I’m really scared to post this. For the past 5 years (since I formally left school and haven’t HAD to wake up for anything) my general lifestyle could only be described as: neurotic, erratic, insane, difficult to predict.
As a solo entrepreneur, who lives on his own, and has virtually zero time specific commitments in his life (woe is me, I know). It’s been very difficult to make myself get out of bed.
For years, I’ve slept when I can’t stay awake anymore and woke up whenever I woke up. This “natural rhythm” method seems sensible, until you look at how it played out in reality.
Being massively overstimulated with electronic devices, caffeine, nicotine, stress, and anxiety every single day. My sleep schedule didn’t fall on a predictable track. There were plenty of weeks/months when it was sleep 12 hours, be awake 12 hours (and tired the entire time). Then other times when it was awake 20 hours, sleep 12 hours. Sometimes I didn’t sleep much and did some accidental polyphasic sleeping.
This had a ton of negative byproducts in my life.
Imagine: It’s Tuesday. You ask me to get lunch Wednesday. I will get extremely nervous and uncomfortable and make an excuse as to why I can’t. Not because I don’t want to get lunch with you, but because sometimes for me lunch happens at 1am. The thought of committing to a specific time that’s more than an hour from now is actually something that stresses me out.
That is insane.
Add onto this nutritional problems. I spent a lot of days without sunlight. Had weird appetite. Would miss meals and then massively overeat. Completely irregular meal times. No forethought about what I would eat meant that I would make all of my eating decisions when I was absolutely starving. Note: this is a bad idea.
I got fat. Really fat. I peaked at 320 lbs.
This whole monstrosity became a continuous downward spiral. The worse things got, the more apathetic I became. The more apathetic I became, the worse things got.
I started to become anti-social. Thinking I could worry about a social life once I got my fatness, sleep, and perpetual anxiety under control. Every new problem in life got rationalized out as being a a sub problem of one of these top level problems.
Things that didn’t normally happen to me, started happening.
I got extremely depressed. I ruined some relationships I had. Everything suffered. My interest in things like watching TV and eating fast food increased dramatically. They were cheap ways to feel OK, despite the long term costs.
Oh by the way. I’m not talking about something that happened to me years ago that I overcame. I mean, I’m talking about last month. Last week.
I gradually became more painfully aware day to day of the toll this was taking on my life.
My business declined to 50% of what it used to be, and my bank account started hurting. My sex drive was extremely low. I was only having sex with my girlfriend about once per week. I wasn’t even masturbating at all. Not because of #NOBNOM. I just didn’t have the sexual desire to.
Putting on socks became a challenge that would leave me out of breath for several minutes after accomplishing it. It became difficult to wipe my own ass. I’d get heartburn every day. Bad heartburn. Everything hurt me, like if someone would pinch me, it hurt really bad for a while (muscle fascia problems). The zipper on 3 pairs of my favorite jeans broke in the span of one month because I’d outgrown them. My skin would break out like I was in high school again (I think because of stress/poor diet/poor hygiene).
The one thing I can say is that I didn’t consider killing myself. It’s too soon for a Robin Williams joke, so don’t even ask!
I finally hit rock bottom. There wasn’t a cataclysmic event that set me off or anything. Enough things just piled up day by day, month by month that finally I hit a breaking point.
One evening last month I got mad. Really, really mad. I was mad at myself. Sitting and reflecting on what my life had become. How I got to where I was and such. I like to do that sometimes. But on this occasion, I focused on how the parts I didn’t like about life.
I locked myself in the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and had a conversation with myself for a few hours. This was therapeutic. If you’re struggling in life, you should do it.
I got so furious during this self talk that I really just wanted to beat the crap out of myself. How could I let all of this happen? Why was I such a lazy/whiney bitch; always running to Wendy’s to get a burger because that’s the only fun thing to do in my life?
Why couldn’t I be a real man? Make decisions and follow through with them?
I didn’t pull any punches. I went for the throat. Nothing was off limits.
By the end of the conversation I had lost all respect for myself. Every shred of dignity that I had was utterly destroyed.
This was freedom.
Note: I’m not a schizophrenic or anything. I think everyone keeps two sets of books. This was a struggle between my ideal self and my lower self.
Why couldn’t I change?
Because it didn’t hurt bad enough.
And then it did.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada