Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Inspirational quotes don't work on me

I've been trying to start this post for weeks! Or maybe days. Inspired, motivated, lazy, forgetful, apathetic - there's lots of doing or not doing words there. After my long and painful breakdown last year I have put all my effort into not doing - to take life as slowly as possible in fear that if I take on too much of life I'll get knocked in the teeth and fall face first back into the abyss of depression.

But where does that find me now, twelve months from when things started to really go downhill last year? It finds me in a big fat rut, that's where.

We are nearly exactly half way through the year. The Winter Solstice has passed and I'm still just flat lining through life, managing my mood on a day to day basis.

One of my current favourite pastimes, and boy does it allow time to stand still yet pass with incredible speed, is Pinterest. Pinterest gives me the sense that I'm getting inspired. Inspired for what? Anything really: fitness, healthy eating, cooking, crafting, parenting, blogging, shopping, inspiration. I've been using Pinterest to inspire me to get inspired but it's not working.

The social web is chock block full of inspirational quotes and life lesson slogans in pretty little infographics typed out in fancy fonts onto pictures of whimsical landscapes of fields of flowers, cloud porn or the clich├ęd country road that disappears into the horizon (none of which feature in my samples below). And yes, I know I reshare that shit on Facebook and Pinterest too sometimes, trying to grab hold of a little of that inspiration the well meaning poster has wanted to spread.

Call me cynical, but all those inspirational quotes just don't seem to work on me. Takes these for instance:


Seeing a fit and slender woman running along the beach with the slogan "Just Move" emblazoned across the bottom doesn't inspire me. It makes me feel exhausted and has been worried about UV rays and skin cancer. It makes me think of sand in my shoes and how I haven't worn a pair of shorts since 1988.


"Only you can help you. Get off your ass and do something about it." Yeah, yeah, I know! But somehow this knowledge doesn't translate into action for me. This poster is a call for change. Take action. Take risks. It's trying to tell me to break out of the comfortable rut I live in. I can list for you the reasons why this just isn't possible right now, but I won't bore you with my laundry list of mental and physical concerns right now.


Suck it up! I think this inspo quote is telling me to suffer in silence and exercise and starve myself until I don't have to suck in my unsightly gut any more. The problem with this so called inspirational slogan is that I don't bother sucking my gut in any way. Why would I put myself through that discomfort just so other people who might be looking at me feel more comfortable about looking at me and my body. Why do I need strive to not have a gut that needs sucking in? To be better liked? Or to just be accepted by a society that thinks that thin is worth suffering for? Nope, this inspo quote ain't doing it for me either.


OK, so the quote above is actually a really sensible one and something I could and should aspire to. But... and there's always a but, I have a chronic anxiety disorder, long term depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As much as I want to focus on the positive my mind automatically flicks to the negative "what if" scenarios in life. I've been learning to challenge my negative autopilot way of thinking but it still needs a lot of work. Must get stuck back into to mindfulness meditation... if only I had the motivation!

Now here's an inspirational quote that I can live by! Or at least keep me in my rut that half of me wants to stay safely cocooned in. There's no guilt attached to it because it probably isn't inspirational at all.

Just fucking do it, or whatever.


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Mystery Case said...

I've been in hibernation mode myself and have to agree motivation quotes just don't do it for me. I've been inundated with motivation courses and the like on my fb feed as well and they just make me want to throw up.

I think a lot of people spend far too much time looking for inspiration, almost as an excuse when they should just roll their sleeves up and get on with it.

TeganMC said...

I think the trouble with a lot of 'inspirational' quotes is that they are an all or nothing way of thinking. They are more like the bootcamp drill sergeant screaming in your face that you need to lift those knees rather than the gentle voice telling you that you can do it. I hate the ones about being strong being the only way and all of that bullshit. It is that sort of thinking that leads to people believing that they shouldn't ask for help, that they are weak if they tell someone they they aren't ok. Not very inspiring when these words lead to someone feeling so overwhelmed that they harm themselves.

I also hate those 'my son/daughter is the best in the world' pictures that are shared around. Or the 'share if you hate *insert horrible thing that of course you hate*' ones. They are obnoxious and I wonder, if you have to share how much you love your children several times a day, every second day then maybe it's not all sunshine and lollipops. Which of course is absolutely fine, I just wish more people would realise that they don't have to put up a facade of being parent of the year.

babblingbandit.me said...

I must admit I'm a sharer of boastful pictures of my Mr5. Noo is the best thing in my life and one of the only things I reckon I've achieved and done right in my life. You're right parenting isn't all sunshine and lollipops, and I've written a lot about how hard parenting can be, but I just can't help sharing all those cute little things he does or says or how gorgeous he might look when he is sleeping. I'm sure it is nauseating for some. Hell, he'll probably look back at my Instagram and be horrified!

My psych even tells me I'm too enmeshed with him and need more in my life than parenting. He's right, but at the moment I'm just not motivated or courageous enough to go out and find other people to be with. I'll be sure to post more of his "cross face". Even though, I think that is totally adorable too!

Thanks for commenting Tegan. :)

babblingbandit.me said...

Totally agree. That is me to a tee but I'm so entrenched underneath my pile of excuses I'm finding it really hard to wade to the top to even think about actually doing anything. Except, I guess this post is one step towards more doing rather than looking. Thanks for stopping by. V.

Mystery Case said...

I hear you! I've just taken a step in the right direction (I hope) and started a personal find my style challenge. For this week, at least, I'm sharing my daily outfit posts, which is forcing me to actually make an effort in the morning. I've been working from home for as long as I can remember but just lately I've only been taking on work that doesn't require me to actually leave the house. Hibernation is good in small doses and I think I do need to roll my sleeves up and get out more.

mumabulous said...

Inspirational quotes do it more me - annoy the bejeepers out of me that its. If I ever post something even vaguely inspirational on any form of social media you have my permission to wrap me on the knuckles. :-)

Kylie Purtell, A Study in Cont said...

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do in the coming months/years and I find the "inspo" posters you've used as examples so fucking annoying. I am however a sucker for a good quote on a picture of a nice sunset.

One thing I have been thinking about doing though is maybe creating some anti-inspo posters, ones with a lovely sunset or whimsical picture, but a really sarcastic, irreverant quote, something that is just in total contrast to what you would expect. I got plenty of the pictures, just need to find the quotes!

TeganMC said...

Oh no I don't mean pictures of your actual kid. I mean the ones with some sort of cartoon image with the words 'My son is the best in the world. Share if you agree' or 'share this picture if you love your child'. They just irk me.

chantilly79 said...

Interesting post! I totally agree with you...I just went through and unliked most of the inspirational quotes style pages on fb for this exact reason! They were making me feel bad about myself and guilty more than they ever helped to inspire me, lol...I suppose in the end it is something that has to come from within, when you are ready...I have recently had a short stint in hospital again myself, so I can relate to what you have written here about taking things slowly because you are afraid of falling down again ~ that is exactly what it feels like! Hang in there, hope you are feeling a little brighter soon :)

Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye said...

I hear ya! I watch them running along the beach and I only feel inspired to take a nap!

babblingbandit.me said...

That's me too!

babblingbandit.me said...

I dislike those posts too. Any posts that claim to make real life change by 'liking' or 'sharing' drive me to insanity! Unless of course it is to increase awareness for something real like mental illness, etc. You know what I mean.

babblingbandit.me said...

I'll keep my eyes out for any form of inspirational quote on your feed! ;)

Vanessa Connor said...

Not a fan of the inspirational quotes either. So much crap on the internet, especially FB yet I can't seem to hit the deactivate button. It's a sickness really. Sigh. And I reckon the sign of a real friendship is when you can enjoy each others company without the need to suck your stomach in.

tamzentemple said...

the trouble with quotes are too many that post them often are to busy posting to actually be living by them. But there is a place for everything and some find comfort and inspiration through them and if that's what gets them through, so be it. Love your work. awesome site and a different original spin to others.

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