*This post did not turn out the way I’d intended it to. It was supposed to be a summary of what I’ve been up to, and some useful links I’ve come across, along with some pretty pictures of my cat and my hourglass. I’ll have to save those for a later post though, because this is what came out of me tonight, and I need to get to bed before I revert back to my natural zombie state!
It’s been a while since I posted anything and there are a few reasons (be warned, I was struck with verbosity during this post, so continue at your peril):
- I’m pretty lousy at sticking to a schedule in terms of blogging. When life gets busy, I have a tendency to avoid the internet like the proverbial plague. It’s a way of keeping my sanity intact.
- Work was draining the life out of me. Although my colleagues were great, and I could work from home – I was expected to be on social media, reading mainstream news articles, and writing my own. I hated it. While it may be the lifeblood of people who thrive on political debate, and journalists with predatory instincts for a good story, I just couldn’t convince myself to enjoy it. I tried, I really did. But it was making me miserable, and for someone who has depression, that’s not the greatest space to be in. So I quit. I cannot begin to describe the relief I feel at not having to plug into that every day. It feels like I can breathe again. Having said that, working from home for an online company, with deadlines and targets, forced me to sit down and write, even when I didn’t feel like it. It’s given me a level of discipline and focus I didn’t have before, and taught me some really valuable lessons about what I do (and don’t) want in a writing career.
- Ghostwriting – Oh yes! Quitting my job meant I needed to find another source of income. Ghostwriting fiction gives me that income and allows me to focus on what I’m passionate about – telling stories. The best thing about it is that the pressure is off to deliver a perfect first draft, because it’s not being published under my name. And ironically, because of that, I’ve been able to create and share some of my best stories and characters in the short space of a month, compared to the last 15 years of writing! I will always be a perfectionist when it comes to telling a good story, but ghostwriting has given me the confidence to tackle my own ideas with a bit more leeway for mistakes.
Because life got so crazy for a while, I needed to step back and figure out what my priorities were. Depression was kicking my butt, and I nearly messed up some really important relationships because of it. Motivation and energy were so hard to come by – and part of the problem was that I didn’t want to acknowledge I was actually depressed. I had some weird idea that acknowledgement meant it had won, and that I would never be okay again. I thought that pretending everything was okay, and ignoring reality would, in fact, make everything okay. It didn’t. It made things worse. Much worse.
No one who hasn’t had depression will ever be able to fully understand what it’s like to have no reason to feel absolutely and thoroughly de-motivated. I think the thing that comes closest to describing it for me personally, is this:
I live a thousand lies,
To hide a single truth;
That everything’s pretense,
Every smile a mask –
A deceit to give you peace of mind.
I live a thousand lies,
Each morning when I wake
To greet you for the day;
You do not know that deep within,
In dreams I’d choose to stay.
I live a thousand lies,
Every time I say I’m well;
And no one ever seems to see,
The truth behind the ‘me’.
Yet still, I’ll live the lies,
A thousand every day
And the single truth of what I want,
Well hidden it will stay.
(Keep reading for the rest of the poem)
One of the biggest realisations I’ve had in the last month, is that depression is not an excuse to check out of taking responsibility for my life. At the end of the day, this is my life, and while I may sometimes struggle to function on a very basic level (can I just stay in bed forever?), that’s not a reason to give up. There is never any reason to give up.
I am fortunate in that I’ve got an incredible support system in my friends. They are the ones who’ve encouraged me to talk about how I feel, acknowledge when I have bad days, and celebrate the good ones. I am so incredibly grateful to them for not allowing me to use depression as an excuse to check out; for letting me talk and vent and cry without judgement; and for offering me practical help (like driving me to the clinic so I could get some homeopathic remedies for support).
And they are the reason for this poem continuing:
Until the day will come,
When I’ll remove the mask
Certain you’ll turn away,
Disgusted by my lies.
Then the hope that I’ve been seeking
Will suddenly shine bright,
For you have seen my deepest lie
And still embraced my light.
One by one my thousand lies,
Will slowly fall away,
And in their place I’ll hold the truth:
That I was born to live!
The only time I ever take selfies is when it’s the only way to get a photo of one of my animals being adorable. Meet Paladin, who was formerly Stray Cat, and is now just a smooshy bundle of love: