Oftentimes, I have moments. These moments arise because, I don’t know, I’m taking my medications regularly, I’m taking care of myself, the stars are properly aligned, whatever. These are my moments of lucidity, the times when I feel happy and “normal” and like I’m the “true” me. I know that I’ve used a few fuzzy terms there, but I really don’t know how better to describe these times. Sometimes these moments last hours, sometimes days, and sometimes, just sometimes, even months. Last week has been such a moment. Of course it had to happen during a short work week <sigh>.
Not surprisingly, these moments of lucidity are my most productive both at work and at home. So a question arises: how do I best use these productive moments, especially considering that I have no idea how long they might last? I can really use these moments to get a lot of great things done. They’re when I write grants to get cool things for the library. They’re when I plan and arrange neat projects. They’re when I catch up on my backlog of employee evaluations.
On the other hand, my office and home are littered with half-completed projects begun during my good moments. Cases in point: the rooms in my house with only half of the wallpaper removed, the nearly 5,000 unread messages in my work inbox, the detritus of my plans for a big restoration project of the historic Hood River Library (now happily moving forward once more!), my poorly-maintained heirloom rose garden with plants older than my mother, the general state of my office (that just means that I “break free from tradition” and “produce fresh insights”, right?). I could go on, but I’ll spare you, and maybe spare myself any further guilt.
I don’t have a specific plan to harness these moments, admittedly, but I wish I could figure out a good way to do so. Even if my dysthymia is acting up, I have a decent sense for what I should prioritize at work. Make sure you get people paid. Ensure that the finances are on the up & up. Fix safety hazards immediately. Maintain the work face, even if it isn’t at full strength. Put the library on a positive path to achieve its strategic goals. I think I’m lucky in this respect, as I know that prioritization can be an issue for others with depression.
So basically what I end up doing in my moments of lucidity is jump into things with gusto, as much as I can healthfully muster, to take advantage of them. That’s when my inbox count drops precipitously and I get all those grant applications I’ve been thinking about out the door. Am I burning myself out more quickly by doing things this way? Probably. That habit could even make my worse dysthymic episodes arrive faster. But what else can I do? I know it’s trite to say, but I am truly my harshest critic; I’m pretty brutal on myself in my self-evaluations at work. I come pretty close to saying I suck on some matters where an objective observer might just say I need some work. Thus, when I’m at my best, I want to get my best work out. Along with my personal relationships – and because I’m childless by choice – my work is the legacy I leave. My moments of lucidity are what allow me to leave a decent one.