I’ve been away from Blogville for almost a year and a half; but not because I wanted to be. Part of the problem is that my blog was doing fairly well (at least by my standards), and I basically choked. Remember when you were a kid and you’d learned some new stunt (riding a bike, doing a cartwheel, riding a skateboard) and wanted to have an audience to show off for? As soon as there were eyes on you though, the only tricks you could do were “I think it’s broken” and “That’s gonna need stitches.” It was kind of like that, just with less blood and fewer x-rays.
A bigger issue has to do with my bipolar brain, which works very hard at suppressing any drive, determination or motivation that I might otherwise feel. It’s a bit like a game of emotion Whack-A-Mole, with anything happy or productive getting slammed down and anything shitty and destructive running wild.
When I published the last entry, I could feel the depression and anxiety bubbling up, but had no way of knowing how bad it was going to get. That was fall of 2013, and I just started feeling more human a few weeks ago. At the moment, I’m a bit hypomanic, which is awesome! I know, I know … the goal of treating this thing is to be level and balanced, but I could wake up tomorrow and find myself myself once again bobbing around in the sea of despair — so I’m going to take advantage of my current state while I can.
If you have depression, you know what it’s like. And if you don’t have it, you likely know someone who does. Either way, you’re probably tired of having it or hearing about it, so I’ll keep this short. In my experience, depression robs me of joy and sadness. I’m not blue or melancholy, and I’m not totally devoid of all emotions; it’s just that the ones I do have are so dull and muffled I can hardly feel anything.
One of my biggest disappointments over the past 18 months has been my inability to write. When I’m in writing-mode, my brain pops and clicks with ideas and hums and buzzes with the desire to put words on paper … it’s like I’ve got a bowl of Rice Krispies in my head and someone just added milk. When I’m depressed, I’ve still got the a brain full of Rice Krispies, but they’re the kind that have been sitting in a bowl of milk since yesterday.
I love writing, and I know that at some point, the depression will return. So I’ve decided that while I’m peppy and productive, I need to put a plan in place that may enable me able to write while I’m on the flip-side of the bipolar coin. My wonderful and amazing friend, a gift-giver par excellence, who is also my biggest fan, knows my struggle and recently presented me with what may be exactly what I need to re-train my brain – – a copy of the book 642 Things To Write About.
When my brain is full of Rice Mushies, I lose the ability to find anything I can, or want to, write about. I know that to become a better writer, I need to write more. But knowing and doing aren’t always known for showing up at the same party. So, as hard as it is for me to even think about writing when I’m depressed, a few days ago I decided to pick something from the book to write about every day … and I’ve actually been doing it! So now I’m going to take it a step further and start posting what I’ve written.
I haven’t yet decided how long I’ll keep it up; maybe a month, maybe until I start feeling the urge to write something that isn’t from the book. Right now, I’m not really concerned with that part of it – I’ve got at least 642 days to figure it out.