Used to be, on lunch breaks, I would take a walk. I get an hour lunch and I could get pretty far. In twenty minutes I can get to the deli, so I can actually get a slice of pizza or something quick and make it back within my hour. It’s not all that far but it’s a lot farther than most people, who drive to the deli, can walk in twenty minutes.

There were also times when I would keep after my exercises. I’ve never been really consistent, but htere was a kind of cadence to my negligence; two or three days one week, one day the next. Never consistent enough to really qualify as a regimen. But you know, after I had been after it for a while, I didn’t get as many strange aches and strains and cramps in my spinal cervical curve. Something was always a little odd in the general geography of my hips, but whatever it is, I think it keeps it at bay to do even little exercises infrequently.

Seems like it’s been a long time now since I even tried. My new routine is to shut off the alarm, and the second alarm, and keep a surly eye on the clock, daring it to go too late for me to make it to work. I live so close that I can really leave when I am supposed to be there and not arrive late enough to attract notice, if I skip some things like breakfast and a shower, that I like to do in the morning.

I’ve been through ups and downs before. I get the blues all the time, mostly without any reason. Anymore I mostly just wait for it to pass; trying to fight to stay at “reasonably content” to “ridiculously happy” without ever going to “irrationally depressed” inevitably ends in frustrated defeat.

Waiting it out doesn’t seem to be working this time. This has gone on too long. I don’t think I am even down right now. A couple of these past weeks have gone pretty well; I’m happy with what I get done in the day and happy with the week when it’s over. I would call it a really long gray streak if it didn’t have it’s own ups and downs, if it had any of the tell-tale sulks, if it didn’t just seem to be a new normal.

It’s not like I’ve tried to get back on track. Really, it’s more like I’ve tried to get as far off track as possible. Even well rested, I go back to bed, to goad the hour on to disaster. I try to construe reasons why I must be too busy to cook supper, so I can eat out. Then I don’t, either, because I don’t actually like eating out. So I go to bed without supper.

It’s starting to look like more than anything else I am just trying to live dangerously–as dangerously as I can while pretending to be a victim, anyway. And it’s reminding me of the way I always leave something around the house totally out of order. If I clean, I won’t pay bills; if I sort out one pile of accumlated junk, I’ll leave the other one. If I have time off work that I have set aside specifically for cleaning and catching up on everything, I will resolutely bore myself out of the house before I actually do all the work.

I guessed a long time ago that I was probably doing it on purpose. I think it makes me feel needed, to have unsolved problems waiting in the wings. If there is nothing to be done, why I am even here?

Not that there ever really could be a shortage of good work to do. But I save up a collection of little problems I could solve in a minute, just so I will know I have the power to make problems go away, until at last the little problems have grown into such a tower that I am really afraid of them. Then either I muster myself for a charge, or turn my back and slink away.

I think what is really going on is not so much a general depression as a desire for excitement. I am trying to precipitate a crisis so I can be a hero. I’ll do the same thing if a conference call is too boring; I will tell myself that something else urgently needs to be worked on, or maybe even two or three other things; or I will just raise heck by finding or inventing problems in whatever the matter at hand might be.

I am edging closer to getting myself in over my head with some commitments that are coming up, and it’s starting to make me feel better. I cooked supper two days in a row now. Tomorrow I might even get up with the alarm. Well, maybe. The votes aren’t all in until 7 a.m. tomorrow. But I have been going through some mental to-do lists and wringing out some little sponges of obligation that have been (in my mind) tied to long chains of casacading steps. I’m looking for trouble and it’s making me feel better.

Soon, I hope, I will be so busy I will once again have an excuse for neglecting things, and then I can be happy once more in my stressful, impossibly burdened life.