start rousting children, so today I’m…overtired and grouchy.

And the cycle continues…

It’s not just staying up too late watching movies. It’s staying up too late reading just one more chapter of that book. Or staying up playing video games. Or staying up late binging the latest season of Blacklist.

Do you notice a common thread? “Staying up too late.”

One of the most powerful weapons I have against the darkness is a good night’s sleep. Lacking a good night’s sleep means lacking the energy to exercise properly. Good exercise is another tool in maintaining the energy to fight the darkness.

Lacking energy means it’s easy to get distracted from my writing, or my recording. Today I was tempted to skip both making a video and writing a blog post. It was only through focusing on just how much I would beat myself up over missing either of them that I was able to get myself first in front of the camera, and then here at the keyboard.

It doesn’t have to start with sleep. Knock out any of the pillars of my routines that help me fight the depression, and the probability is that another comes out. Two come out and for sure I’m going down the spiral.

So here we are. I’m fighting back, first by getting a good day’s work done. Next by getting my writing and recording done. Later I will either do yoga, or weights with the boys. And when bedtime rolls around, I will have my ass in bed, 1/2 an hour early, to listen to Ben, to learn, to order my thoughts, and to get a good night’s sleep.