I’ve been telling everyone that I have writer’s block, and I do. It’s true. But it is not, as they say, the whole truth. I promised this month that my theme would be honesty (apparently), which would explain why this post is so late. I tend to live by a variation of “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, with “If you’ve got nothing true to say, don’t say…” etc. etc. You get it. But alas, the truth will out. I’m sorry in advance for the clichés that will be inevitably continued throughout this post.
Like I said, I have writer’s block. A big fat, hefty dose of it in fact. And it is not that I have no new ideas, but merely that I have so many, and a crippling fear that putting pen to paper will cause me to realise that I have no talent for anything writing related and I should give up now. It’s not rational, but it is (quite obviously) psychological. Which isn’t great. It took me a long time to psych myself up to even write this, which isn’t exactly The Fountainhead (my favourite book and some might say a life-defining novel). Nevertheless, I managed it, knowing full well that the root cause of my writer’s block isn’t just a newly heightened sense of anxiety, but my old foe depression.
It has been hitting me pretty hard lately. And like that cantankerous and overly-opinionated distant relative you never see and hope you won’t bump into, it is rarely around, but when it is, it overstays its welcome and stirs shit up. Unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten to this magic place where I realise that it’s coming before it happens, and have pre-planned coping strategies in place. Instead it creeps up on me, which is ironic because it’s about as subtle as a brick.
The point at which I noticed this time around though, was when I left a job I have been unhappy in for a long while, and had a few days before starting a new job that hopefully would point me at least in the direction of happiness. I thought I was going to have a relaxing break, to process the big ending and get ready for a new beginning. In fact, that didn’t really happen. I just wanted to stay in bed all day, hide from the world, not deal with anything pressing. I felt the grey clouds hanging over my head and thought “Huh, I hope I’m not getting sick”. Little did I (want to) know; my sickness had already returned.
If you’re not a sufferer of depression, I envy you. I mean, it’s not just feeling sad for no reason, or crying as you pour milk into your cereal. It’s so much more than that. You can be out having a fucking fantastic time with your best friend in the world, and a shadow, a knotting in your stomach, the way the wind blows slightly east, can suddenly make you feel like it’s the end of the world. You have a lump in your throat and you want to be cheery and positive because you have company, but your brain is reminding you of all the things that you did wrong that week, that month, that year, and how much more you are yet to fail at.
I mean, the world is already a pretty dark place right? And usually, on a good day, you can shut it out if you want. You don’t watch the news, you avoid social media and you get on with things. But with depression, all the terribleness of the world is coming with you on that errand to the shop, to the house, to the bloody toilet. The world is on your shoulders and you are Atlas; no shrugging for you (that was a nod to another Ayn Rand book (author of The Fountainhead) Atlas Shrugged. Yes, you’re welcome).
Being in the middle of a depressive episode, is like being in the eye of the storm; you can’t physically move or take back control of your person until it passes. For me I was passing the time binge watching superhero TV shows, so it wasn’t all bad. But, that was also an indication for me that something was wrong; I was hiding and keeping my mind constantly distracted so that I didn’t have to think about all the things that were hurting me. To be honest, there are worse coping mechanisms so mine is really not that bad.
Anyway, ‘lil ole depression is still around, freezing my fingers at the point of exercising my creativity. She’ll be gone again, eventually, like she always does when she’s had her fun with me.
And I personally cannot wait to see the back of her. Unpredictable and unforgiving wench that she is. Blerg.
Image credit: Caught by Luis Prado from the Noun Project