When It’s Time to Rise
Every day my alarm goes off. The morning light fills the room through my sheer white curtains and I heave a sigh as I try to open my eyes.
Most mornings feel like I’m climbing up a mountain. I turn in my bed and stare at the corner wall. It’s bare and white and holds my attention far too tightly and for much too long before I finally lift my heavy, lethargic body off the mattress. I go through the motions as they say. Kettle on, back to bed, kettle whistles, make coffee, back to bed. I sit in my bed for hours plotting what I should be doing rather than doing it. A far cry and yet not at all horribly far from my days pre-Covid.
My mental health has always been at odds with my deep desire to create, to be successful, to be in and of the world instead of far away in the recesses of my mind. I can see myself, in my mind, doing all the things I need to do as I sit and stare numbly. I have written whole chapters in my head, essays that were sheer perfection before the words float away forever to be forgotten. The wall still holding me tight as I stare on into the abyss.
It’s one thing to be fighting Imposter Syndrome. It’s another to be battling a spiraling wave of depression.
The past year of Covid has wreaked havoc on my mental health. I believe this to be true for so many of us. The chasm for those who lived this past year merely inconvenienced by lack of social activities and those of us who isolated alone and began talking to ourselves more than we ever have is startling.
For weeks on end, the only place I saw outside of my apartment was the supermarket and even that simple task began to build an anxiety in me that brought me quite often to tears while trying to get to the mozzarella. I have suffered from severe depression and anxiety since I was a child. It is not a new foe in my world but this past year it has grown in strength, and the depths of which it consumes me at times truly makes just getting out of bed, hell just breathing, a miracle
When you are creative there is a call deep in your soul to make things, whatever they may be, and it is both a blessing and a curse. It is all you want to do but like anything, it is complicated and never black and white. I want to write. But I need to support myself and make money. My writing is not there yet. My rent is due. I yearn to write and be creative. I need to bring home a paycheck. I stare at the white walls.
Creating through Depression
When I lost my job due to Covid I was untethered in a sea of uncertainty. So much floated away as I stared from my window at a world I could no longer exist in. The days bled into each other as I desperately try to stay afloat. I did my best to ensure my ability to keep a roof over my head but life in and of itself felt meaningless.
So many things that once held value seemed unimportant. I was tormented by all that was happening in the world and berated myself as though I was the actual cause. My thoughts were constantly running away from me and as days turned into weeks and then into months I came out of the haze and did the only thing that still sparked joy in me. So I sat and I wrote. Everything around me crumbling, but I had complete control over the world I was creating and the escape for me was everything.
I wrote without thought. I rewrote with purpose. Some days, weeks, I was on a roll and others I was terrified to keep going. The bubble of my depression and Covid felt no longer strange but warm. I didn’t have to finish writing today. There was always tomorrow and the day after that. Nothing was open and there was nowhere to go. Suddenly there was so much time and yet it was fleeting all the same. The ticking of the clock mocking me always.
When we create we reckon with ourselves what is a part of us that needs to be let out. Writing has always been an outlet to which I could make sense of a mind that often gives me little peace. The navigation of finding an actual rhythm to my madness has been a journey. I so crave the routine of writing every day. Of churning out words and chapters by the boatload but I also know it is not how I work. For me to be at my best I must be at ease. I must go slowly.
Navigating Goals through Depression Slowly but Surely
I cannot write just to write. But I am also slowly navigating how to push through because the world will not stop spinning for my depression. I am trying to see through the fog and make strides towards my goals even when my brain is doing everything to stop me. Because the call to write is far greater than the thoughts that try to hold me hostage.
My drive to create worlds and words and characters is greater than the anxiety that holds me prisoner day in and day out.
Creating through depression when there are so many other facets to daily, adult life, is nothing short of climbing an incredibly steep mountain, but it is not impossible.
Today I woke up and sighed and stared at my white walls for far too long.
And I wrote this post.