Someone I know is overwhelmed to the point that they can't take care of basic tasks in their life, though it's a simple life. They've developed a mental aversion to dealing with anything, and the twenty-second task has become something they struggle to do and typically cannot do. They are now completely undependable, and it's like dealing with a child from whom you can expect nothing and you aren't even sure what age such a child would have to be. Not seven. You can expect certain things from a seven-year-old.
One wants to look from above, in order to see with maximum clarity. What is, what must be done. That's the effective vantage point. The hawk in the tree. What is more commonly the case, though, is one is at ground level in a jam-packed city, a warren of streets. There's no seeing, no perspective, no ascertaining what is and what must be done. Good habits break down or fail to come to be. Perspective is lost. When there is no perspective, thought breaks down as well.
One will think one knows out of a need to think that, rather than a reality that they do, and will insist otherwise out of defensiveness and fear. They are not strong enough to allow that they don't know, and it is only then that one may start to know, but that can be a form of starting over. Not only will one fail to know things, one will fail to have any idea of what they don't know or what it means to know. Anger will increase. Our anger typically manifests now as defensiveness, a policy of lashing out in order to forestall putting one's hands at one sides and looking into the mirror; it's a lot harder to see what it is to be seen when you're a blur of motion, which makes for less to accept. Anger often is birthed by fear and frustration. And also the truth as one feels the truth, with truth's ability to stick around, to hover, to signal. Truth makes itself known out of the corner of our eyes, so to speak. Even when we're not thinking it, we're aware of the presence of this other thing. That's how we can be haunted by the truth if we don't face it. And that will end you, because you will never be anything--not really--unless you face and deal in truth. You will just be a form of there. There isn't is.
How does one honestly self-reflect within what has become the danger zone, but a danger zone where fatigue has replaced adrenaline, and, worse, energy? Don't listen to people when they tell you time is the most important commodity. It's well down the list. Truth is first. Energy is above time. Energy makes you go, not time. (There's a reason why the best art has the most energy.) If you want to do something, you always have the time to do it, but whether or not you have the energy is different. Time never really stops anyone from anything.
This person said something to me, looking for help. They won't take the help. I know that. They won't do anything. For that has become their nature. It was always there, but a takeover is complete. And it was a long time ago, but the nature of time is that a larger number of worsening effects often occur over time, unless they are taken care of ahead of time or in time. But now, when this person should be in the prime of life, they are rattling under the strain. They are not seeing. Their efficiency is diminishing. There's never any A to B. The task that is, as I said, the work of twenty seconds, becomes something they cannot do over weeks, months. They are completely unreliable, which makes healthy relationships impossible, and the relationships they do have are ones of a certain necessary power-dynamic, dictated by things like age and dependency, or else relationships of co-dependency; there may also be considerable overlap, and, further, a greater likelihood that such a person is influencing and shaping the people for whom they are responsible--their kids, for instance--to become this way themselves in the course of life.
What such a person does get done they get done because they bump into something--really by chance--that they have to do. Their existence is one of happenstance. If they don't bump into that thing, that thing will never enter their ken, no matter how important it is. They won't advance towards it on their own. They won't think, "I must do this." Memory will falter, because everything is about the adventitious, not the sought. It's like they've sabotaged their own free will. There's no targeting, everything is reactive rather than proactive. As you weaken in mind and spirit, you weaken in body. You are less suited to react and succeed. Instead of dodging the ball coming at you, or catching it and throwing it where it needs to go, it hits you in the nose.
I talked to this person and spoke of these things in different ways than I have here. I asked questions that were meant to have that person ask their own questions of themselves so that they might get to answers without me simply saying statements, because the awareness has to come from within, by which I mean, it should originate there, or be awakened there. But I knew it was for naught. This is how they will always be, barring a drastic turnaround, with all that requires. Energy, focus, commitment, courage, consistency.
Later I sent a text of small, controllable things that I think can help, add up, and are just useful practices. I said: "Exercise. Read. Breathe. Drink black coffee. Listen to Nick Drake. Control what you can control. Try to be more proactive than reactive. Center yourself. Drink lots of water."
I think those are useful things to do no matter what. They are very controllable. Of course there are so many others, and it's the ilk that I'm talking about--those kinds of things. They're not solutions, but they're parts of solutions and part of being a solution-finding person up there on the branch. They make the ascent and then staying there--or, better still, regularly finding better perspectives--all the likelier.