I started cleaning the kitchen at 10:30 last night and finished by sweeping and mopping around 11:30. It wasn’t the dirtiest kitchen in the whole world. I would say it was cleaner than your average college apartment kitchen and a little dirtier than your average grown-up kitchen. But I hadn’t done the dishes in a long time – I thought about telling you how long, but I’m afraid you’ll judge me a little – and I hadn’t swept or mopped the floor in weeks. Maybe longer. And I was off work for three days last week plus the weekend and didn’t get around to cleaning the kitchen until 10:30 on Sunday night. Because, you know, sitting on my ass took up a lot of time and energy. And the rest of my house is still kind of messy. But sweeping and mopping were major accomplishments, the kind of things that made me want to write a little. That’s big.
I’ve been in kind of a bad mental place lately. You and I both know that the bad mental place has a name most people recognize, but let’s agree not to use it here today, okay? I’m sick of using its name. Using its name means a lot of things that I don’t feel like rehashing or even thinking about, so bad mental place it is. It’s a funk. A mental flu, if you will. That means that it’s something that everyone gets, and it isn’t my fault, and I didn’t do anything to cause it, and if I rest up and take good care of myself it’ll get better in time. And everyone understands, and everyone knows how shitty you feel when you have the flu, and so you don’t have to try to explain the really really shitty parts, the fever delirium and the coughing-up-shit and the horrible horrible aches because everyone knows. And it’s temporary, and it’s contagious. Yeah. Mental flu.
So I’m doing most of the right things to get over the mental flu. I don’t want you to worry. I am drinking mental juice and taking mental Tylenol for the fever and the aches and I am getting some mental rest. I should probably be doing a few more things but feh, I’m one of THOSE sick people. What I know about the flu is that you can do a few things to ease your symptoms in the short term, but a lot of getting over the flu is waiting it out. So I’m waiting it out.
I am being slightly obsessive about certain parts of my daily routine right now, like what I eat and how long I spend at the gym. It’s for a few reasons. It’s a way to force myself into a routine. It’s a way of taking care of myself. It’s a way of exerting some control over things right now. And it’s a way of counteracting the yawning gaping hours of nothingness with hummus and carrots, or sixteen minutes on the elliptical trainer. I might have spent six hours straight sitting on the couch staring into space, but by God, I drank eight glasses of water today. You know. You take what you can get when the mental flu knocks you flat.
And I know that sometimes the flu seems like it’s never going to go away, but it almost always does. And in the meantime, if you think I’m avoiding you, it’s probably because I fear it’s contagious and I don’t want you to catch it.