Depression, Writing, and What Comes Next

“Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.”

from “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by Bruce Coburn

When I go months between posts, you can safely bet that it’s because I’m going through what my therapist calls a “depressive episode.”  If you’ve read my post about how depression affects me, you already know how hard it is for me to shower or brush my teeth.  At some point, I’ll get these things done, but the one thing that I absolutely cannot do when I’m depressed is write.  I can function at work and do the technical writing there, but creative writing is a bust.  I just can’t do it.  You know the line from the Snickers commercials that says, “you’re not you when you’re hungry”?  I’m not me when I can’t write.  So during this time there was no working on the book, no posting on the blog.  Nothing.

This episode lasted fairly long, most of the summer.  I had finally started coming up out of it when I heard the news that Robin Williams had killed himself.  I immediately thought what I’m sure a lot of us struggling with depression thought:  “If the funniest man on earth can’t make it, how in the world can I?”  My answer to that was to sink back down into the abyss.   This time, unlike over the summer, I caught it early.  I knew what was happening, I knew why it was happening, and I kicked and screamed until I broke the surface again a couple of weeks or so ago.  Or, to put it less dramatically, I made myself get out of bed every morning, go to work, do fun things with Ginger, reminded myself that I knew how and had the tools to help myself come back up for air.  Now, here I am until the next episode hits, and then I’ll fight the good fight all over again.  And I will win one more time.

Let’s catch up.  I’ve already told you all about the book.  I may change the title because it’s a big mouthful and also I don’t think it quite lets the reader know exactly what the book is about.  That’s where the book stands.  While working on the book, I thought it turned into a play.  When I was at work today writing all about the joys and heartaches of using Piping Support System software, the play felt like it turned into a chapbook of poems.  That’s when it hit me.  My writing isn’t morphing.  I’ve really got three separate pieces going on here.

The book, for those of you who haven’t read that blog post yet, is about my mom and her Alzheimer’s disease and me and my depression.  The play, for now titled The Session, is about a rape survivor who confronts the psychologist/therapist whose testimony convinced the jury that the rapist didn’t commit the crime.  I don’t want to say more about it because there are twists and turns and I don’t want to give anything away.  The book of poems is tentatively titled Dreams of Life on Another Shore.  I have no clue what the commonality between the poems and, thus, the subject of the book is, but I’ve already started on the first poem.  Right now, I’m thinking that the book of poems will come first and get priority.

So that’s where things stand now.  I’m bathing, brushing my teeth, and writing.  Life is good, at least until the next time the black dog of depression comes to bite me in the butt.  But for now, it’s all sunshine and lollipops.  These are the days I treasure most.