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Real Time Ramble: Writing with Depression

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In the last three months, I’ve been worse than I’ve ever been in my entire life. It would be a laughably bad cliché to tell you anxiety, depression, you know – the whole mix, follows me like a shadow. It would also be untrue, because it would assume I am relieved of them when it is dark. It would also be a bad metaphor to say they’re in my blood, or in our post-Watson & Crick world, in my DNA, because no one related to me is anything like me. They’re capable of keeping appointments, they don’t go into panic just to meet somebody. Nope, I think there might have been a genetic mutation in this case, or an environmental manipulation. Or both. Or neither. I have no means of knowing, and I am confident I’ll never know in this lifetime. Not when there is so much stigma, misinformation and an outrageously blooming industry built around man’s inability to be understood and to connect. No, I’ll give my money to art and let it help me stay afloat.

And that is what writing, and art in general is to me. A lifeboat. I’ll continue with my bad metaphors here and say, life otherwise is nothing but a large, overwhelming sea for me where, even if I knew how to swim, I would eventually drown. I don’t have enough stamina, and I can neither see land at a distance. Wow, I hope that is the last of the metaphors today!

So, here’s what “art” has been for me for the last week – struggling to write, and listening to a lot of Duran Duran. “Look now, look all around, there’s no sign of life…” goes their first single called “Planet Earth”. If it wasn’t such a danceable track, I might have become even more morose. But, they’ve helped me write whatever I did manage to write. I had in mind to update you on my progress with ‘Of Opinions – the book’ in my Real Time Rambles, but I don’t have much to report. Apart from some stray paragraphs and sections, selection of 7-8 topics that might serve as good, representative subjects from the blog and a couple of book title considerations (since I doubt Of Opinions would make anybody want to read it, let alone buy it), I haven’t made much progress. My goal is to get the 80,000 words in by the end of this month, which isn’t that difficult for me to do in terms of work habits, but has been an immense challenge. And taking a break doesn’t help. If by taking a break, I could have taken a month-long vacation by the seaside, with no electronic screens about me and plenty of warm, temperate sun, and pen and paper, it would have been just the thing. But, everything that is viable is just a distraction, even anxiety-inducing, as I am frequently reminded of what I have to get back to.

I’ve reflected a lot on the nature of writing and depression in the last couple of weeks. I had been thinking longer about the relationship between the production of art and safety that a fellow blogger talked about a while back, which introduced me to it. My suspicions about writing and depression that I had discussed months ago here, are just as same now. Depression doesn’t help a dime with making anything. It is the unmaking of me. Even if I write about it, it doesn’t help me write about it. It doesn’t help in anything, at all. It makes me seem like an undependable, irresponsible human being, and nothing is a greater affront to my own expectations of myself. I don’t mind being a failed “artist”. It is failing on my personal principles of being a human being that I can’t stand.

Producing and imbibing art is all I can do to remind me of myself. I cannot let depression define me, though it has done a very good job of running for president in the last 27 years. It’s so boring. It’s like you are stuck with one note on the keyboard, unable to play the rest of the keys. It’s no life, and it certainly isn’t creative fodder.

How do you cope with depression?

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

13 thoughts on “Real Time Ramble: Writing with Depression

  1. I don’t think I cope with mine very well. And I never like to talk about it because who wants to hear about how sad you are all the time. I don’t know… It’s a tough situation. But I find reading about other people’s struggles with it and how they defeat it to be helpful at times.

    1. That is exactly how I feel about it. I don’t really talk often about it, and I don’t like to self-diagnose with convenient psychological terms how I’m feeling either. However, I do find it a relief to read blogs where people talk about their struggles, and it has given me the courage to talk about mine at times. I don’t believe anybody “wants” to hear how sad I am, but I need to let it out myself, for my own good. Doing it through creative means like writing, can help to some extent though it is no miracle cure. If you feel courageous, share it. Otherwise, you at least have it for yourself.
      Thank you for reading and sharing!

  2. One of the few ways I know to distract the mind in times of depression is to pick up something completely new. That’s how I got into poetry and tennis, I took myself outside my comfort zone to find comfort in breaking regularity. I hope you are able to overcome your struggles soon 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Andy! That is very kind and considerate of you. I know something outdoorsy seems just the thing, but I’ve always been awkward with athletic things. I can’t believe writing poetry is outside your comfort zone, because you are a natural poet! I enjoy music and have recently gotten more interested in keyboards and music production. Hence the interest in Duran Duran, as I am sort of schooling myself in synthpop. It is a wonderful distraction and is helping a lot.

      1. Thank you 🙂 I’ve grown to love poetry but I was put off it for years by the way it is taught in school, hence why it was outside my comfort zone. I hope you can find peace in the music you create and listen to 🙂

  3. I’m just beginning to learn how I cope. At the moment it’s more quiet time than people time – which is the opposite of what I used to be. Reading good novels with good characters that I can care about or relate to. Reading the Psalms – so many of them were written by people living in the depths and they were written at 1000s of years ago – which gives me hope that my struggles are not new or untimely unique to me. This post has been helpful to read, too. Thanks.

    1. You’re welcome! Thank you for reading and sharing. Quiet time is definitely essential for anybody, even the most extroverted person. Sometimes, people overcompensate if they are lonely or have something troubling on their mind, by going out and mixing with people, expecting that to solve the problem. But, one can truly be lonely in a crowd. I don’t know if I can cope with “the whole mix” myself, but I’m learning to accept it instead of feeling ashamed or criticising myself for it. I feel that is an important step towards, hopefully, developing more authentic relationships with people. But, for that sort of acceptance to occur, you do need some quiet time.
      Thanks again for reading. I always write to help, and I hope I can help in future as well. I find that to be the best use of my time and my life.

  4. I realize that my question might be off-topic but what do you mean by “an outrageously blooming industry built around man’s inability to be understood and to connect”? Psychiatry? Hoping you’re coping well, -Marie.

    1. Yes, everything related to mental health. I am not being critical of all of it, and certainly not of very valid parts of it based on science and research, i.e. Psychology and Psychiatry. But, there are many quacks and opportunists in this “business.” I’ve encountered one myself, who claimed to be a very successful psychologist based on her social media, but did not obey the basic tenets of therapy, such as confidentiality. I’ve since found many blogs written about similar experiences. Thus, I find it alarming that there are people capitalising on the vulnerabilities of other people.
      Thank you for reading and following, Marie! I hope you visit again!

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