Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Mental health and writing.


As some of my Facebook and Instagram friends know, I tried to commit suicide a while ago.
I'll spare you the gritty details, but when I woke up to see my partner on one side of the bed, holding my hand and looking lost and defeated, and my mother--haggard and small, the weight of my suicidal intentions resting solely on her shoulders--it was a moving and disturbing realisation that I had made a big mistake.
Depression is a cloud of smoke that follows you, choking and blinding you. All you can see is the hazy darkness that stings at your eyes, with tiny specks of the world outside--but it's out of your reach. Every goal you work for--finishing a chapter of your WIP, cleaning your room, even just personal hygiene--becomes some herculean task, such a burden that you don't even have the motivation to even start.
I've found that a lot of people with OCD tend to have that problem; they don't start things because of the emotional abuse their brain will wreck on them if whatever they do is less than perfect.

This whole thing has made writing very difficult. I used to be able to knock out 3k in a night, and still find the time and effort to work on a fan fic or something. Now I'm at the stage where I don't even start because of the anxiety that what I create will be less than perfect. That's what OCD is.

With time and medication and the perseverance of friends--both off- and online--I've been slowly picking myself up and tweaking a chapter here, writing a sentence there.
It is the hardest thing I've ever done. There was a time when I couldn't stop the ideas from flowing, but now I have to grasp at the merest concept and stretch it thin.
My current goals for an undefined amount of time are:

  • edit and query Fool's Gold. I've got the first 4 chaps done for the most part. Only 16ish left...
  • finish my lesbian mermaid novel
  • write short stories and enter them in competitions and lit mags and such
  • try to find a way to get the well of ideas flowing again
Recently my friend told me that he'd noticed that I'd stopped picking at my skin so much (a condition called dermatillomania), and today I threw all the random papers that had accumulated on my desk into the trash. So, I'm getting there, even though I don't know where there is.

I'm hoping to post more here and on my review blog to help develop a habit for doing something, and to find the motivation to do more. I want to be a writer, but how can I be one when I can't find the motivation or strength in me to write? Hopefully this will be a bandaid on the large gaping wound that is my sanity.

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