My life, designed by me.
I hate it when I am not myself. I have recently learned that I don’t have to be feeling my depression to have symptoms. This is good. Feeling the depression is the most vile and sinister feeling of strange possession and loss of sense of self to feel. I am acutely aware of dysfunctional behaviour and even though I recognize patterns that indicate something in Brain-ville might be amiss, I am at times reluctant to make changes and avoid this behavior. Why? Because these are well worn paths in my mind, like a soft dirt track trod through dense scrub. Perhaps it started off as a once off departure from the correct path but now nothing else grows there because it has been indelibly carved into the substrate of the ground as the only way to go.
My mind likes to follow these paths when I am unable to find focus, lack clarity or feel as though I am floundering. These tracks lead to over eating, inability to get motivated, inability to finish tasks, second third and fourth guessing of my choices. I tend to sleep less and spend hours engaging in planning, planning life choices and holidays and all sorts of wonderful adventures that never leave the confines of my mind. My mind tricks itself into thinking that all this planning is accomplishment and forward motion when in reality I am spinning in circles and it is another symptom of dysfunction.
It’s incredibly helpful to recognise these behaviors and know the reasons behind them but it is harder to put a stop to it. These well worn paths are familiar, they smell like all the comforting smells of childhood like freshly mown lawn and summer nights. They taste like sweet biscuits softened with warm milk to a delicious concoction that my mother used to make for me when I was unwell and very young. These paths feel secure.
I have been this state since I lost my job. I am positive overall, I know that I will get another job and in the meantime I have extra time to write. The trouble is that when I feel ike this I get a feeling of desperation and impatience about getting somewhere as a writer. I lose sight of the reasons why I do it and start brainstorming ways to make it faster. Ideas that are more marketable, ideas that are selling well right now. This is counterproductive to my passion of simply writing for the love of it. I recognize when I am trying to achieve too much too fast. When writing feels like a chore instead of a lovely expression of words and thoughts, carefully arranged into something that makes me proud.
Last week, I decided that enough was enough. It is hard to take a tough line with myself, the easy route is always to give in to the dysfunctional behaviour and ride it out. However, now I know what this behavior indicates, I am loathe to let it erode deeper worn paths of dysfunction into my brain. I need to carve out some new paths and stop treading the more dysfunctional ones.
So I pulled myself up and said no more. I am very thankful that I can tell when something is not right and I feel like I can regain control. I am thankful, ever so thankful that I can do that. So I gave myself a talking to and reminded myself how awesome I am :)
I have decided that I am going to stop submitting my writing to places that don’t see the value in it that I do. I am no longer going to whore out my writing in hopes that someone of note will see my talent and ‘the big break’ will come to me. I am no longer going to put myself under the stress of hoping that my writing is good enough for publication on a website or place that I may not really like, simply to get my name out there. I am going to STOP relying on others to tell me I am good enough. My family and friends like my writing. They tell me that its good enough. I know that I have a lot to learn and there are times when some pieces aren’t as good as others. But I am good enough and I know it. If I believe in my work and keep writing for the love of it, not the search for fame and fortune, it will always be good enough.
Note: The image used is not meant to make light of depression in any way. My experience is as unique as everyone else’s. My strategy of ‘reminding myself that I am awesome’ works for me depending on my mental state at the time but may not work for someone else.
Image Credit: leg0fenris.
Used under license.