Honestly, this image should be of a closed laptop, because that’s mostly how mine has been for about a week.
But I’ll get back to that in a moment. Let’s begin with something good. Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac is NOW ON SALE! Yes, today is the day. For $1.99, the entire 457 page book can be yours on your eReader. I’d love for more people to pick up a copy, leave a review (remember, small authors need them to survive), and share their thoughts about my life story. Here’s the link for Shattered:
Now, back to the plight at hand.
November is supposed to be a time of creativity. This is NaNoWriMo month! I’m supposed to write at LEAST 50,000 words between the 1st and the 30th! I have two ideas for what I’d like to write – a mystery/thriller and a nonfiction, essay-like follow-up to Shattered (think Sedaris meets Burroughs meets Klosterman, but with playlists, photos, snapshots of journal entries, and anecdotes about how DID isn’t completely a chaotic storm. Well, most of the time).
I’ve written 15,535 words this month. I’m not going to win NaNo. I’m not even going to come close.
The ideas are there. And as a person who absolutely does not believe in writer’s block, I’m kicking myself. Yes, I had surgery, but I’m sitting upright, and surgery isn’t an excuse to be lazy. I refuse to use it as one. And yes, this November has been a bit difficult emotionally – there have been a few circumstances at home that have been less than stellar – but again, isn’t this an excuse? Can’t I use writing to escape?
I could. But I’m sitting here and I’m thinking, “No. It’s not an escape right now. Sleeping is an escape.”
And that’s not writer’s block (which, again, I think is an excuse and doesn’t exist) talking. It’s not my lack of ideas talking.
It’s depression talking.
A few weeks ago, Maryland’s temperatures plummeted. Right before Halloween, we went from a strange summer (70 degrees in late October) to winter (29 degrees overnight). Short-sleeved shirts were put away, and we rushed out to buy thick jackets. People mowed their lawns one last time. The frost came and killed our garden.
The transition from summer to winter – we didn’t experience fall – hit me. My mind allowed it to overtake me, and suddenly, seasonal depression came into my life.
Yes, I have Major Depressive Disorder. If you’ve read Shattered, that’s not a surprise. And in the list of acronyms that people attach to my name, MDD is often the least of my concerns.
But adding SAD to MDD is a joyful mix of conditions, because my brain begins to doubt everything.
Am I a terrible writer? Should I write another book? If I do, will anyone read it? Does anyone even read this blog? If so, why? Why should they? Who am I? I mean, really – who am I?
Anyone who has ever suffered from depression or anxiety, put your hands up and tell me you relate. I can’t see you. I just wonder if you’re out there.
As a writer, I’ve shut myself down for a short bit. As a human being, I don’t have that option. I have to be a parent. I have to run a household. I have to go to meetings at my child’s school. I have to prepare for the holidays. And often, that means plastering a fake smile on my face and just doing The Things I Have To Do, because I don’t know what other choices I have. Because what does one do with the hours? I can’t run away. I can’t hide. I have to be a damn adult.
But I won’t lie – it’s difficult, and I’m struggling right now.
Yet, despite the struggle, I recognize that I have much to be grateful for. In a few hours, I’ll be celebrating the upcoming holiday with my lovely mother-in-law, husband, and son. My son is such a bright, brilliant kid. My husband just received a promotion at work. I am loved by my family and friends. I am a trained musician and I sing at every given moment with all of the passion I have. We have health insurance. I live in a warm home with food on the table, lights and music turned on and up, clothing on my body, and am not in financial distress (well, I mean, let’s not curse things, but I’m not living in my car like I used to when I was eighteen, so, I call that a step up).
Gratitude should always overcome depression.
If only brain chemistry worked like that. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful, and happy in certain situations, but I won’t lie and say I’m fine.
Words fail me when it comes to my ability to express how deeply I’m concerned about life. Words fail me when I look at America and see what is happening here. Words fail me when I look in the mirror and wonder who I really am.
But the words will return. They exist; tens of thousands of them exist in Shattered. I have tangible proof that they exist – and therefore, so do I.
So now, I fight, I try to focus, and I work to control the things that I can.
May you all have a wonderful week and an excellent holiday if you celebrate this Thursday. I’ll see you next Wednesday morning.
Oh, and go grab Shattered for $1.99. I regret a lot of things, but I don’t regret promoting the truth of my story. I can’t regret how hard I’ve worked, and how far I’ve come.