Managing Depression

Today is 89 days straight in which I have written at least one page of writing every day. The chain remains unbroken.

In the last week, however, I have noticed negative thoughts creeping in. The act of daily writing has largely staved off these thoughts for the past 3 months. The fact that I am doing what I want to do creatively gives my mood an enormous lift.

So why have the old thoughts been creeping in? Thoughts like, “What’s the point of writing? You’ll never be any good. You’ll never make any money from it. You’ll die alone and unknown and no one other than family and friends will ever know you lived. Just give up.” Deep inside, I considered it. I felt my resolve wavering along with the tree outside my window.

I used to want to find the answer. What was the trigger? Why am I feeling this way? Now, I say to myself, Who knows? I try to find ways to keep going. Maybe it was the anticipation of my hitting a milestone (90 days of writing). You can find out the exact reason all you want and, sometimes, it just doesn’t help.  You can’t go back and change the cause. All you’re left with is dealing with your mood and feelings in the present.

All my posts here get redirected to Twitter get redirected to my Facebook page. On that page, a friend suggested I read the memoir, “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression” by Andrew Solomon. His first chapter, entitled Depression, talks about what it is and, more importantly, how it felt to him.

As I read his descriptions, I felt myself becoming increasingly morose and unhappy. The painful feelings and sense of oppression made me feel as if I had a two-ton weight pressing down onto my shoulders that would not quit until it ground me into the ground. I felt more pain, too, and it made me wonder if all this fibromyalgia pain is depression pain instead.

After running an errand to find seed beads and coffee, I settled into my writing place at Argo Tea on 26th St. and 7th Ave. I opened my memoir file and began writing, but felt like it would be too hard. So I decided to start reading about memoir writing instead.

I found a great article “How to Write a Memoir” by Scott Berkun and ordered it from the library. Reading his article about how hard it is to write a memoir, that it takes a lot of times that only you can invest, and that you have to write for your own reasons – not to make money. I think that was the lift that I needed.

Then I wrote this post a day early. I have been trying to spread out my writing – Blog writing on Mondays and Thursdays; memoir writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. But today I knew I needed to write this today. Tomorrow couldn’t wait. This post is beyond blog writing.

Just for today, this post is about getting to writing again.

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8 Comments

  1. This is an awesome post & I’m definitely going to read that article you mentioned. I started reading Andrew Solomon’s renowned book (weight!) but I couldn’t stick with it as it got me too down. I didn’t want to read about such hell as I was living it, if that makes any sense.

    I have a book deal for my memoir, which sounds great, but I’m terrified I’m going to blow up my dream and not deliver the goods expected to the publisher. My manuscript isn’t due until April, 2016, but time goes by way too fast these days.

    Re: daily writing – last year I wrote daily blog posts for months on end, and I still don’t know how I did it. Especially as I have two young children who drain my energy like a vampire feasts on his prey. I wasn’t manic! 🙂 I suspect the writing burst may have been due to something bizarre connected with the Seroquel I took, but I can’t prove it. My psychiatrist doubts it, but he doesn’t know everything and he’s the first to admit that! (Which is a big plus as far as I’m concerned.)

    I have’t done anything close to that kind of writing output lately and it bums me out a great deal. I think daily writing stimulates the brain in a very special way.

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I started reading Adair Lara’s book about writing memoir (“Naked, Drunk and Writing”)…and downloaded a sample of Kerry Cohen’s “The Truth of Memoir – How to Write About Yourself and Others with Honesty, Emotion and Integrity” – I’ll let you know what I think!

    That book by Denise L’Estrange-Colbert stays with me – I still can’t believe how her grandmother acted, but I won’t write any spoilers.

    take care and thanks again for this wonderful, truthful post.
    sorry for any typos/syntax errors etc. I’m out of it, as usual.
    Dyane

  2. Wow, Dyane. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. I deeply appreciate it! I’m thrilled that you found value from it. That’s all I’m looking for in my blog – to write down some truths about my life and share them with others in the hopes of connecting with like-minded people. You made my day.

    I’m going to add the two books you mentioned to my reading list. Those sound good. D

    Please don’t worry about “typos”.

    I’m sure if I ever get to the point where I am having a memoir published that I will have the same exact freakouts that you are having. It’s scary to head into new territory. Yeah, April 2016 is 10 months away. The time can go very, very fast. I think if you can find 5 minutes in a day, you can add a couple of sentences. That will at least keep you feeling like you haven’t lost momentum, which I am trying hard not to do right now. I made it to 90 days of writing at least 1 page of something, which is still 1 page more than anything else I was doing before I started in March.

    You have to get published because I need to read your memoir and get ideas on my own. 😀

  3. Here’s a totally belated thank you for your lovely, lovely comment!!! Thanks for being so kind and for inspiring me. I look forward to reading your blog and sharing it with everyone I know. I also realized I followed your other Twitter acct., so I switched to your more active one – you may have noticed that already! 😉 take care and I wish you a productive writing week! :))) Dyane

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