I am not trying to convince anyone who doesn’t believe that this happens, or that it matters. I am speaking to those who have experienced what I am about to share: the suck.
There is no better way of putting it. Eloquent words will strip away it’s meaning. Unlike writers block, the suck doesn’t just affect writers. Anyone is fair game. A cruel combination–of anger, doubt, anxiety–makes the suck formidable. This week I suffered from it. And so did this blog … 11 o’clock rolled around on Wednesday night, and I had still not selected the publish button. Instead, I chose my bed. I had the post ready, too. I was working on an illustration to accompany it–until I decided that I wasn’t.
Earlier that day I woke up at 6 am to prepare for another mediocre day at a mediocre job. It was a frustrating day of work. There were not enough staff, and my ankle was sprained. If I’m miserable I have the habit of brooding; I reflected on a miserable past life for a better part of that day. Even if I was thinking about something happy for just a moment, that horrible feeling kept coming back. The suck held sway all day.
Then the suck held sway into the rest of the week. My other responsibilities, personal and otherwise, took a back seat. During the week, all I wanted to do was go home and read. Then sleep. My phone became my enemy, as did my laptop. Maybe deep down I saw them as myself, but since I could not truly neglect myself I neglected them instead. While I attempted to stay happy, the suck lapped at my joy, as it if were a vampire bat licking up a bit of blood.
I normally faint if I have to have blood taken. So if I’m going to liken my own happiness to my own life-blood, then it’s nothing short of miraculous that I could even go on with the week.
It wasn’t even a bad week, but it doesn’t have to be for the suck to reign supreme. That’s not how it works. So I worked during the day, wasting away while the sun shone bright and hot–and happy–outside, then when I was done I sat inside and read the book. A few times I went outside for a walk, because I was stir-crazy. I even went shopping. Shopping is a form of self-therapy, right?
Of course, I would only admit to myself that I was miserable when I was at work. Not when I was home. Here’s the kicker: for me it’s not really the job. The job might be the catalyst, but it is not the cause.
Sleep deprivation, poor diet, dehydration, and bad memories: all these things and more can contribute to the suck.
If I had to describe this malediction I would use one word: obnoxious. If the suck had a face, it would be a weird, pimply little creature, the type which likes to wax on about things poetically as if it were such a deep thinker. Maybe this is a stereotype, but the kinds of characters who do that are usually sad and shallow.
Yes, the suck is just a sad, shallow something …
… Despite all of this it still has a powerful bite. And the suck knows me well.
Things to combat the suck: self care, counselling, and whatever it is that makes you happy. At least for me. When I was younger I would create monsters: they were the embodiment of my most powerful, most awful, of emotions. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, or to really tell me how to handle my feelings at that time. If there was anyone to talk to, I doubt that I would have had the words. And I would have been afraid of repercussions. Talk to the wrong people, and you would suffer. It wasn’t even the people you had to talk to, it was sometimes the person they had to tell. Long story short, this is where the suck draws its power from. On my own I found out how to cope, and when I was older and wiser I found people that I could talk to.
I know that some aren’t so fortunate in that regard.
Everyone is different, everyone copes in their own way, but I think we can all agree on one thing: the suck needs to go!