It’s hard to write when you’re neck-deep in a depressive episode. Anything, really. Even a shitting shopping list, or a note.
Your brain feels like a constant attack of sharp and noises. Everything about your body feels off, and not in a way that makes much sense. Yesterday, I spent a chunk of my late shift at work with the uncomfortable sense that I had too many teeth. Sometimes I seem to phase out, losing seconds of time by just going too deep into my own head. My surroundings seem to melt around me, until I snap back with a start.
Sharp. Jagged, loud, at once both intimidatingly, vastly huge and so tight and small it almost chokes me. Tears come frequent and terrifyingly hard – accompanied almost always by a weird, sinking feeling in the pit of my belly.
It’s been a month since my last proper post but this depressive episode has been running for a good while longer. I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for not *doing anything creative*, like a break from writing or making things suddenly nixed those things from who I am. It doesn’t, though. Laura Jane Williams’s writing, especially her new book Ice Cream For Breakfast, was partially responsible for helping me see that, along with Ruby Tandoh and Leah Pritchard’s amazing zine on mental health, Do What You Want.
Right now, I’m learning to preserve my energy, taking small steps and focussing on my day job, and taking care of my basic needs and wants. Day by day, I just see where I get and keep breathing. Forcing myself to write – for whatever non-essential reason my brain conjures up – makes me want to hate writing. I can’t stand the tortured creator myth because it seems so counter-productive to me to put your art at the front at the cost of something of yourself.
So I’m not.
I’m temporarily abandoning ship on writing fiction for submission. And I’m not going to force myself to live any experience for the sake of content on this blog (which is something I’ll tackle on another day, as this deserves a post of its own). It’s my way of taking care of that something of myself I feel like I’ve abandoned.