Your moods are all bullshit

There is only one good thing about sleep deprivation: it's knowing that when even the Archers can make you well up, that when you snap at a colleague you especially like, that when you fail to notice something everyone in the meeting as already fully grokked, and that when your glass of water just slips from your hand and fills up your keyboard, the good thing is knowing that it's not really you. But when you have a baby, and this goes on for months and months, you do wonder where you are.

And when you are afflicted in this way, what do you do about your commitments? You still go to work and meet friends, and talk to your neighbours. What about your interests? They flag like nothing else. But what about your passions, which are a sort of commitment? They're jeopardised. An article earlier in the year helped me understand why: mood repair. It's a simple concept: if something is challenging and looming it can make us feel anxious, and we can repair our mood with Facebook and Reddit. Understanding is power, apparently. Today I read about a less erudite but more useful idea: the doom loop. We use our mood as a reason for not starting a task. Knowing that blaming your mood for inactivity is the petard itself is a more fundamental idea that the second-level issue of how we try and repair our mood. Mood is made by what we do, so the bad mood is itself made by procrastination. Starting fixes our mood.

My problem is that sleep deprivation is more than a mood, it's a state of being. Sleep deprivation's clear physical manifestations make it a more tangible force than mere mood. It is someone banging on your front-door with a hammer compared to being slightly worried about walking down that dark alley.

But it turns out that our brains are almost always ready to be revived, ready to work for us. That's a pretty empowering thing to know.