Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity

James Clear

It’s almost a year since I felt that I wanted to end my life. And through that process I left my job, found a new one, quit any mind altering substance, started medication, received an ADHD diagnosis. I went to a twelve step group every day for 10 months. I have a new bed, TV and bike. I’ve transformed my diet and exercise regime.

As Easter rolled in I had a revelation. I was chasing things, goals and outcomes. As I got to the end of the Easter weekend, I felt any intrinsic motivation lift.

I’d been in discussion with my lenders about what I should be paying them. The outcome was that because of bill increases, changes to payments and other bits and bobs, despite doubling my salary I wasn’t really any better off. And in fact because my outlook had changed they were going to ask me to pay back more than I owed.

None of my problems had evaporated. My goal was to increase income, service my debt faster and have a few treats like travel, gifts for people and meals out.

But after all that change I hadn’t really moved forward. I hadn’t even moved sideways. I have expended financial, mental, spiritual and emotional energy trying to fix the problems of a bad bed, stolen bike and large debts. and the amount of time I’d spent doing things that weren’t core to me.

In stepping forward, I’d actually taken a step backwards. Nothing was fixed. I was reasoning with a hydra.

Accept the things I can’t change

There are many things I could change; mainly me. I couldn’t change others. I found that by doing nothing in life I wouldn’t be any better or worse off.

My landlord wanted 25% more rent. My creditors doubled my payments. Bills never seemed to end or resolve themselves. I couldn’t stop myself from spending. I felt that after all I had achieved I deserved a few things. Every budget is now taking another hair cut.

My relationships have changed. I don’t really enjoy being with people in social settings; it triggered social anxiety that took me back to school when I wet myself rather than disrupt a teacher to ask for the loo. I am less social now. I read less. I watch more TV. I go to the cinema more.

It is relentlessly difficult in my schedule to find time to be social. I doubt many of the people that I used to social with remember me.

I started a relationship which ended as quickly as it started. I now feel like an incompatible format. I don’t really fit in or work with anyone. This life process has only reminded me how different I am. And how difficult it is for people to even attempt to relate to me., through my own faults as a human.

I no longer have any social lubricants to overcome my own anxieties or beliefs.

Unable to be

I found that what did work was unobtainable. It will take six months to start a new medication.

The combined fees for yoga and gym are much more than my “entertainment” budget will allow. But it was the only thing that I found worked. Limited concentration on specific body movements, in a dynamic stimulating environment. I had to top up my income to cover everything.

I found routines that worked, but I couldn’t find the flexibility with myself to let go of doing some things, creating a tall order. All I know is to have detailed, rigid routines. if any part of the routine failed, it all did.

Authentic Work

I really struggled to connect to my work. My severe inadequacy complex, combined with poor concentration and inability to plan has pushed me to the extreme end of anxiety.

I am crippled by the thought that my work isn’t real. Paranoid that everything seems to be a set-up. Achingly searching for any evidence that things feel wrong. Alone in the fact that working in an office environment triggers extreme agoraphobia if I haven’t cycled in. That if I don’t meet my schedule everything lints apart.

I’m not sure of my shared values with those immediately around me.

It’s all on fire

Every part of my life is in fire. And I couldn’t face it. I looked at all my options;

1. Change – I was running out of energy and will to change things.

2. Simplify – Keeping things simple wouldn’t provide any motivation to continue.

3. Time out – Spending time healing only delays the onset of action.

4. Asking for Help – I’d already been through as much as was available, and the old problems were the same just under different people and organisations

5. Do nothing – didn’t solve anything

6. Give everything up – I wanted to walk away from everything and release myself from a never ending negotiation with life. And live in simplicity. But this felt nuclear, inspite of the immediate relief.

I didn’t end up using. I did have a positive COVID test. I have spent almost two weeks lying for most of it on my back, sleeping for 11-14 hours per day. With a crunching, squeezing anxiety in my chest as I felt that what I was doing would reflect on me badly. I was paralysed in actually being able to tackle any of my situations. I haven’t been beyond the bins outside my house in those two weeks. I haven’t exercised.

I ordered food in. I listened on in jealousy as my neighbours had a buzzing Latino party. I felt guilty. I knew that perspective was telling me that I am grateful for what I have, that I am safe, that I am loved. But I was totally burned. Unwell. Exhausted. Close to thoughts of self harm.

Right on time

This time of the year is always the same for my mood, the end of a cycle and start of a new one. In a couple of weeks I will be hyper.

I think my strategy has been to let things burn. When the fire is too big, and I have nothing to put it out with, there is nothing I can do. I wait until it burns out and work with whatever is left.

At the end of this particular branch of my life journey. I still haven’t got to what is intrinsically motivating me. Or more specifically who is really benefiting from all the changes I am making. I can’t really say that I am any “better” than where I started.