Oooh, boy, there’s nothing that’ll wear you out faster than emerging from a long emergency. The last few weeks, since I started blogging this, has been that kind of process.
A few things happen when you get out from under a major, long-term stress load.
The first is that your activity level goes up. No matter how athletic you normally are, existential stress changes the way your body deals with exercise. Some kinds of stress make you shelter-in-place, other kinds of stress drive you to hard physical labor in order to burn off enough adrenaline so that you can think straight. Since the stress in my universe has been both kinds, there’s been a pendulum effect the last couple years where I alternated between periods of intense activity and periods of intense inactivity–depending, largely, on whether the stress-flavor-of-the-month I was facing down.
Moving house, for example, was a different kind of stress than dealing with death in the family.
But whether the stress was one that drove you to heavy work or to shelter in place (or to spend a lot of time working at the computer), when it finally lifts, you can’t keep still. You roam the hills and dales and beaches and barrows until your feet are likely to fall off and you can’t seem to stay awake unless you’re moving.
Which dovetails nicely with the other thing that happens.
Your whole system has gotten so used to dealing with stress, that when all that low-level, long-term cortisol leaves your system, you just kind of…crash.
It’s a happy crash. A beautiful crash. But it’s one that involves a lot of sleeping, and, if you’re trying to write every day, you wind up spending a lot of time writing words backwards.
Which gets to be pretty annoying.
The latest chapter in the end of my long emergency was dropping the Free Will episode yesterday (scroll down, you’ll find it). Getting that podcast back up and going is something of a major milestone, and the moment I hit “post,” I more-or-less collapsed on the spot.
Not because it as a Herculean task. Just because, having it done, my whole body said to itself “well, there’s something we don’t have to worry about anymore. Here’s your pleasure endorphines. You can get rid of the stress hormones now,” and, all at once, it was like I was a marionette and someone cut my strings.
The downside of that was that I only registered a net gain of 337 words (again, I wrote more, but also cut quite a lot as I start to chew through scenes I wrote last year that now have no relevance to the story), and I fell asleep at the keyboard before I could do my daily post.
Tonight was better, though I was still fighting off a powerful amount of fatigue.
Today, I made just over 2100 words.
Starting word count: 35,424
Ending word count: 37,543