it’s mental flu because i say so

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.

7 Replies to “it’s mental flu because i say so”

  1. I find that a nice night of quality bar time with friends does the trick!

    or just a couple of nights with movies…take your pick!

  2. I’m sorry to hear you have the mental flu, and I hope you feel better soon. I have very low immunity when it comes to the mental flu, so I feel your pain. My only piece of unsolicited advice (please don’t hate me for offering unsolicited advice) is try doing yoga, if you haven’t already. I can’t say enough about it, so I won’t even begin.

  3. Can I borrow rights to the term ‘mental flu?’ I recently got over that shit and recommend manicures, pedicures and additional retail therapy as needed — that is, if you have the energy.

    Wine only helps if you consume in moderation.

  4. We’ve all had the mental flu. Anyone who has lived to 30 and claims they haven’t is lying. It’s just whether the flu recurrs, or whether you can keep the flu at bay by building up your resistance to it. You are a strong person, the mental flu won’t keep you down for long.

  5. yeah, i get you. i’m having a bit right now. it’s sort of more like a mental cold, but still. blah.

    obviously you don’t have to, but i tagged you to do a ” 5 things that keep you positive” meme a bit back. maybe that will help.

  6. Keep up your healing activities, and keep us posted on your poignant insights into your family’s incidental quirkiness. It helps me to see my own and laugh about it.

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