A Well Organized Descent Into Madness

(My sister is amazing. I told her my entire workload for this week of midterms, and she whipped this BEAUTY of a blog post up for me. It is wonderful, and you should read it.) 


     If you’re a type A, color-coded-binder, make-your-bed-in-the-morning kind of maniac, chances are, you’ve experience the dreaded: Doubt Spiral. 

     Thankfully, the Doubt Spiral does not consume us entirely, as you’re still here to read this gaudy pink blog in the wee hours of the night, because Lord knows that’s when these get posted.  I myself, though proudly not on the rollercoaster of self imposed guilt any longer, recently found myself in the whirlpool of the Doubt Spiral.  Now you may be thinking, “Christine, how did the clammy claws of Edgar Allen Poe’s Peeping-Tom ghost get a grasp on you—well, you’re just so careful!”  And usually you’d be right. 

     The best place to start this tale is when I ended my second book and sent it off to be eaten alive by the world and all its accomplices.  Though I’ve yet to dabble in opiates in my short life, I akin the rush of exhilaration to something not unlike heroin.  Writer’s heroin.  Weroin, we’ll call it. 

     Oh, and did I ride the wave of weroin.  What else could I do?  I’d done all the work, and then came the faith and patience part.  A glorious wave it was, but unfortunately all waves, symbolic drugs notwithstanding, crash. 

     So there I was, weroin-less, and quite frankly with far too much time on my hands for someone who organizes her sticky note collection for fun.  I tried to make the best of it; I read books, I got caught up on long abandoned tv shows, I even tried meditating which didn’t last long.  But I was itching for weroin, or more earnestly, a response from literary agents.

    I had crashed on weroin before, so I wasn’t quite as hopeless and despondent as I could have been, but still, I felt dreadfully guilty.  I was loitering in the limbo between the ledge and the water and I can say with certainty—it sucked. 

     But then I had an idea.  Now, usually if you get a text from me past 11 p.m. it isn’t any form of higher thought, but this time, I had cracked a hidden clause in the labyrinth of my psyche. 

     I made a contingency plan.  This wasn’t an assassin’s check list as so much a shoddily drawn treasure map of things I had to do to remember I’m not a useless blob of potato chips and half baked stories.  My contingency plan consists of these tasks, in this strange but helpful order. 

  1. Cut away the vines (in essence, stop panicking and clear your head)
  2. Pray/Do a fire dance/summon any desired higher or lower power
  3. Run 5 miles  
  4. Listen to Meatloaf’s absolute banger “It Just Won’t Quit” 
  5. Reread “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
  6. Lock yourself out of the house for four hours
  7. Watch “The Count of Monte Cristo” (for the 3,000th time) 
  8. Paint nails
  9. Make vegan apple turnovers 

     I am usually one to detest any self-help that resembles a PTA mom’s facebook post that she reblogged from her coupon club’s motivational feed, BUT, I made an agreement with future me, that if I finished all these tasks and still wanted to continue down the frigid waters of the Doubt Spiral, then I was more than welcome to grab some pool noodles and enjoy the descent into my carb-fueled mental prison. 

     And I am happy to report, I only got to number five before I felt sufficiently myself again, and was clacking away at my keyboard, as happy and as ignorant as I was when I first started writing. 

     Is it fool proof? No, I am quite foolish.  Will it always work?  Maybe not.  But, at the very worst, you get some apple turnovers out of it. 


-Christine Eckelbarger

(The first, and superior, of the Eckelbarger sisters.)


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