There's a drive in me to keep moving forward. Keep doing new things. Never stop moving. Or else I'll drown in the hole I made for myself.
Created on: December 8, 2020
10 min read
There's a very strong feeling that's been laying claim over me for quite a while now. A feeling of always needing something new. Either doing something new, or progressing in some way, buying a new thing, whatever. There's this very strong drive within me that, in a way, forces me to impulsively look for new things that I can experience all the time.
This ends up making relaxing quite a lot harder, because if I'm relaxing, then there's not really something new that I'm going through - and the way I work it's really hard to simply stop thinking for a while. Pleasant feelings and distractions do help from this strong impulse, but the moment they stop or I'm in a bit of a mood, the impulse comes back and so does the emotions it brings with it.
If things don't have an upward trend, or there's not something new to experience, something in me clicks and my mood starts going downhill. It's hard to explain, apart from describing as this all-consuming hole of boredom that shows up and doesn't relent unless I'm taking my life in some sort of new direction, or improving the direction that it's already on. In a mood like that, there's three things that I'm basically left with.
Evolve, Improve, or Wait.
Evolve is when I do some big thing. Like buying a new monitor for my computer setup to improve my experience, or getting a smartwatch and revamping my diet to try and see where that new lifestyle takes me. This has its benefits, for example the latter could be said to be a very healthy thing to try and pursue, but the cons are quite significant too. It's what leads to impulsive spending, actions, and more -- that should most likely require more thought, but due to the mood I'm in, or the fear that this is my one shot at being motivated for this, I pull the trigger. Another thing is burnout, because the moment I start something, I'm placed on a time limit, or more appropriately, a threshold.
Every step of evolution brings with it a chance of escaping the cycle, or filling that hole enough for it to be noticeable. But it also brings with it a burnout that could leave me without any interest to continue pursuing that path. Let's go back to the smartwatch and diet revamp idea. I saw some benefits, but I started burning out when I started thinking of the time investment I'd have to put into making it work. After all, while on a walk I can't exactly be watching something I may be really invested in, or talk to others because it's really not a good idea to walk while on your phone. I did that once and bumped into many things. Multiple times. That time that cut itself out of my schedule kept chipping away at me, pulling me closer to the threshold before at some point the minor gains I was doing in losing weight simply wasn't enough - and I buckled. Suddenly, this whole evolutionary step fizzled out and I went back to how I was.
Recently I started reinvesting myself into this same thing. It took me a full on year to go back, and there were even impulse decisions. I bought new headphones and a new smartwatch, despite already having both of those things, because these were enough of an improvement to kickstart that evolutionary step back up. Even now, I bought a stationary recumbent bike, which while expensive also lets me exercise in a not insignificant way, while also circumventing most if not all of my qualms. My hands are free, so I can do whatever I want; talk to others, be on a call, play games, whatever. In addition, it's significant exercise I can do at home. Which lets me watch videos and more while exercising, while also stopping rain (in autumn/winter) and unbearable heat (in summer) from pushing me closer to that threshold.
Only time will tell to see how well that's going to work out, but I have high hopes. Unfortunately, I also had high hopes back in my first attempt. So I really can't be sure.
Improve is when I revamp something I'm doing, or when anything currently going on in my life goes into an uphill trend. This can depend on some motivation on my end, but it mostly depends on external limiting factors. Examples vary a lot from playing games with friends, improving stats on my streams and youtube videos, etc. Things here can prove to be a trigger for anything within Evolve, especially because they can prove to be co-dependent. Something that may revamp an Improve action may very well be within the Evolve category. As an example, I've been recently thinking whether I should pull the trigger on getting a new webcam. That counts as Evolve because it will effectively change the way my streams look. The stopping factor there is that, honestly the webcam I have right now is good enough. No such stopping factor was present when I bought a new XLR mic and audio interface for that exact same reason.
The burnout problem is stronger here. Although it may not be as dangerously-cyclical as Evolve, since there's no spiral of expenses going downward, it's completely out of my hands. For example, streaming. It infrequently grows in insignificant ways, but every new step of growth is significant enough to add to my motivation. The problem is the timesink. Every day I stream is a day with 2-5 less hours of free time. It's also a day in which I can't partake in plans with friends because of that reason. Every stream with almost no viewers, and no growth, is a significant chip at that threshold. The saving factor here, however, is that streaming consists of me playing games. Streaming is something I love doing on its own, even at this stage. That keeps me from outright quitting, but it's not enough to stop the negative feelings of inadequacy and being stuck in the hole that come rushing back in.
Youtube has no such luck. Editing is a chore, sure it might be fun to compile a bunch of stuff together and voila, you have a thing, but consider this. It's another timesink that exists, and the process in and of itself isn't fun enough to stop me from burning out. Which means that when a video is uploaded and it gets a pretty low reception, that's one hell of a massive dent in that threshold. Infact, I eventually did reach that threshold. Which is why my youtube channel is practically comatose right now. Recently I've been trying to revive that bit, mostly by introducing the Pomodoro technique to editing just to see if it works out, but the lack of ideas on what to really edit have proven a significant enough barrier to stop me from doing so.
All of this burnout and threshold bullshit did motivate me to undergo a pretty significant Evolve step however. Getting an ADHD diagnosis. Mostly because I wanted, nay, needed a reason why I acted like this, because I couldn't just accept that this is just how it is. That impulse led my fight to knowing - officially - if I had ADHD, and believe me it was a fight. It took a hell of a long time to even get diagnosed for it. I can't tell you how validated I felt when that test came back positive. The step is nowhere near over, mind you, I still need to test and experiment around with ADHD medication until I find one that works. Currently, the meds have basically no effect whatsoever. Maybe next time though! This step's only threshold is being given up on, which makes it quite hard to stop involuntarily.
Wait is the alternative. It's nothing special. All it means is that I distract myself with whatever means possible until that feeling goes away and I can go back to functioning normally again. Simply ignore the impulse. Of course, it's not that easy, and infact it comes with a hell of a drawback. The impulse keeps chipping away. By the time the feeling goes away, I'm left feeling worse. A vague feeling of emptiness, unfulfillment, sadness, what have you. I'm in the hole. The hole wins.
This is the surrender option. There's no way around it. To me, this option is simply closing my eyes, and letting the attack happen. Wait through the storm, come out with the injuries incurred, and wait for them to heal before the next storm. Despite this, it's not the worst option. There is no worst option when I'm faced with this impulse. All options are equally valid, and only taken based on what my mood, motivation, and choices are, and depending on the impulse's strength. Sometimes, it's okay to surrender. To just close your eyes and sleep it off. I'm going to be waking up worse, but I couldn't do anything else. There was no Improvement that happened, or was available to subvert this - or maybe there was, but my mood was simply too hurt for it to be worth anything. There was no Evolution I could convince myself to go on with. Nothing I could justify to myself, or that I could reasonably afford, or even nothing that I was motivated enough to do. Maybe the whole field was burnt down, and still recovering - and by the time the impulse appeared, all I had to Evolve was ash.
Sometimes, I just accept. There's no running away from this. There's either invest, grow, enjoy, and accept. Some things just aren't easy. There's no easy list to make you feel better.
Sometimes, it just hurts.
And that's okay.
If this resonates with you, or you relate to this, the first message to take is that you're not alone. I'm here, just like you, going through this. The second message to take is that there's no dead end. Even if you're stuck waiting for a long while, no matter how long, there's no end state where you're simply stuck in this hell. There's always options, paths, things you can do - because even if you don't see them right now, there's going to come a time where you will. Trust me. I've waited for so long, and no matter how long I waited there always came a moment where I just... woke up, I guess you could say. Woke up and had the field of evolution born anew, and improvements made available to me. When waiting became a temporary thing, rather than a long period. It's always there, somewhere. No matter how far, how hard, or how tired you are. It's there, waiting for you.
Just how you're waiting for it.