Image by carf via FlickrWell, as most know I've been away from writing on here for quite a bit now. Actually, I was kind of missing it. It is great to interact with people from all over the world and see what they have to say about the things that come out of my head.
I an not ashamed to say that I suffer from bipolar disease type II. This is not your typical manic depression because I don't have the traditional manic phases. Most of it presents as depression and anxiety. It was a pretty shocking diagnosis for me actually, but it does make a lot of sense. Embracing the diagnosis and following a treatment plan has helped my life in general tremendously. I see this as a disease like diabetes and cancer that requires treatment. There are ups and downs, but for the most part I am stable and functional.
So, what does this have to do with writing?
Well, sometimes it gets in the way of my actually writing. When you are depressed, you figure what the use in writing when you will only get rejected anyway. That's a very sad place to be because there is so much more to writing than the acceptance and rejection side of things. That's profound. I need to remember it.
Anxiety is even more difficult to work with because you are constantly worried about will it get accepted or is it good enough or what will the neighbors think if they read this or does this plot work, is this character well written, is any of this going right! It's a challenge, as you can see.
The thing is, I think that many writers are faced with these same issues. I will say right now that writer's block does exist and its real name is anxiety. It is when you are blocked that you just stare at the keys and worry. Hemmingway is a perfect example of anxiety and writer's block. He worried that he had run out of stories, lost his talent/ muse/ whatever. I think most writers get this way -- if not all of the time, then some of the time.
Some of us are cursed with the anxiety most of the time and I am one of those. My troubles are compounded by the additional diagnosis that I have, so writing is so hard for me. It's hard starting, but once I am there, I am free. If I can get to the point where I don't have to think anymore, then I can ride that wave of creativity that characterizes my non depressed and anxious mood. Writing, for me, is a win, an act of overcoming a mountain of thoughts and feelings. It is breakthrough and release for me, but when I am feeling my worst, it is nearly impossible to achieve.
So, that is where I have been. I have been toiling in the trenches of anxiety and writer's block. It is getting better which is why I am here now and actually writing. It does feel freeing, getting the words onto the screen. Even if it is nothing of importance to anyone but me, it is helping me.
And maybe it will help others to let you know that you are not alone. For some reason, those of us who like to create and express ourselves do because our minds have so much excess to express. It is therapy and entertainment, agony and ecstasy, sound and fury -- sometimes meaning something but sometimes meaning nothing.
Outrun your anxiety today. I've outrun it for this whole post and am proud. Anyone else out there know what I'm talking about?