For those who have been reading for long enough, you’ve seen my moods swing all over the map. I wrote out an entire year and a half of recovering from depression. Was I recovering? I think so. Is it recovering when it’s depression, or just reclaiming the self you were before, which doesn’t exist any more, because you went through whatever it was you went through? So surviving might be a better word. It’s like a tsunami: major damage in the beginning and then you rebuild and it takes time and everything looks a little different afterwards. It will never be the island town it was before. Mine was a tsunami anyway…a major unexpected change in my life that I apparently couldn’t process for a very long time. For some it’s maybe more like climate change, slow and deliberate and mostly out of your control, but inherently world-damaging.
And I know now that I didn’t cause the tsunami…and I’m the one who did the rebuilding. So I guess that’s useful information. And I know that my own health issues, whether hormones or thyroid or iron deficiency, didn’t help the post-tsunami destruction, and I still am dealing with some of those health issues, because you can’t run away from perimenopause and it fucks with a variety of body systems.
But I had many people tell me I was brave or thank me for writing about what I was going through, commiserating with me, telling me how they felt the same way.
But they couldn’t write about it.
I wrote myself out of that hole. I can’t live in my head with this stuff. It drags you so far down that it’s like there’s no way out at all or ever, and if I didn’t write, I don’t know that I would ever have gotten out of bed. Art helped too. So did having two kids who were standing around trying to figure out where their previous mom had gone and whether she would ever come back. I think some version of her did.
And I don’t want to go back there. But you can’t control all the physical things that affect depression and you certainly can’t control a ton of external things, so once you have been depressed like that (and here’s where I admit that although that was the worst I had ever experienced it, it certainly wasn’t the first time I had to seek help for that), then you are at a higher risk for experiencing it again. “Experiencing” it. Like it’s a roller coaster ride (it’s not). Surviving it. Having it wallop you in the face. Throw you down that hole again. Send the wolves after you. Rain on your parade…endlessly.
You can choose not to say anything to anyone. I think at some point it’s obvious to those who know you. Or maybe everyone.
Why write now? I’m teetering on the edge. I can’t even tell you all the things that have pushed me to that edge, although the biological shit is just fucking annoying. If I could control that stupid shit, I’d be a lot better off. But I can’t at the moment.
Know that I continue to make art…although last night, that consisted of sewing bindings, because honestly, after having been gone from the house for over 13 hours, I was mostly braindead. So my goal of an hour ironing pieces? Yeah. Didn’t happen. Because I didn’t have the brain power or the desire and I was in my head, racing around like a wounded dog, snapping at everything my brain tried to push at me to mollify me. This is when having deadlines and being a responsible artist (ha! Not an oxymoron) comes in useful. I have to finish this shit. I told people I would. I do what I say. So I have to do it. And I will.
And I’ll keep writing about it because it helps me. And maybe it helps you to know that a lot of art comes out of this need to heal oneself, to remove whatever is inside from festering and spill it out onto paper or onto the screen. Put it where it can’t hurt me any more.
I don’t know. Maybe I just write. And I would do it no matter what.