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  • Writer's pictureapriladventuring

Day 23: Productivity As a Coping Mechanism

I'm having a really down week. Maybe it's the holidays or maybe it's just a normal mood swing, but I'm in a slump.

One of my main coping mechanisms is to be productive. If I end up having a sloth day on top of feeling down, I feel way worse about myself. If I at least got in a workout or created some content or cooked something yummy, then I can feel accomplished about that.

There's a reason so many super productive people aren't happy with their lives. They become addicted to the endorphins released when they see something they've produced. Think of all the prolific artists throughout history that have suffered from major depression or other mental health issues. For some it's a release or a way to externalize those feelings. For others it's a way to build self-worth.

It's just another way to avoid those uncomfortable feelings and brush them under the rug for just one more day.

My doomscrolling turns into creating posts for Instagram. My unrelenting inner monologue turns into writing up a blog post on something others might relate to. My sitting on the couch watching endless episodes of some show turns into prepping upcoming pages for my bullet journal.

It's not all bad and can be a stepping stone toward working on something you're passionate about that brings you true joy. But not addressing the root cause of being down means that it will continue to pop up. When projects aren't going exactly right or you end up deleting everything you've just worked on, those dark feelings creep back into the forefront stronger than ever.

Not being able to address and name those feelings makes it all worse. Giving them a label weakens their hold on you. Now instead of a spiraling feeling of darkness, it's "stress" or "depression" or "sadness." And those are things you can work on.

I'm writing this now as a way to clear my head. I know that when I've leveled out more, I still need to face what brought me to this point anyway. There's only so much that pumping out blog posts can do for me.

The root of the issue right now is that I'm not feeling valued. Not because my posts aren't getting views or likes or that my follower count isn't growing. It's because I don't have people checking in on me or showing me that they care. I don't have people that want to have real conversations and listen and discuss and learn together. I'm tired of feeling like my entire existence is hearing other people and praising what they've done and joining them for their hobbies and sending the first texts.

I'm feeling like I'm my own best friend and the only one that sees my intrinsic human worth. I'm feeling like my dog is the only one that sees me or is excited to spend time together. I'm feeling like my presence is a bother.

And it makes me want to be alone. To crawl into a cave and just pump out IG posts and blogs for no one to read and embroider and fill my own cup. The world is such a hard place sometimes and get lonelier by the year. Everyone is the main character and community is dwindling. At least I can be productive through this rapid decline.

If you're going through something similar, I hope you work on that art piece, write a new song, pump out an awesome workout -- but then stop to reflect on what makes you need to fill your cup. What's draining you that can be stopped?

I feel like I don't have autonomy in so many areas in my life right now. I need to be alone and feel like myself again. Maybe then I can re-enter community and have an ear to give to someone else that feels they aren't being heard.


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