Know Yourself, by Lucy Mills

ON MY 'DAY OFF' THIS WEEK, I lay slumped on the sofa, exhausted and past caring. About anything. Everything seemed pointless - not in a morbid fashion, simply that I was too exhausted to assign meaning to anything.

I've learned, after dreary experience, that I need to allow myself these moments. To allow myself recovery time, not to fret at the lack of meaning I feel, not to judge my life on a moment when I'm temporarily 'used up'.

Sometimes, or even often, this happens when it's not my 'day off' and I have to go through the motions, forcing myself to care even though the rebellious, shattered part of me sees no reason to care.

We all have things about ourselves that we (hopefully) learn to recognise.  I recognise that just because I feel this way today, doesn't mean I'll feel that way tomorrow.  Just because I can't imagine, in this moment, ever writing anything again - let alone anything of worth - doesn't mean I won't. Just because I don't see the point, doesn't mean I don't have a point.

Some seem to excel at living.  Some seem to be naturally buoyant - all the time! Some people seem to exude compassion and I am tempted to despair at my lack of care. But then, I don't see them when they are slumped on the sofa, all used up.

I need to remember how 'I' work.  No point in comparing myself to others.  To understand what 'I' need, and how I need to go about things - and not be forced into a template I was never designed for.

I need to remember that I need to ride out these off-moments in order to reach something new and different, in order to stretch myself. To allow space for the Spirit of God to whisper (or sometime shout) into my carelessness.

I ebb - and sometimes it feels a long time ebbing - but then I flow.

And words which felt like gravel on my tongue spill over it like delicious liquid.

What do you know about yourself?  How do you handle it?  How does it affect your writing life?


Lucy Mills

Lucy's first book, Forgetful Heart: remembering God in a distracted world, was published in 2014 by Darton, Longman and Todd (DLT). She's written articles, poetry and prayers for various publications and is an editor at magnet magazine.

Lucy on Twitter: @lucymills
Lucy's Facebook page

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  1. Beautifully put Lucy. It is true, we do need to know ourselves and understand that often, what our bodies are telling us, is only temporary.

  2. Thank you for this, Lucy. I've just had one of those moments, except that it's lasted over a week! We do have to learn to care for ourselves - if we were musicians, we would care for and maintain our instrument, the same goes for our 'writing brain'.

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  4. Thank you for this, Lucy. I had moments like this which lasted years, because my teaching job left me so exhausted I couldn't write at all. Now, I'm retired and, even over the last few weeks, my writing brain has started to regrow.
    (Sorry about deleting previous post. It contained a typo.)

  5. Thanks for your honesty. The hardest thing for achievers (and writing anything is an achievement) is to accept non-achieving times and not panic. It always feels like you have permanently lost it. Terrifying. I think a lot of us will empathise with this post. It's the same with praying. Those times when you can't think of a thing to say to God. Trying to hang on to the fact that he already knows what's going on inside us and accepts and loves us just the same.

  6. Good stuff - very universalist! Who doesn't become exhausted? No point in pretending or beating oneself up. (Though I do - so hard to 'waste' a day or two regaining energy...)

  7. Fantastic post - when I finally faced and accepted my depression as part of my life battle I began to more easily recognise days I could cope and when I could not - just knowing yourself and listening makes such a difference - embracing the sofa slump days with you x

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments - good to share common experiences.


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