A beach after sundown

Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

Ashtar Deza
by Ashtar Deza
2 min read


  • Blog


  • Covid
  • Mental Health

It’s this time of year again, where it feels like it simply doesn’t get light at all. If I don’t set an alarm, I find myself sleeping 10 hours a night, and even then, I move around in a fog.

This time of year used to be really hard on those around me because I’d be apt to bite people’s heads off at the slightest provocation. Luckily, the combination of ADHD medication and a sun lamp took the worst edge off it.

Still, I feel like a gas flame that’s been turned way down. I’m here, but I’m running basic life support functions only.

On top of that, I still feel the after-effects of Covid, which also make my ADHD worse. The net effect of both is that my memory is terrible, and motivating myself is a lot harder than usual.

Ironically, me feeling this way often leads me to abandon exactly the things that would help me. I stopped doing my half hour offline for a while, because the thought of just sitting and reflecting for half an hour felt like an insurmountable chore. It makes no sense, since the whole point is not having to do anything for that period. It’s a little gift to myself, not another job to accomplish.

What also didn’t help, was me getting knocked on my ass by the flu at New Year’s Eve, so my exercise regime has also been a mess.

I’ve been writing a fair amount, but there I also struggle. I have plenty of good ideas, and I’m managing to get words down, but none of it flows well. All my prose feels stilted and awkward, and needs several revisions before I even dare show it to anyone.

Still, as I realised today: it’s much better to write crappy prose than to not write. Crappy prose is the soil that good words grow in. None of my stories are set in stone, I’m free to go back later and fix them. I’ve done that before, and it made them much better. You need something to work with though, so that’s how I’m seeing it now.

For my memory issues I’ve tried to just accept that right now, I’m not as capable as I’m used to. I try to see it as the mental equivalent of having sprained my ankle and needing a crutch to walk for now. It will get better, but trying to make the problem disappear by sheer force of will simply won’t work. So, I’m writing everything down. It feels slow, but it really isn’t. The time I lose writing stuff down is recouped by not having to go back to see what I was doing every 10 seconds. I’m trying very hard not to see it as failure, but as the right accommodation for this moment. The crutch I need to go outside.

Right now there is sun outside, and I went out to walk in it. The long dark will end, it always will. My brain will get less foggy, but in the meantime I’ll be gentle with both my brain and myself.

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