Depression Diary: Writing is Hard

Every time I went to put words on paper (real or digital), my brain froze. I knew the gist of what I wanted to say, but finding actual words felt nigh impossible. I didn’t have the energy. For anything, really, but especially writing. And it was frustrating, because I was better. I was in therapy. I was back on my normal dosage of medication, and I was taking it consistently.

But it was Month 5 of the Longest Winter Ever, and I had completely given up on ever seeing blue sky again. I hibernated as best I could with a full-time job.

We had all been warned: winter was coming. It finally showed up.

After living in a gray-and-white world for eight months, color finally began to poke its way through. It was the big reveal in The Wizard of Oz: one day, I walked out my door, and there was color: green grass, orange flowers, blue sky. As the days went on, and more colors began to reemerge, I got happier. More productive. I could even, on occasion, be referred to as “chipper.”

But the words still wouldn’t come. I don’t know in what deep recess of my mind they had gone to wait out the winter, but it was apparently so far removed that they didn’t catch up with the rest of my manic need for accomplishment.

With me, my depression takes the form of emptiness. I’m not sad; I’m nothing. Things occur, and I feel no emotion towards them. My life becomes a TV show. I don’t have any real attachment to anything. I just watch it play out, waiting for a part inconsequential enough that I can leave to go get food.

With the weather becoming nicer, and my mood brightening, this lingering apathy was frustrating, but it was also scary. Writing is the thing that gives me the most fulfillment, the most pleasure. It is the thing by which I define myself.

And it was lost.

I spend a lot of the time feeling adrift. I don’t know what to do with myself, with my thoughts. Like a phantom limb. “I’m bored. I could always write… oh wait.”

It always confuses me when published writers tell aspiring writers the best advice is to “just write.” My response is always the same: write what? There are no words to write. Just… emptiness.

This is my attempt to write about the emptiness. Because maybe, through some miracle, the void has an end, and there is another side, one with stories and characters and words. And I will drop anchor there, and finally be whole again.

About Anna

Lots of things make me happy. Running my mouth is one of them. Another is pie.
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