I’m Going Through Something

Oh, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me. I’m not worried about me. Don’t worry about me.

It’s just that… I really don’t want to write any more. Bit of an existential problem for someone who identifies as a writer, no? Bit of a pisser for someone who made a contractual agreement with his sister to publish something every day for a year, no?

But, as I said, I’m not worried. I’m not going to stop writing. And hopefully, like a butterfly from his cocoon, I will emerge stronger from this literary dark night of the soul.

The truth is actually not so much that I don’t want to write any more. It’s more that since quitting caffeine, I no longer have the desperate and urgent compulsion I’ve battled with for years to get EVERYTHING out of my head and off my chest and into some kind of literary or musical form – and failing to do so 99.9% of the time, I should add.

As such, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.

It has been 18 days since I stopped drinking anything with caffeine in it – after around 13 years of a pretty solid habit – and that is what is responsible for this change. Going cold turkey has been incredibly eye-opening. On the whole, I feel better than I have for years – I feel more like myself, whatever that means. But great as that is, it’s as though my operating system has changed, or like I’ve upgraded to a new model of brain, and I don’t know how to use it yet because I got so used to how the old brain worked. A whole chunk of my personality seems to have vanished. I feel a little bit like I have to learn how to live all over again.

What I didn’t realise was just how fuelled by stress hormones my thoughts and actions were for so long, rather than by any kind of rational thinking. The only way I found I could get myself to do things was to become so stressed about what would happen if I didn’t that I would do them to break the tension. I’m talking about anything from the laundry and the dishes to writing pieces like this.

Overall, this was a really horrible way to live, and it got worse when I started taking Elvanse a couple of years ago – a slow-release amphetamine. Things might have got done – some of the time – but if the cost was me feeling shitty about them before, during, and after, then was it worth it? I don’t think so.

But before I completely shit-talk the last decade and more of my life, the one single advantage was that this way of living allowed me to be prolific as a writer. It might not surprise you, but I’ve built up a lot of inner turmoil and tension over the years, and that meant that if I could get myself in my writing chair, I never ran out of things to say.

So now without chronic internal stress fuelling my work, I’m running on empty until I find something else to put in my tank. And I haven’t managed that just yet.

But do you know what? I don’t really care. Because I’m a lot happier than I’ve been for a long time and everything else can go to hell.

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