Bleakness 'n' Me

Who else amongst has felt the heavy taint of bleakness? What did you do to overcome it? Or, did something happen to make it go away? Whatever; I’m trying to overcome my own bleakness now and am looking for solutions to help me do so.


Yeah, I get the bleakness thing. Currently in a good spot, so I’ll let you know how I got there.

First of all, take care of yourself. And first thing to do in that category is to invest in getting yourself more energy. So, get enough sleep. Eat enough, but try to eat healthy. For myself, having my place be clean is a source of energy.
After the initial investment of energy, spend that energy on things that don’t make you feel bleak. I just got back from a canoe trip into the back country; that kind of thing makes me feel great.

After the basic care of yourself is done, find something to do to improve yourself. Take an exercise class. Write a story. Volunteer. But, whatever you do, make sure you have someone holding you accountable, so group activities are probably a better bet.

The next step after that is to find purpose. Sadly, I haven’t made much progress down this path, but maybe you already have an idea how to do this, but not the energy or self-worth to pull it off (in which case, repeat the previous two steps until you do).

I hope this helps.


When the bleakness hits me, I feel like I’m in a dark pit and everything around me is far away. I hate myself and I can’t imagine how I can allow myself to go to sleep that night.

How do I make it go away? I don’t. I just live and it eventually retreats.


My best remedy is to force myself to do something productive, especially if it’s something creative. That can give me enough energy to do something that’s not so creative and not so interesting.

But, yeah, I’ve had that. I just call it depression, which I’ve been diagnosed with. And it seems to have a rapid cycling component to it, in addition to some long term dips in mood. I think my method above helps more with the rapid part than the long term part.

I’ve been thinking of you, btw.


For me, turning to the darkness, I never come to the end of it. I just keep moving, doing the things that work as best I can. I practice observing myself without judgement and try to learn what doesn’t make my life work so when the lift back up comes I can look back at my hour of darkness and have more motivation to do the effortful things that keep me feeling lighter.

And I find massage helps, mani/pedis help. I spend money to stay sane.


I’ve come to recognize that after an unusual burst of energy/hyper/manic spurt, a crash will inevitably follow, but it usually levels back out in a couple days. Most of the time I can handle that ok, though it is really difficult if I have to be around people and be ‘on’ during the crash. I haven’t figured out any good way to deal with that. Basically I sneak away and take advantage of any opportunity to avoid people as much as possible until it passes. I especially avoid the perky prudish people because they have no understanding and will look at me like I’m an abomination during those times. But again that’s usually just a day or two.

However there are also some times when I just find myself in the bleakness without that joyous hyper precursor/warning. Those are harder because I don’t see them coming and they tend to stick around longer and harder. I have two approaches to try to overcome them, neither of which is guaranteed effective:

  1. Isolate and focus on me time, avoiding people, spending time on things that I used to enjoy, introspection, reading, and working to improve myself (budget, exercise, etc.).
  2. Get out among people so that I feel like a part of something, whether that’s visiting old friends, going to a club, or just hanging out downtown people-watching and feeling the ebb and flow of the city around me.

Obviously, the two are kind of polar opposites. I still don’t know how to tell which I need when, but I do know that it’s unhealthy to go too far to either extreme. So I usually spend a bit of time isolating and then a bit of time trying to reintegrate. And just hope that it works. Because the next step for me would be getting a multicolored mohawk again and going out adventuring among the wilder people, and I’m getting a little too old for that. :sweat_smile:


When it happens to me, I get very practical about checking out for a day or two without more than the usual bags under my eyes and affectless wit at work. Then it goes away. Usually.


So much this. Remember the Airplane Pressure Rule: when things go sideways and the masks come down, put yours on first, and then help those around you who require assistance.

We (especially parents and especially women) get “sacrifice” and “giving” drilled into us so much. Sometimes there’s nothing left to sacrifice and you need to recharge/repair.

For me, that means:

  • Sleep. For a very long time I would sleep 18+ hours a day every weekend. That may sound like too much, but after years of being sleep deprived, I needed it. Nowadays that happens once in a blue moon for one weekend day, and when it does, I don’t fight it.
  • Break down what you need to do into small chunks. Rest after one task gets completed. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done that you needed to. Unfuck Your Habitat is fabulous for learning this (
  • Practice being in control of stuff. I still do this: I will turn off a DVD I’m not into before the movie is over, or stop listening to a song midway to go do something else. (My ex insisted on listening to albums until the bitter end, even if I were literally falling asleep doing so, and berate me about how a true music lover would stay awake.)
  • Learn something new. I once had a friend of a friend need to know the basics of MS-Office to get a job. I made her up a “cheat sheet” --er, about 20 pages long – which included best practices to use it efficiently. (Remember I used to teach this stuff.) She worked with it at home, got the job, used the links I gave her to learn more, and then… became the MS-Office guru at work and got a promotion! She reached out once and self-taught the rest. Knowledge is power.

In just facing housekeeping, that’s a suggestion that Peg Bracken makes in “The I-Hate-to-Housekeep Book”. Start that letter to whomever; set up the area for hemming the drapes; mix the dry ingredients for the cake that’s for dessert tonight. Why? “Don’t start anything you can’t finish!” - anyone ever hear that, or variations thereof, growing up, or even as an adult?

That does work for me when it comes to doing chores, most of the time. But getting started on getting started can be a challenge.


I have this exact same problem!!


I keep meaning to start a procrastinators’ support group, but…


I tried to think of a good reply but …



Mr. Burns: “Are there any questions?”

Principal Skinner: “Yes. Which is more important, get-up-and-go or stick-to-itivness?”

Mr. Burns: “Are there any other questions?”


So. Ever since my car accident, I’ve had the funny feeling that I’m supposed to be earning income from doing something at home. But WHAT?

Starting up a small business through normal channels probably wouldn’t work because my credit sucks. So it would have to be something I can do without needing outside materials. Creating artwork is easy for me; selling it is definitely not (but is it for anyone?).

Baking is out until I get my (now-increased) MI Bridge card reloaded. Plus, I can’t print labels, my printer has refused to suck in paper, and it’s been so long since I’ve printed anything the cartridge is probably dried up. I suppose in the future, I can sell baked goods during my garage sale, and have one hand-printed sign, in large letters, listing the ingredients.

I can write things for people! I did a Wikipedia entry for a friend of mine in Australia, but it was rejected (she’s not notable enough on her own, is basically the reason I was given); although this may change, waiting to hear back from her to see if she wants me to continue trying. I also write essays, op-ed pieces, and poetry.

I think I need an agent, LOL! I am simply not a push-myself-and-my-works-onto-others sort of person.


What’s your computer skill level?


I’m not a fan of the gig economy in general, but have you considered looking for artistic work on Mechanical Turk?

It’ll almost certainly end up with you being underpaid for the work you’re doing, but it’s work-for-hire, so you won’t have the problem of pushing your artwork onto others.


For nowadays? Pretty basic. I haven’t worked with MS PowerPoint, Publisher, or Access for years. I don’t know QuickBooks; I’m not an accountant, I went to Dorsey Business School for their Legal Secretary program and got out in 1995. I have not kept up with the law industry.


I have no formal graphic-design training. I draw, paint (watercolors and acrylics), delineate, fill colors.

Mechanical Turk…I dunno. It seems like I could be doing something more profitable than that. I read a long review about someone who’s been using it for a while and she calls it a “side hustle”.

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I have an online friend in Virginia who does the side hustle with “pour paintings”, but has graduated to some graphics in her work. I never knew she had the graphics skills, but needless to say, I’m very impressed.


I’m going to try to work something out with Comcast, I have no idea what; without a job and being into them for over 300$, all I can think of doing is go to an actual office with the cable box and my mom’s death certficate and tell them: 1) I have no job; and 2) I’ve been so grief-stricken since my mom died I forgot to change the name on the account.

And I need a ride to do that and I’m tired of asking for help. Sure, I could take the bus - that goes OUT OF THE WAY, plus carrying a cable box. Yes, I know people take the bus everyday, but it’s quicker to walk in some cases than to wait for the bus. In the Motor City, they want one to have a car.