Monday, September 04, 2017

Tired and Growing Old

To misquote Robert Mitchum's Philip Marlowe in the opening of the 1975 film version of Farewell My Lovely, this last Summer was the first that I've felt tired and realised I was growing old.  Maybe it was the lousy weather, or maybe it was my lousy job, where I just seem to chase round in ever decreasing circles to no good effect, or maybe it is just the plain fact that I'm tired and growing old.  But whatever it is, I just feel so damned weary.  Going back to work today felt like setting the clock back to before I went on leave: nothing has changed and all the anxiety and stress is back.  Actually, it is worse than that.  It is difficult to put into words the way I've felt since yesterday evening.  Emotionally fragile would be one way to describe it.  For some reason I've suddenly become sensitised to certain things, which unaccountably and irrationally upset me.  I've always prided myself on being able to keep my emotions in check and measure carefully my responses to certain situations.  Yet, over the past couple of days I've found things like babies crying very distressful.  OK, I know that the whole point of a baby crying is to invoke an emotional response in adults - it's a cry for attention - but I don't ever recall it making me feel so upset.

Perhaps it is my age - most men of my age have children - and my paternal instincts are somehow catching up with me, (that said, I still don't want children of my own, I'm perfectly happy with my various great nieces, whom I can happily give back to their parents when they become too exhausting).  But it goes beyond this sudden outbreak of emotional sensitivity: I feel I'm going to fall apart at any moment - I have to force myself to go through the rituals of the working day, all the time with a sense of foreboding hanging over me.  I just feel that something terrible is going to happen at any moment,  Frequently, this feeling of impending doom leaves me paralysed, unable to make a decision or do anything constructive.  These episodes quickly pass, of course, but leave me feeling uneasy.  All of this is accompanied by a complete lack of motivation: starting anything is an effort and, to frank, I just don't care if it gets completed.  My house is sliding into complete disarray: I know that I need to take things in hand, but when it comes to it, I just can't seem to summon up enough motivation to do anything.

I'm not looking for pity or even sympathy here.  I just need to talk about the way I'm feeling right now.  The few people I'd normally discuss this with don' seem to be available right now ,(which is fine, I understand, they have their own families and problems), so I decided to air my feelings here, instead, in the hope that it might prove therapeutic.  I know that many of the things I've described are symptoms of low level depression and that I have strategies I can deploy to stave off the black dog.  It's just a matter of summoning up sufficient energy to actually do that.  But the reality is that the main obstacle to me being able to effect any kind of long-term self healing is my lousy job.  I know that it is the major source of stress in my life.  The problem lies in finding the energy to do something about it.  If nothing else, I have finally admitted to myself that I just can't keep doing it any more - I just need to be able to act on this.  Maybe then I'll at least stop feeling tired, although I can't do anything about growing old.

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