I have just begun recovering from a severe bout of “Ido’wanna.”

“Ido’wanna” is an emotional sickness, kinda like a head cold, but it hits my center of motivation the hardest. I guess I might call it the “motivational flu.” I seem to come down with it a couple times a year, perhaps more often than I come down with an actual physical sickness. I’m not entirely certain how it’s contracted, but it definitely seems to accompany times of pretty heavy stress.

Its symptoms are quite severe. The biggest symptom is that I actively don’t do what I know I should do, the things that make my life so much easier when I keep up with them. I let the dishes pile up. I consciously and defiantly drop items wherever I feel like it, rather than putting them away where they belong. I don’t make my bed, I let my car get dirty, weeds in my yard grow strong and hearty.

I don’t even do things that I want to do. I don’t go shopping. I drop out of books I was in the middle of reading. I come up with excuses not to ride my bike on a nice day, or go swimming on a hot day. I sometimes don’t even shower for a day. Some days, I barely even eat, or if I do, it’s not what I should be eating. I waste time. Actively and consciously, I waste time. I know what I’m doing but I feel helpless against it.

And, through it all, something deep inside is laughing uproariously about all the ways I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

It feels like rebellion; in fact I sometimes call it “rebelling against myself,” but there’s really no good reason to be rebelling at all.

Except perhaps as a protest against stress.

When the Beast of Stress and Overwhelm moves into my life, it takes up more than its share of space in my head and my energy center. It kicks and fights and keeps me awake and drains me of all my energy reserves. And so when all these other little “s’posed to” chores also ask for their share of energy, there’s just no more left to go around. I try to get rid of the Big Stressful Beast, but it usually won’t go away on its own, so just to keep my head above water I need to get rid of All The Other Things that are begging for my attention.

And so I drop them, with a small whispered apology and a promise to get back to them as soon as I am able, as soon as I can manage to get on top of the Overwhelming Stress Beast and knock a few limbs off its body, perhaps wrestle it closer to a cage where I can lock it up into submission.

I’ve just reached that point in this latest bout of “Ido’wanna”. Dishes are clean again, coupons redeemed, phone calls returned, and I even took the roll of toilet paper off the tank and put it on the holder. I hung a picture in my office and made a purchase I’ve been putting off. The fridge is filled with vegetables again. The car is clean.

Best of all, I’m not waking up in the morning with such a tight stomach and a feeling of overwhelming panic. I think I’ve got the beast knocked back a bit. He’s still quite a force to deal with, but I’ve grabbed my weapon and taken some productive swings at him. What is my weapon, you ask? It’s a list. I’ve made such a detailed list on how to handle him that he’s rolled over a tiny little bit and I see just a hint of his underbelly.

I know I can take him down, and with it will go the rest of my symptoms of “Ido’wanna.” I see the end, and I’m feeling better. My energy is rising. The house is looking better. Things are getting done again.

And now to get that junk mail off the dining room table.


One response to ““Ido’wanna!”

  1. Roll that list up and swat the beast on the nose.

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