Last night, as I was walking around to different events in San Francisco, a dark mood came over me. My perception of everything went negative and my tolerance of people evaporated.
I chalked it up to a serious lack of sleep. I’m still pretty sure that’s what it is. I didn’t pay attention to the three-hour time change when I got here Sunday and, as the clock approached midnight west coast time, I realized I had been up for nearly 24 hours.
When you are managing a mental disorder like OCD, staying up for that long is one of the dumbest things you can do.
No big deal, I figured. I’d go to sleep and be fine the next morning.
But my mood has been increasingly foul with each passing hour. As I write this, someone is sitting a couple rows in front of me in the press room playing a loud game of some sort.
My instinct is to walk over, take the device from his hand and smash it over his head. But that’s not my style. I vent it out here instead.
Not helping matters is that I have a compulsive need to produce material at these events. I keep pushing myself when there’s no reason to do so.
I’m fortunate in that my recovery program is holding and I’ve avoided the binge eating. But I’m leaning on the other crutches too hard lately, and that bothers me, too.
I hear it from addicts all the time. They put down the thing that’s caused the most chaos and heartache in their lives, but then they find themselves latching onto smaller addictions to fill the hole. Chain smoking, for example.
That hole inside is what compels us to harm ourselves in the first place. Fail to address the source of the pain you’re medicating and the demons will be back. You end up pushing down on all the different addictions like the keys on a piano.
I’m lucky in many respects, because I started dealing with my pain sourceyears before I even tried to address the addictive byproducts. I also have a powerful ally in God, and got a lot out of praying the Rosary on the hour-long commute to work this morning. I can also indulge in some perfectly harmless and always therapeutic metal music.
But truth be told, I still struggle with other addictions when the big one is under control, just like everyone else. They are the less destructive kind, but troublesome all the same. Especially when you can’t afford them the way you once could.
Anyway, I’m going to work on adjusting my attitude.
Meantime, if you run into me and I’m less than friendly, I apologize in advance. It’s not you.
And if I become downright rude, call me on it.
And, if you really need to, break something over my head.