Thursday, October 22, 2009

Funk Phase

I got some precious alone time this evening as the kids are finally all to bed and the Captain is out to the movies for a bit longer. I hear the sound of a soaking rain dripping down the gutters and splashing on to the concrete surfaces outside my house; and I listen to some nice classical music indoors, thanks to my new friend Pandora. At the moment we have a rendition of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier.

It's a night for hot tea and a good book, or a session in blog world. Definitely not time for folding laundry or finishing the dishes or starting the coffee cake I said I would bring to Bible Study tomorrow morning. Hmm. I so wish all that stuff would do itself.

I believe I stated for the record last week that my standard of housekeeping doesn't have much room to go down. I really hate housework, it's so tedious. And I ask you, what's the point when it all has to be done again in another hour?

Manic Phase
Sometimes I get on a kick where my energy levels seem limitless; when ideas seem to spark from my brain like an electrical storm; when I have to force myself to go to bed even though my adrenaline could carry me through a week of 2 hour nights. I have come to call this my manic phase. I have learned to treasure the energy, to shepherd my body to keep from burning myself out like a candle burned too long, and to ride the wave of inspiration as far as it will take me. I take notes, organize my schedule, and set some goals to get me through the next few months.

I tend to hit manic phase every September/October, and again around April. This is when the world tends to see the most of me, because my brain produces so many plans and ideas that they just rocket around my head and explode out to whomever will listen.

But try as I might, sooner or later the manic wave always seems to drop me in a trough. For whatever reason, normal functioning is an elusive dream. My energy seems to go either high or low. I hesitate to use the term depressive because that word is so loaded. So I have come up with my personal term for the opposite of manic, which is "in a funk." Funk phase, if you will.

Funk Phase
I seem to have been stuck in funk phase since reaching the ultimate high last week of being treated to a splendid 24 hour, burn-all-the-energy, exhilarating trip to Dallas for the U2 concert.

At the moment I never want to write again. The living room is a shambles. I have a hard time caring whether I will someday be judged a good parent. I want to check every fantasy novel out of the library, lock myself in a closet with them, and ignore every responsibility with which an adult gets so weighed down.

Of course I am smart enough to know this too will pass, but I have to make sure I don't do anything destructive while I'm here in the trough. I could work on accomplishing the goals I set for myself a few weeks ago in manic phase. Or cleaning up the living room (please! it's driving me nuts!) But that would be so... responsible.

Trudging Through
The secret of getting through funk phase, I am certain, is to just keep doing all the things I should be doing. Folding the stinking laundry again, doing the dishes again, paying the bills again. But it seems so much harder to do these things when every little action requires so much more effort, as if my limbs are moving through molasses and all I want to do whenever I have the chance is crawl into my bed and escape rest.

I actually sat down to write a different, lighter and shorter post, but I guess the quiet orchestral music and the music of the raindrops got me all pensive and made me wonder about the rest of the world. All of you, whom I watch, seem to get everything done that needs to be done. Is that true, or is it all smoke and mirrors?

Is this tendency toward high and low energy cycles something common to everyone, or do some people struggle with it more than others? If this describes you, how have you learned to work through funk phase?

Especially if you have figured out a way to get the laundry to put itself away, I am all ears.

Meantime, I think I will mosey myself over to the living room and attempt to do one useful thing today before crawling under the covers.


  1. You are not alone in the dip and soar cycle of life. And I'm with you; in the dip phase, putting one foot in front of the other to keep going feels so...boring. So responsible. So flat. But generally it leads me out of the dip and back into the soaring, so I try to endure it. Keep plodding, my friend... :)

  2. You speak for alot of us. I know that probably doesn't help knowing that some of us get stuck in the funk because you are there but I wanted to let you know that you definitely have company.

    Great post by the way!


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