There are those moments when everything feels vaguely detached, the body feels restless, the mind wanders. What might have entertained a moment before isn’t a sufficient distraction and there might even be a creeping feeling. Something isn’t wrong, but nothing is quite right. Dissatisfaction and malaise are often found here as well.
Welcome to the Weird Place.
Have you said “I’m in a Weird Place right now”, “My mind’s in a Weird Place” or some other permutation which might not even use the word weird? Then feel free to take a slightly uncomfortable seat. I’m a frequent visitor, if not resident, of the Weird Place so I’m uncomfortably intimate with the strange mesh of feelings that accompanies time spent here.
Symptoms of the Weird Place include a feeling of borderline paranoia; a feeling that there’s something you should be doing if you could only remember what it was. Or worse, you know you should be doing something, but it’s not a matter of remembering so much as knowing you had no idea in the first place. There’s also an almost distressing amount of boredom, you maybe shouldn’t even be bored, but nothing holds your interest. Frustration often rides at the back of your mind and colors everything with vexation, but not so much that you’re actually angry. If whiny and petulant can be emotions, they are overabundant. Typical coping methods that would normally soothe are at best ineffective and at worst compound existing feelings. Over all of this is a feeling of shame because you should have things together more but instead you’re acting like a tired and hungry 3 y.o. but with less grace.
Physical symptoms may include a confusing mix of exhaustion sweeping over the body so that the only thing you feel capable of doing is laying on the floor/your bed/the couch and maybe flailing ineffectually while whining softly AND a desire to run around like your clothing is aflame possibly yelling , but also with flailing (the strong urge to flail like Magikarp on land tends to be omnipresent… I’ve been playing a lot of Pokémon Go, sue me). The Weird Place is the Bermuda Triangle of feelings, you aren’t aware you’re entering until you’re stuck there. There isn’t a guaranteed way out, but there are some things that can be done to help.
- Complete something.
I know, I just said that focusing is ridiculously hard when in the Weird Place, but actually completing an intended task makes the feeling of needing to flail helplessly fade a bit. Don’t feel like you have to tackle something big or something that would normally take a lot of focus, it can be simple like putting away something that was left out or sorting a basket of laundry or clearing an email inbox. What’s important is that feeling of movement. You probably won’t immediately make you’re way out of the Weird Place, but it may kick start your way out.
2. (Time and location permitting) Do nothing.
When I say do nothing I really mean it. Take deep breaths, close your eyes, relax each muscle as you mentally work through them, nap if you feel like it. Try to let go of all of the urgency and anxiety keeping you in the Weird Place so you kind of drift out of it. And most importantly don’t feel guilty for doing nothing. Guilt is an anchor to the Weird Place.
For me the Weird Place is just part of that emotional sea I have to navigate from time to time. Sometimes it’s bigger and deeper than others and it takes days or weeks (or even longer) instead of hours to find a way out of, but if that happens don’t panic because you will find your way out again.
Also there are lots of others wading through the Weird Place so at least we’re in good company.