I really wanted my first official post to be quirky and upbeat, but that’s not the world I’ve been living in lately. I’m guilty of vague-Tweeting and skirting around the subject on my own blog. I’ve publically broadcast that I’m having a rough time. With recent posts by Libba Bray and Megan Whitmer circulating around regarding depression, I thought it was time I contributed as well.
For the last three months, things have really sucked. Sucked isn’t the best work for it, but I have yet to find one that speaks accurately. I spent most of my days driving my grandparents between hospitals and working on books in waiting rooms. It was a constant back and forth from standard check to readmission. About three weeks ago, my grandfather died. I knew that morning when I got up that it would happen. We got the call that afternoon.
I mourned. The memorial was postponed because my dad had to fly out on business (it was his father). For three weeks, I was stuck in a sort of suspended animation. I began to readjust, only to have it all torn down again at the memorial service. I tried to distract myself by writing and found I was unable to get more than a handful of words down, most of which I then deleted.
Now, I don’t have seasonal depression. I have been to therapy. I try to keep a shine on social media and end my blogs with a quip about refusing to give up, even when I want to. It comes and goes, and on occasion, the writer’s emotional cycle contributes. We all feel that we’re worthless at some point in our writing career. We wonder why we’re not better, comparing our rough drafts to everyone else’s finished piece. We wallow. We think about quitting. Eventually we claw our way back out.
It’s twice as hard to be okay when Real Life is there, kicking you in the teeth. I managed to finish the first draft of my second book, but I have written nothing in weeks. I try to treat myself; I buy me a chai latte and sit myself down at Starbucks for a writing date. Sometimes it works, and for an hour, maybe two, I’m a functioning human again.
I’m at the stage where I can talk about it. I can tell my friends I’m not okay, and we talk and we figure out my next move together. However, I can’t help but feel I’ve let myself down by not enjoying the thing I love most.
I keep telling myself that this is okay.
I need to honor how I feel. I need to accept and experience these emotions. I need to acknowledge that yes, I am depressed, but I will eventually beat it. Again.
I’m not a published writer. I don’t have deadlines, I don’t have contracts or written obligations. There’s no time-table expect the one ticking in my time-bomb brain. I’m rewriting my first manuscript, and it’s like another death, but one I’m committing on my own. I’m depressed and I’m in the pit of writer’s low.
And I will make it out again. I will dance around to Panic! at the Disco (because I accidentally discovered that I like them), I will make a costume and attend a steampunk gala next week, I will make notes when I can’t write, I will talk to my friends, and they will understand if I’m reluctant or all-out refusing to leaving my room.
Depression is different for everyone, but the inability to function is something we share, to varying degrees. This time I could get out of bed, and brush my teeth, and go to work. I’m trying to regain my ability enjoy my writing.
I took a dry erase marker and scribbled one of my favorite quotes across the mirror in my bathroom:
“The only way out is through. The only way through is art.”
Robert Frost meets Amanda F*&^ing Palmer.
If you’re suffering, reach out. To your family, to your friends, to the collective community of the internet. We’re listening.