Thursday, August 20, 2020

You can't write through your Achilles' heel when it's depression.

 I don’t want to write this blog post. I mean, I do, but I honestly really don’t. But I feel that I need to, even if this only reaches one person that needs to hear it. So, if you’re facing writer’s block, that Achilles' heel that you can’t seem to write through, and you’re empty and have lost all joy, this post is for you.

This is a difficult subject. Not because it’s about writer’s block or not being able to do a creative thing that usually makes me happy, but because this is personal and I don’t do well at asking for help. 

My name is a derivative of Alexander which means defender of men or helper of mankind. And that’s me. I love to help others, to support them, to laugh with them or cry with them. I’m a listener, not a sharer. 

So where does that leave you when you’re at the bottom of the pit and can’t see your way out? When you stare at a blank computer screen for hours, unable to type even one word, and at the end of the day are left with an insufferable sense of failure. When all you want to do is sleep the day away until your family comes home and then you quickly busy yourself in the kitchen. When your writer’s block becomes an emptiness, an absolute lack of energy and feeling, then it’s not writer’s block, its depression.

No, admitting this to myself wasn’t easy. Even though I knew chemically and physically why I was feeling this way, no thank you very much chronic disease, I’d tell myself that it wasn’t really depression and that I’d be fine in a few days. Only I wasn’t, and it kept getting worse. 

I was broken. 

No one wants to be broken because then there’s the fear that we can’t be put back together. So you hide, you go silent and disappear. 

But, I’m blessed to have a supportive spouse who knows me and no matter how much I tried to hide it, he knew something wasn’t right and I ended up seeing a new doctor that partnered with me. Seeking mental health help is so hard, but it's huge and I hope that if you need it that you find a provider that listens.

No, there isn't an instant fix. But if you’re there, alone in the dark, escaping into sleep and pretending that it’s just writer’s block keeping your words from flowing and you’ll get them back later, please know that you’re not alone. 

You are not alone. 

For me that was the most important piece, so I’ll say it again. You are not alone. Even if you can’t reach out for help, you are not alone. 

There’s always hope, even when you can’t see it. After getting some help I started doing yoga in the mornings, and yes I can tell on the days that I skip it…from my mental notes: not a good idea. I planted seeds. Literal seeds so I could watch things grow and bloom. I kept track of the time spent on social media and avoided the negative spaces. And I had to embrace being broken so that my family could be there for me. 

I don't want my chronic disease to steal any more than it already has, so I choose hope and joy. I still have bad days, everyone does. And you still will too. But that’s okay as long as you allow yourself space and allow those around you to reach out with a flower or two.