I carry all of my tension in my shoulders, and there has been something that has been nagging and bothering me for the last few days that is really messing with me in terrible ways. I find myself thinking damn, everything hurts, and it takes me a while to realize that the pain is coming in constant waves because my shoulders are jacked up to my ears and I’m walking around (and even sitting around) looking like Lurch. So yes, you could say that I am currently feeling some anxiety over something that I’d just as soon not talk about, but there’s therapy, and being impeccable with my word and shit, and so I guess I better just confess.
I haven’t been writing.
This happens to me, quite a lot actually. You know how you read here and there things that say “you aren’t a REAL writer if you don’t write every day”? I know it’s just a generalization, a stereotype or whatever, but inside I’ve always wondered if it were really true and knew that if it’s true, I’m just a pretender. Because I don’t always write every day, and I haven’t written a word of fiction since the end of November.
Not writing panics me, but I hide the panic behind excuses, back in there with all the other things I hide so well. Not writing makes me feel like I am worthless, and now that I have so much more time on my hands in which I could be writing, I feel guilt piled on top of worthlessness. But the thing that really gets me is that I have three entirely completed novels on my hands that just need editing – serious editing, mind you – it will not be an easy task – because those three novels? I haven’t touched them since they were finished one month, 20 months, and 28 months ago. Of course I remember their birthdays.
Why? Why do I do this? I could just say, well, because I have never done it before. It’s true, I’ve never edited anything of length, I’ve never gone through the process of getting beta readers or a writing group or anything – ANYTHING – at all. Because I think there’s no point, because my writing will never amount to anything anyway.
So then I have self-loathing piled on top of guilt which is piled on top of worthlessness.
And that is depression for me.
The feeling that I have all the time that I have to do a billion things at once, but knowing that I am never going to do anything as good as (insert anyone to compare myself to here), which makes me take on too much and do everything half assed, trying to be perfect, but then it’s all TOO MUCH and I know I’ll just fail so I don’t do anything instead?
That’s anxiety for me. (Which also causes terrible run on sentences.)
From the day I finished my NaNoWriMo novel until today, I haven’t written a word of fiction. I’ve barely been able to read because seeing other people’s words on paper is only a sick reminder of how far I have to go and how much hard work I have in front of me if I want to get there. If I want to see my name on a spine.
Whenever I run my fingers across covers in bookstores I always pause and wiggle my finger into the spot where my book will go.
Where my book WILL go.
I’ve changed since that first week in December when I was losing hope. Hope, I’ll tell you, is a mighty terrible thing to lose. It sends you into dark places inside yourself that I promise you never even knew were there. One of those places, of course, is under the covers of your bed. Certainly depression creeps from around the corners of your mind and whispers to you: you don’t belong here, just get back in bed, you can’t do this. I’ve learned not to listen, because of course there are other dark places in your mind where you can go and not be trapped, and when you visit them you return with gifts from that mischievous, fickle Muse. You come back with things you can use.
So I can choose to get in bed. I can let the depression go on tellings its lies. But I won’t.