Doing nothing

I write this on a grey November day, emotionally exhausted and bodily out of sorts. That’s not an especially unusual state to be in. The urge is always to try and push through, be productive. In part this is because doing things that feel useful often helps me ward off the dread and anxiety that always follow hot on the heels of exhaustion.

What do I have to give, right now? Not a lot. My body needs me to show up for gentle, physical stuff, I can feel that. My brain craves things that will soothe it, rather than the relentless drive to do more. I’m at the tail end of a project, and I’ve been dealing with hypervigilance, the brain that ran in overdrive for days has to slow down, or stop.

Outside, the rain is falling softly. The yellow leaves show brightly against the grey sky. There is still greenery, and it is late in the year for so many leaves to still be green. It’s one of the kinder faces the climate crisis wears. My cat is watching the rain, watching the world go by, and I think he has the right of it. I’m typing slowly, turning my attention to the window over and over. It is a day for needing soft things and peacefulness.

Sometimes you have to decide that you have done enough, and give yourself the space to do nothing.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

11 responses to “Doing nothing

  • ndabarithuku

    Back here in Kenya. The rains have visited us also. In sub-Saharan Africa the climate crisis is real.
    Interesting I do not know where the rain makers & their tools went to.
    Probably the British have them in their museums.

  • darrack1

    Watch the world for a while
    The world needs watching
    Trust in the cat

  • potiapitchford

    This is making a conscious choice to pause and listen to what your body, including your brain, needs. This is listening in order to make little changes that will bring you, as an embodied being, long term benefits. This is rebelling against the social narrative that one must be “busy” and “productive”. Which means that making these choices and sharing them is being a much needed activist for social change because we need more people to step up and say rest is good and that listening to your needs is good. It is only habit that makes you feel you are doing nothing.

  • Dolly

    I suppose the price of continually writing about what a monumentally miserable sod you are is the risk of continually reinforcing that perceived state within your own mind. There is an element of wallowing in the misery of it all here. You are much better served doing something else: painting a picture, doing a jigsaw puzzle, even watching an episode of Jeremy Kyle.

    • Nimue Brown

      Well, this is interesting feedback, isn’t it? Most days, I write creatively, I practice an instrument or a song, I craft things – I talk about all of that here, too and I’m sorry that you’ve missed those posts. I suffer from depression and I struggle with anxiety and I choose to talk about that some of the time in no small part because there are people who tell me they find it helpful. I don’t expect everyone to like what I do, but I’m interested in how we can best support each other. I invite you to consider whether your words are intended to be compassionate, or whether you enjoy being meanspirited. And if that latter, might you be doing that because you crave warmth, attention and support? There are better ways than this of seeking attention and I hope you’re able to find something more nourishing to do with your time.

      • Dolly Smith

        Well you have made me laugh! That’s the spirit!

        I’m sorry if you feel my comments were lacking in compassion or that I was seeking attention.

        I am a practical person who offers practical advice. I simply question whether wallowing in self-misery and grossly over-done self-analysis every other day amounts to a pastime which will improve your state of mind. My feeling is it won’t, that’s all.

        I’m afraid I also don’t believe that your principal goal is to help others. It is, instead, a way to talk about yourself – you might call that attention-seeking; you might also call that therapy, if one were feeling charitable. Either way, I don’t believe it’s of any use to you.

      • Nimue Brown

        Ah yes, and this is why I have guest blogs, review books for people, talk about creating and green living, the Druid path – your assumptions are very funny and make it clear that you have only looked at this post – one written on a rough day – and jumped to a whole bunch of conclusions about me. You’re not a practical person, you’re someone who has shown up on my blog and decided that from one post, you know who I am and what I’m doing. Why you’re doing this is a much more interesting question and at some point I shall no doubt write a blog post about this whole process.

        I am attention seeking, people generally are. I meet this need by being part of a band, writing fiction and non-fiction, having a youtube channel where I post original fiction and music… I find that posting images of craft work in progress is, for example, an excellent way of answering the need for attention. I can recommend all of that. Perhaps you’d like to keep talking to me about the kinds of good things you do for people with your ‘practical advice’ although as an aside, this is about the worst way imaginable to treat a depressed person and if you were dealing with anyone who thought your opinion was worth anything, what you’re saying could cause genuine harm and distress. Of course, as you don’t know me, you don’t really have any motivation to want to harm me, so it raises some fascinating questions about what you’re doing.

  • Dolly Smith

    I don’t have any desire to harm anyone, you can be sure of that. And, after all, these are only fairly innocuous words on a screen, so one would think that there’s very little chance of anyone being harmed during this encounter. Do you agree?

    I actually really like your fiction writing, plus I’ve been reading this blog for a while, not just the one post. You’re a talented writer, but you let yourself and others down with this dreadfully gloomy introspection. Everyone has a bad day, but this is a constant theme on this blog, and quite frankly I got fed up with it and lost my patience with what comes across as endless self-indulgence.

    There we are.

    Dolly xxxx

    • Nimue Brown

      If you treat depressed people as self indulgent – not just me, anyone with issues – you will harm them. If you read this blog regularly enough to have come to a conclusion about who I am but have taken on nothing I’ve said about how vitally important language choices are, then I can only ask you to take the power of your own words a good deal more seriously. Most people who are depressed are depressed for reasons, and mostly those reasons are about life experiences, not lack of the right plucky attitude. I share what I share because I’m interested in finding strategies for improving not just my situation, but what’s happening for fellow travellers. I’ve found your comments rude, unpleasant, ill informed and likely to cause harm to others. Please consider the way in which pretty much all suicide prevention groups talk about how important it is for people to be able to express their feelings. You are not obliged to read anything I write and honestly, I’d really prefer it if you didn’t.

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