Night Despair

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After my last post where I discovered that I am old, I went into a deep dark depression.  With the realization of ones mortality comes some potentially devastating self-discovery.  During one particularly bad night of drama I coined a phrase: “Night Despair.”  While in my last, bout I began to brainstorm tips of how to get oneself out of such a pattern.  As a sort of public service, I present what I came up with.

PS I am open to many other tips…ideas are welcome.

Read a book.
Ideally, read a book that makes you feel better about your life.  So, perhaps some non-fiction that is about someone with a really bad life.  Like, anything from Agustin Burrows. There is a potential pitfall to this technique.  No matter how bad the life story of the memoir you are reading, the fact remains: that person has published a book.  This has the potential to make you feel worse about yourself.
Alternatively, to avoid this downer,  you could choose something funny to help liven up your mood.

Watch mindless TV.
This is a classic technique to take your mind off of despair.  In fact, a whole genre of late night infomercials is based on the fact that miserable people turn on the TV in the middle of the night.  Therefore, I would avoid infomercials or home shopping that preys on your delicate state.  Stay away from diet, weight loss, or faux spiritual guidance.  Cooking related infomercials, however, are an absolutely great choice, whether it is a juicer, a pannini maker or food dehydrator.  Cleaning tools are also great and may help you feel like you can get a handle on your night despair if you simply make a purchase.

informercials

Visit a friend in the hospital.
I don’t know what hospital visitation policies are these days so this may not be an option in the middle of the night.  However, this technique makes you feel better about yourself because visiting causes you to be thankful that you are not in the hospital.  Beyond that, a visitation also makes you feel good for helping to cheer someone up.  If you don’t have a friend in the hospital, go visit someone else’s friend.  If you don’t have a third party person, a stranger will do.  If you were going to visit a stranger, perhaps a nursing home would be a better option.  I find older folks are more open to strangers visiting.  Anyway, the result is the same.

Exercise.

This can also be difficult given your living situation.  I have found that while the movement exhausts you to help you sleep, exercise can also make you feel proactive, like you are not such a slug, and that you are on your way to a better body image which may or may not be one of the reasons for your night despair.

Cry.
Crying is a form of exercise.  Maybe one of the reasons you are so full of despair is because you have blocked emotions.  So the answer naturally is LET THEM OUT…loudly…constantly.  I have often found that there is a finite period of time that a person can cry before they exhaust themselves.  An example of this would be babies.  Take a tip from the littlest creatures and cry yourself to sleep.  Soon enough you will be sleeping like…well…a baby.

Write about it…maybe on a blog.
Self explanatory.

PPS. If your night despair lasts longer than a couple of weeks then maybe it is time to look into getting some good therapy.

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About the author

Christine Witmer - Sparing Stringer

Christine was born and raised in the land of the Pilgrims, Plymouth, Massachusetts. She turned in her buckled shoes when she moved to NYC to attend NYU. From that esteemed University she received her BFA in theatre as well as a Master’s Degree in Performance Studies in 2004. Now an actor, writer and broke ass day-jobber, Christine juggles her many personas with the elegance of a red panda…. specifically the one in the Prospect Park Zoo . . . soooooo cute! She can be found most often in her own habitat on the Northside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.