Writing my way out of a rut… Meet ‘the rut’

Rut (noun)

  1. “A long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles”
  2. “A habit or pattern of behaviour that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.”

I am definitely stuck in a rut – an emotional rut, but also a physical one (in a weird, metaphorical sense).

My emotions are unproductive, but beyond that, they are destructive. While long-term health issues, hospital admissions, and recent physical inabilities have limited my activities, the emotional mess I seem to have unravelled into has almost taken my ability to function as a normal human being. And the knowledge of this, in itself, makes me frustrated. Because yes I am, without doubt, very far in to a downward spiral, but this is my mind, and surely it only does things that I allow it to do?

Physically… I can’t walk very far. Even less far in the heat (and it is currently summer). I am the kind of person who used to cycle for miles just… because I could. I would run every day. If I was angry I’d go kick a football. I swam four nights a week. And then came the rut. All those things are behind the rut, and on the other side of the rut, but right now my body is stuck in the rut. It can’t do what it used to, but everybody around it can, and they struggle to comprehend the fact that while I look like the same old me, I’m actually a little broken.

It is ironic that the definition of a rut should mention wheels, when it is a set of wheels that have also led to me getting stuck in a rut. There is a wheelchair sat at the bottom of the stairs. One that I have been told to use when I go out, but won’t (which means I can’t really go to very many places), and I don’t know why. I thought, initially, that it was pride. We all fall victims to our own pride at some point, and heavily regret the decisions we let it taint; but my pride is not the thing that has interfered with this decision. It is denial. My brain doesn’t want to need it. It doesn’t want to give in. It doesn’t want to accept that yes, things are that bad and yes, it has to deal with this and yes, a heart really can break you just like you can break it.

That wheelchair symbolises everything that is tearing me apart right now – my inability to be me, to do the things that used to relive stress or anger – or at least to do them without collapsing into a great heap of chest pain and arrhythmia. That wheelchair is for the version of me that dropped out of school because the fatigue got to the point that they couldn’t function. That wheelchair is for the version of me who has battled with their own health for years and finally let it limit them yet again.

So I started looking for stuff that I can do. Because who wants to be stuck in a rut, right? I looked for a way to express myself, to give me that same sense of achievement and take away the constant thought in the back of my mind that I am wasting my life, and so what is the point of it? I started writing.

And then, I started reading again, forcing myself to pick up a book even though I hated the world and wanted to curl up under the covers and shut it out.

Then I remembered someone somewhere saying that if you look good, then you feel good about yourself. So I took some money and went shopping and got a whole load of new clothes.

I started eating more fruit (because that just seems like the sort of thing that people do to try and turn their life around).

I turned my thoughts to A levels (ended up in hospital right in the middle of my exams so that plan didn’t really work) and then to starting university (which I’m not sure if I will even be able to do any more).

I tried a lot of things actually, and yet… Still in a rut. Except now I’m stuck in a rut with an 80,000 word unpublished novel (when I said write, I meant it!), a very outraged body (I pushed it way too far hoping it would just get over itself) and absolutely no idea what to do next.

And then I thought about starting a blog (which obviously progressed from thought to action because here we all are!)

But that’s not what this blog is going to be about. I’m not focussing on the rut (although admittedly I just spent the last however-many words doing exactly that) but instead on trying to get out of it. Because I know I will. And I think that blogging about it will help, because then I have a reason to keep going, and something to focus on, and another thing that I can do with all of my time.

I basically realised that I currently have two choices:

  1. Sleep all day, dread waking up, feel too dizzy and tachycardic to get out of bed, listen to people outside going about their normal lives, silently hate them, then want to join them, then get really angry at myself, pull the covers over my head, and go back to sleep, hoping that the dull ache in the left side of my chest will be gone when I wake up…
  2. Ignore all of that, stop thinking about what used to be and play to my new strengths (or weakness, or whatever this is) wake up at a normal time, give myself a reason to get out of bed (even though this usually results on me laying on the floor because my heart is grumpy when I first wake up) do something productive with my day, ignore the people outside doing all the things I can’t do, and hope that everything is fixed soon.

I picked the second option. I am blogging my way out of this rut. I’ll let you know how it all works out…


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