Friday, September 28, 2012

Spent: Depression and Me

Summer is spent. Mornings are chill. The days feel shorter. I’ve started running in the afternoon instead of the morning to soak up the afternoon sun. It’s late in the day as I write, and the sun is gone. A wall of clouds hovers high above. My kitchen window offers a view of the trees with more yellow leaves than green. In fact the branches of the tree have shed most of their leaves. The tree looks sickly. Fall is in the air.

In a way I, too, feel like I’m spent. It’s been a sort of sluggish period for me. While I’m showing up daily to practice my art writing, painting, music it feels like I’ve been doing the Texas two-step with depression. When I wake up in the morning, getting out of bed seems like a monumental task. My body weighs a ton, and I have to curb my desire to pull the bedcovers over my head and stay there. But I talk myself out of that, and get showered and dressed.

Hoping to sidestep depression and the lethargy it summons, I write my Morning Pages. Without fail. I’ve done my Morning Pages faithfully for over ten years. They keep me grounded, let me lay down all my hopes and fears in black and white. But that doesn’t mean that the day at hand is easy. Some days feel hard. Do you know what I mean? It feels like I’m writing uphill. When I sit down at the piano, my fingers are stiff and uncooperative. There’s a constant and constricting heaviness in my heart that morphs into, what can be debilitating, a sense of loneliness. But I do my best to remain hopeful.

I have to just keep on keeping on.

And so I write. I’ve set a modest daily quota. I’ve set up a grid that helps me to manage my day so that it doesn’t run away from me. When the loneliness overwhelms, when my concentration flees, when the tears rush towards the levees, I do my best to remain calm. I reach out to those friends who have seen me through previous depressive episodes, and there is support all around me.

A phone call a few days ago with my good friend, Heather-Anne, reminded me that I am not alone. From the East Coast, she encourages me to keep writing. I try not to worry about whether the writing is good or bad. I just write. And then life feels like less of a struggle. I’ve walked back from the cliff and now stand on the edge of a bold new vista.

Sticking to my simple grid, I’ve had a good week. I made it out running several times. My time at the piano this week gave way to a new song. I painted. I made two submissions. I’ve completed the rewrite of a difficult chapter. I’ve gone on artist dates. And I’m making my way through what I hope will be the final revisions to another novel that, soon enough, I’ll start shopping around.

The week started off bleak, and I wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out. When I stopped looking ahead to an uncertain future and focused on the day at hand, life came into focus again. What had seemed monumental doesn’t anymore. So I will stick to my mantra, “Easy does it,” and leave the dark days of this week behind me and look forward, with great anticipation, to the brighter days that lie ahead.

1 comment:

  1. I am very proud of your artistic endeavours! You are a very talented artist, and I am so happy that you are pursuing them.