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January 27, 2012

Field Trip Friday, Twitter Version: January 27, 2012

Kate Hart
A companion to the round up at YA Highway

January 2, 2012

2011 Was a Lowercase Year

Kate Hart
Sometimes reaching for the shift key requires energy you just don't have.

I've written before about having clinical depression and the fact that it both sucks and blows, a feat that would be impressive were it not so busy being, you know, sucky and blow-y and generally un-fucking-pleasant. Go here if you need more insight into the peculiar process of realizing that your current depression containment methods have been breached, because while Cleo and I do not have identical diagnoses, she pretty much hits the proverbial nail on the head when she says,
"It's hard to teach yourself to say, 'You are an awesome person, and your awesomeness is a default, and so if you feel less than awesome, you need to get your awesome tuned up.' Because your sadness and fatigue and anxiety feel mild at first, and they seem like rational responses to things going on in your life, and then you end up missing some deadline or not completing some goal or not living up to your own expectations because you're already sad and tired, and then the negativity does seem justified: 'I'm not depressed; I'm a loser.' ... Depression makes you feel bad and then it makes you feel bad for feeling bad."

If you've wondered where I've been lately, well, that's where. I've been feeling bad, and waiting in vain for it to go away on its own, while watching my writing follow a similar trajectory. I tried to fix things-- tough love and indulgent kindness, strict schedules and following my "muse," butt in chair and butt on trail and butt at library.

But the words didn't come, and when they did, they were the wrong ones.

I read everything I could find about curing writer's block. The posts claiming it doesn't exist made me shriek internally. I wished I had the energy to yell, "Every writer gets blocked, but not every one gets Writer's Block, just like everyone gets depressed, but not everyone gets Depression! The fact that you've experienced the lowercase version does not give you the expertise to deny the existence of the other!"

But I lacked the energy to do anything but click away.

depression sucks allie brosh says so
Obviously, Writer's Block is not a mental illness. But it's hard to admit that you're dealing with the capital version, because it means admitting that something bigger is wrong. Pressing that button means you're dealing with something no amount of BIC, inspirational blog posts, or even Hyperbole and a Half comics can fix.

And in retrospect, my first post was only half done. Writing is not a symptom of Depression, but not writing can be. As big 2011 life changes settled into place and the block still didn't crack, it took me an embarrassingly long time to make the connection.

But other things made me seek out some fine-tuning on my awesome, and now that I'm feeling cautiously better, it's easier to see, though surprisingly hard to talk about. If Depression is like cancer of the soul, then Writer's Block is like seriously hardcore laryngitis. Clearing my throat is still painful. I'm trying to re-find my voice, but it's hoarse and not quite in tune yet, so please excuse me if I don't hit the high notes. I'm not looking for applause. I won't hold it against you if you cringe.

It's just that "Hey, this illness is REAL and it FREAKING SUCKS and by the way IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT" deserves to be said in all caps. And if saying it helps even one person hit the shift key, then hey. Maybe two of us can have a capital 2012.

eta: I almost didn't post this, but I closed my eyes and clicked publish. Then I went to Twitter, and saw this link, and came back to make sure you saw it too. If Cleolinda, Allie Brosh, AND The Bloggess say something, it must be worth listening to.

eta again: And now Betsy Lerner says, "If you're not feeling well, get help." This company. It makes me both happy and sad.

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