Look out, actual kind of blog incoming.
I’ve been thinking, as us sentient beings are wont to do, about life and the semi-permanence of it all.
And I’ve been tossing around the idea of reposting this here for a few days.
Just as a reminder: None of us are alone.
Writing Didn’t Save Me
This week is all about writing through the pain, using our words to pull us through and out of the darkest of times.
Seems like it should be right up my alley, right?
The depressed chick with gothic tendencies that was always cynical and hated the world? She should definitely have something to say about that right?
Honestly, when I was at my lowest points, in my darkest corners, I didn’t write.
I went years without writing.
I didn’t cry, I didn’t feel sad, I didn’t feel inspired, I didn’t feel angry … I didn’t feel anything.
I was so numb that I hurt myself to feel anything.
I was so numb that I pushed everyone away because I was convinced I would just pull everyone down with me.
I lost family, friends, love.
And I did it all on purpose because I was scared. I believed that I deserved to be alone. I believed on the off-chance I managed to feel something, probably right at the moment of my death, then it shouldn’t be anyone’s responsibility to clean up after me.
If I couldn’t feel anything then I didn’t deserve the love and support of these people around me.
I didn’t write.
Not a word.
But I wrote on my way down. I pumped out poetry and stories by pouring every ounce of emotion I could muster into them. As if my preserving them onto pages and pages of lined notebook paper would somehow make them easier for me to recall when I truly needed them.
I was falling apart loudly and dramatically in my stories long before the cracks ever began to seep into my real life.
But once I was there? Once I was standing in the darkness facing the ultimate battle?
There wasn’t a single word I could have written.
Because depression steals things from you like a thief in the night. It turns up, triggered by something you never saw coming or sometimes nothing at all, and it takes until it can take no more.
But it’s silent.
It doesn’t come with screaming, crying fits … not in public anyway. It doesn’t sneak in on a jet plane with a roaring engine. It slides under your door like smoke from a fire brewing inside your walls, one you didn’t know you had to worry about.
It’s empty, like staring into a void that’s just sucked away everything you ever cared about but, for some reason you can’t comprehend, spared you. It’s that vast swirling nothingness that we imagined outer space to be so long ago. What is it they say about space? No one can hear you scream?
So, I didn’t write and I won’t pretend writing pulled me out of it.
I went to therapy and at some point, my therapist had to remind me there were things depression stole from me that I could take back. I could regain some control by reclaiming the passions I had so helplessly watched my depression make off with years before.
That’s when I started to write again.
At first it was hard, my words felt heavy and clumsy. I felt less than adequate, drained and like maybe depression had completely stolen my ability.
It was easy to put my pen down and simply say I just didn’t have it anymore. Writing would forever be a casualty of war.
However, I needed an outlet, I had words that I could use now but I needed somewhere to put them. Even though I thought my writing was horrible I kept returning to it. I kept picking my pen back up and scribbling away. Most of the time I re-read what I wrote and felt like a kindergartener trying to write on a Hemingway level.
The seeds of self-doubt had been sown pretty thick.
I was encouraged to keep practicing, even if what I was producing seemed to be awful, the point was I was doing something.
I was proving to myself that depression didn’t own me.
That’s what writing did for me. It helped to prove that depression, for me, did not win the war no matter how many battles I lost to its deafening silence. It helped me to see the person I thought depression did away with was still there, just tired and in dire need of a break. It helped to remind me that living with passion makes the moments worth it because when depression rears its head around the corner again I will need reminding.
Writing didn’t save me but it will always be a reminder of what I can never lose.
I originally posted this on a collaboration blog I’m part of, The Perfectly Imperfect Bunch, last year.