Somehow the month of February passed and it feels like a day. Depression is weird like that.
I don’t mean to imply that I spent the entire month lying on the floor of my closet with a blanket clutched around me. I didn’t. Although, some days felt like it. In reality, most of the days, just passed.
Even that seems more depressing than I intend. I did have some really great days in there. Not every day is depressing when you’re depressed. At least, not for me.
The most memorable weekend of my month, was watching my littlest brother get married in a beautiful ceremony in Austin. (#whitewedding2017 ❤️) It was a weekend full of family. Lots of laughter and lots of love. I played with my nieces and nephews. I hugged my dad, and laughed with my brothers and sisters, and saw family I haven’t seen in years. I spent the weekend with my son. It was a very enjoyable weekend.
But that’s exactly what’s funny about depression.
I can have a moment with one of my brothers, where we realize we have the same background on our watch. A moment of laughter when we agonize that we truly are related (and there’s nothing we can do about it). I can have another moment where I realize what a smart, funny, amazing man my son has grown to be. A moment filled with pride and love and adoration. I can have a moment with another brother when we fall into the rhythms of teasing and joking so easily. A moment full of happiness and laughter.
I can have all these moments, and still feel alone and unseen. Feel broken and unworthy. Feel isolated and lost.
I once read that depression is the absence of emotion and anxiety is the onslaught of emotion. I also read it described as depression being stuck in the past and anxiety being stuck in the future. This push-pull dynamic is what makes the two go hand in hand.
Depression is weird because most days I feel okay. Some days are great, and others not so great, but in general, there is a haze surrounding me. Like, there’s a piece of gauze wrapped around my head. It makes everything a little distorted, everything a little fuzzy. It’s a push-pull battle between the ups and downs, the past and the future, the emptiness and the worry. It takes a lot of focus to stay in the present.
Isn’t it funny, that I worry about writing about myself and my feelings too much? I started this blog to help me focus on my writing. I knew I would write about books, and fandoms, and writing, but I also knew I would inevitably wander down some emotional paths. I’ve been diagnosed with depression since my early teen years, but the feelings have been around as long as I can remember. They are as much a part of me and my laugh, or my eyes, or my dark sense of humor. It’s crazy to worry about writing or thinking or talking about this side of me too much. But, I find I often worry about things that I find crazy.
One of the reasons for writing is to help me focus. Focus is also a way to stay in the present. It also helps me more than I ever thought. Writing about characters I make up helps me look at the world differently. And for me, when I always feel unsure of my thoughts, or second guess myself, focusing on something else is life saving.
My writing can be tied to my state of mind. Different emotions help me write in different ways. The key, I find is just starting.
This is, I find, the most difficult thing to understand. If the hardest part is getting started, it shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Oh, so wrong. Opening my laptop can feel like a trek to the summit of Everest. Even if it’s sitting on the coffee table in front of me. This little Mac and I have many a staring contest (don’t ask who wins).
Why? I don’t know. I’m sure someone has an explanation, or a reason, or a rationale. The best I can describe it? It’s like someone has covered you in thick, wet clothing and stuck you in a giant bowl of mush and then added a weighted blanket to your ensemble and turned off the lights.
Everything is heavy. Everything takes effort. Everything is in my head.
It’s a mental battle of will. Against myself. Which I can’t win or lose. Like I said, it’s weird.
So, this month was busy. I wrote 10,000 words and edited 8 chapters and went to a wedding in Austin and paid all my bills on time. I managed to do half a month’s worth of bookstagram pictures before getting derailed! I read 5 books. I didn’t do any blog posts. The weird part of my brain wants me to feel guilty for not doing any posts. The sane part of my brain pats myself on the back for a productive month.
Writing is helping me see the fog. It’s helping me get through it. When I began my journey, all I could see was fog. I woke up lost and tired. Slowly, I’m finding my way out.
The month of February was filled with moments of not wanting to get out of bed. Of feeling so overwhelmed I wanted to scream. Of pushing down the panic and fear and stress. It was also filled with laughing until I cried. Of happiness and jokes and kisses and cuddles.
I’m putting reminders in my planner and calendar to write here more. I had planned on a January reading wrap up, which I obviously didn’t do. I might do it anyway. And a February. Because I can. Hopefully I’ll even get them done before March ends. I may even do a 30-day blog challenge to get in the habit of writing. My own March madness. It is the perfect time to try something crazy, after all.
The point is, I hope to stop being such a stranger. I hide when I am uncomfortable. Which means, I’ve been hiding in some way most of my life. Hiding is avoidance. Hiding is procrastination. Hiding is not writing.
So, here’s to writing. And not hiding. And to stop being a stranger. Even to myself.