Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Overcoming Inertia

If any of you are also on Facebook you may have seen that I set myself a challenge last Tuesday - that I would post on this blog within 48 hours. Well, so much for that! But I wrote that to help myself overcome what I call "inertia".

It's something I never experienced before I had CFS, but just at the moment I'm having it a lot. It's not the same as lacking motivation or procrastinating, although from the "outside" it could look much the same. And it's not the same as being too tired.

It occurs on the way up from being really tired, and also on the way down. You have enough energy to have ideas, and even to know exactly how you want to start, but that's as far as it goes. It's an uncomfortable mental space, because you really want to get going with whatever the idea is, but you just can't.

To be honest, there is no sure fire way of overcoming inertia, because it really is about not having the energy to get organised and kick off. I think the best thing to do is to make sure everything you need is ready, and also to try to have lots of free time. This works both to let you rest, so you can build up energy, and also means that when your energy finally does reach the required level, you are free and available and able to capitalize, not having scheduled "low energy time fillers" in your frustration and boredom.

I've been seeing it as rather like those days at the beach, when the swell is small and you must wait patiently for a decent wave to arrive so you can jump up on your board and enjoy the ride.


  1. Well done Amanda, you've beaten me to it. I understand exactly what you mean about inertia. Now I have to get back to blogging but the unpacking is still holding me back. Inertia is affecting that as well.

  2. Amanda, like Carol, your post struck a chord. Poet Kathleen Norris, whose book, The Cloister Walk, I've read and enjoyed, has a new book called 'Acedia and Me.' She describes acedia as a profound form of apathy, and akin to depression. This may be taking inertia too far, but I've wondered whether in some cases, acedia is not a cousin to inertia in its enervating characteristics.

    In any case, it's always helpful to know that we are not alone in suffering from inertia from time to time.


  3. Hi Clara,
    Thank you so much for introducing me both to Kathleen Norris and to the concept of acedia. I had not come across Norris but will borrow The Cloister Walk from my local library. The ancient Greeks always amaze me, with the way they understood so many not only profound, but also still relevant aspects of life. In the mean time, there's a few bits of writing on the net that go beyond definitions, so I'm off to have a read and a think.

  4. ugh! I understand these feelings so well. I have found myself floating about on my surf board waiting for that wave to come a lot lately!