Depression and Writing

Depression is hitting me hard. I think it’s my symptom/condition that I have the hardest time accepting. It’s not glamorous, it’s never fun and never makes you feel special. It always makes me feel like I’m worthless and useless. As an author, this preys on my natural beliefs.

You see, I tend to see myself as a vessel for my stories. But combined with my depression, I feel like nothing BUT a vessel. I feel like I’m nothing without them.

The sad truth is that writing is my whole life. It’s me. It’s been my refuge since childhood, where it suddenly filled a void within me that hurt so badly until then. Ever since I started writing, my days rotate around it. As a kid, I would squeeze it in whenever, would draw my characters everywhere, and obsessed over them.

Now, I wake up thinking of my novels. I spend my mornings wondering what I’ll do until I get the chance to write. My whole day is just spent waiting until the right time to write. I know I dont have the mental energy to write all day, but I wish I could. Already I love writing 5 hours a day, and feel bad if I “waste” even one of those hours not hammering out words.

I know this isn’t healthy, but it is what it is. My writing is my life. The only other thing more important is my wife and my relatives. Literally, unless it’s a basic need, everything else feels secondary. I dont want to travel, I dont want a career, I just want to be good at writing and do my stories justice. I want to accomplish what this drive in me is calling for.

But when depression hits, as it does now, I cant write. Every word hurts, I cant think, and then everything that makes me ‘me’ seems to crumble away. What use am I if I cant write? Not being able to write for even one day is a terrible blow. What if my stories are terribly written? What good am I if i can’t get my stories out there properly, to those who need to read them? I know it sounds dramatic, but not being able to write feels like a poisonous sin that will destroy me.

I know, in some way, that my belief of me being just a vessel for writing is bad for me. I need to see myself as more. But how do I do that? It’s like seeing yourself beyond an addiction, in some way.

And then, what’s wrong with this view, if it gives me purpose and value, even in some small way? I know I should see myself as more, but what if I dont feel like more? I feel like so much in my life just points towards writing, and like it’s the cornerstone of my life. Where would I be without it?

I know, in some factual way, that I am a person without my writing. I’ve experienced that, by having my spiritual projects. But… I just feel like more with my writing. I feel this compulsion and a sense of destiny and being attuned with the universe when it comes to writing. Is that a symptom of a delusion? I dont know what to think some days.

I guess I cant hope to find other people who feel this way. I’ve hoped, and as of yet haven’t found other writers who seem to have this weird perspective and obsession and maybe even delusion with their writing. And yet I hope. I feel lonely, a lot, so isolated with my writing. It’s not the only way I connect with people, but unless someone dips into this part of me, do they know me at all? Will I ever find that I am not alone in this weird feeling?

Step 4 – Pick a Treatment Method

Now is when you refer back to your self-research you did on how you believe in treating mental illness. Now is the time to figure out how you want to treat yourself.

Start by clearing your mind of things such as fears and anxieties. Don’t let fear make your decisions for you, but rather what you truly believe in. You can do a small meditation, cleanse the air with incense, ring a bell a few times, and ground yourself.

Then, once you feel ready emotionally and your mind is clear, set yourself to this particular task.

Don’t get bogged down in the details of treating your symptoms, such as ‘how do I manage to take the bus?’. Think of the bigger picture here, and of your values.¬† Answer these questions.

  • Do I want to take medication?
  • Do I want to be followed by a doctor?
  • Do I want to check into a mental health ward?
  • Do I want to do therapy, see a psychologist, attend support groups, etc?
  • Do I want to try by altering my nutrition intake/diet?
  • Do I want to try ‘alternative’ treatments, such as naturopaths, aromatherapy, etc?
  • Do I want to heal only via ‘spiritual’ techniques, like aura cleansing, rituals, etc?
  • What do I have the means to do?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a better picture of how you want to treat yourself. Now that you’ve made a list of what kind of treatment you want, the time has come to consult your tarot/spirits/inner archetypes.

First, do whatever rituals you feel necessary to dispel any negative energy/miasma that this activity may have caused you, and try and achieve a positive space for your readings. Then, when you feel ready and all your crystals are in place, do readings on your preferred treatment options. Ask them (whoever that is for you, be it deities or your inner selves) what they think about your treatment options.

Again, be honest. Write down without judgement or fear what comes to you. They may very well contradict what you want. Avoid questions fueled from fear and focus on ones that pinpoint which treatment options are best for you and lead to your healing. Questions may be ‘will checking in to the local psychiatric ward help heal me?’ if you are using a yes or no option or a two situation outcome reading, or ‘what is the most plausible outcome on my mental health if I was to check into the psychiatric ward?’.

The important thing is to face the situations here head on. Don’t be afraid of what answers your divination will bring you. Let it flow, and let them say what they have to say, without you judging them.

Then, when you’ve asked about all your possible treatment options, even the ones you’re not fond of, close the divination session. This is important. You want to be the one to make your decisions, not them. You are the responsible one here, and you don’t want a million voices clouding your judgement.

Close your ritual/seance/reading, and take a moment to ground yourself. Close your eyes and relax into a small meditation, or take a brisk walk out of doors if you are able. Whatever method you choose, reground into yourself and who you are. Then, move on to the next step.

Now you will take your choices and compare it to the reading/divination results. Now is the time to acknowledge what terrifies you (you can take a sheet of paper for that as well) but also to compare your thoughts with the wisdom you’ve been offered.

An IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: If your reading feels wonky/inconsistent/unreliable, and unusual to you, -> CHUCK IT. The point being, if it’s not something you’re willing to stick beside and that you really feel is right according to your spirits, don’t use it. Do another reading on another day or get someone else to do the reading for you.

Sometimes we’re too close to the matter to do a reading for ourselves and it gets all jumbled. That’s okay. Sometimes our fears are so strong they cloud the reading and that’s okay too. The important thing it to take a moment and use our discernment here. Is this a reading we are willing to stick by? If no, and it feels weird to you, chuck it. If yes, and it feels like painful truths, then continue.

Now, drawing upon the wisdom of your divinations and your own desires that you wrote down at the beginning of this exercise, make a new sheet. Be fair and take into consideration both what you want, but also what the spirits/inner self thinks is best for you. Really, only you can choose between the two, but you have to make a choice. Lucky you if what you and the spirits wants aligns! But if not, then you’ve got decisions to make.

Once you’ve made the decisions, write them down one by one. Then, stick that to your fridge or somewhere visible. Bring it to your doctor if you want. These are the kinds of treatments you’re willing to try, and that’s your decision for the time being. You’ve chosen your path.

If you’ve gotten this far, good job. If not, good job for trying, take a deep breath, and try again on a better day.

I strongly suggest that you take some time to rest and cleanse yourself emotionally after this. Dealing with treatment options can be terrifying and stressful, so cleanse yourself, shower, go for a nature walk, or nap to resource yourself. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself as well for taking your health into your hands. Good job!

Step 3 – Identify the ‘Problems’

What is wrong? What is not right in your life? What’s bothering you – or others?

Here is the part where you sit down with a sense of responsibility and rake in all the evidence from trusted sources. Too often we think we’re “fine”, but others can clearly see differently. Trusted friends and family are key here. Take their advice, the advice of professionals, and make wise decisions.

But suppose you have no one you can trust? What do you do? How does one gauge if things such as anxiety is ‘really’ a problem or not?

Here’s what I suggest to do, in this order.

  1. Well, like with most situations, I suggest heartfelt prayer first.
    • Don’t get caught in trappings of frivolous prayers.
    • Ask for discernment, illumination on the path to healing, and advice.
    • You don’t have to repeat. If you say it with heart once, the gods will have heard you, I’m sure.
  2. Once you’ve prayed, do some divination (or better yet, have it done for you so there is less pressure on your shoulders in the interpretation). The idea here is that you’ve asked for stuff to be sent to you (help in discernment, etc), now you’re trying to receive their advice.
    • use your tarot, runes, oracle cards, etc, asking questions such as “what is hindering me mentally?” “What should I focus on healing now?”
    • Remain open to all options. Write down what you receive or intuit, and set that aside.
  3. Make a list of what you struggle with or avoid doing daily or even weekly -> in an independent or solitary way. Say you can’t imagine taking the bus alone, but you’re not really hindered because you always have friends to go with you -> you’re still hindered because you can’t do it independently. Choose concrete things, such as taking the bus, going to the grocery store, leaving doors unlocked, etc.
  4. Now make a list of what you struggle with mentally. Write down all the niggly things. Anything you think ‘might’ be a problem. Write down even the things that you don’t think are worth taking into consideration, that aren’t ‘such a big deal’.
  5. Now compare the two lists. The point here is to realize which mental health problem/symptoms is crippling your daily activity, and to what extent. Look at each thing that’s giving you a hard time in your life (such as taking the bus) and honestly ask yourself what’s the symptom behind that. Is it anxiety? Paranoia? Chances are, if it’s impacting your daily life, it’s a problem that’s worth tackling. Highlight, circle, or make an entirely new list of the problems that affect your daily functioning.
  6. Now, compare this list with your divination. Here is where you make a final list of what appears in at least two of these lists. These are your target problems.
  7. Rank your problems from most to least incapacitating. Then, also rank them from easiest to hardest to ‘fix’. These will help you make your ‘game plan’ (which is the next post).

But for now, take a moment, have a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve discovered what problems you have, and that’s a big step.

Now, these two lists that you’ve finished with are far from a diagnosis. They’re just you targeting things that are problematic for you. I strongly suggest that you take a moment here, with your lists, and try and make sure that you’ve targeted as much the ‘root’ of everything.

Say, for example, taking the bus is difficult for you. Finding the root would be to localize the anxiety, paranoia, or obsession behind this problem. Always look for what is the root.

Mental health problems are like bad weeds -> the roots can be three feet deep, going on and on through different levels of your psyche. But unless you dig up that root, they’ll just keep coming back in different plants/disguises. So, say you’ve managed to conquer the bus but you didn’t treat¬† your anxiety per se, so instead of worrying about the bus, you worry about taxis instead.

Mental health problems are complex, and there are many layers and complexities to each unique problem. Think again of trees and weeds (because we are pagans and that’s what we do, haha). In a book called ‘the secret life of trees’, Peter Wohlleben shows that trees actually support each other through their root systems, trading nutrition and water (I think that’s what he said anyways, I read the book a while ago). So my point here is that one problem can do just that, feeding off and supporting another (which is called ‘co-morbid’ in psychiatrist speech). So maybe instead of just digging up one problem at a time, it feels like you’re digging them all up at once. This is because they are probably entwined at the root. But just like digging up a nest of weeds, you have to start with one at a time, and dig up the whole plot of messy roots.

So now that you’ve made your lists, I suggest taking a break. Let it go, forget about it. One step is enough per day, in my opinion. Take a cleansing bath, purify and cleanse the area you made your lists in, and change your mind (garden, watch a show, read a book, etc). Focus on other things in your life, such as things that you can still comfortably perform without running up against your mental health problems.

Grateful doesn’t mean Painless

I’ve had a shit day. Not that anything bad has happened, but that I’m exhausted emotionally from less than pleasant private things (thankfully nothing wrong in my own home, so don’t worry) that have brought me down to a point of exhaustion. I was barely able to do anything today, being so tired that I just wanted to cry.

Now, self pity isn’t the point of this post. I got myself feeling better and just a few minutes ago I was reflecting on it. My thought process went like this “oh I live in such a lovely home, shame on me for feeling bad when I live in such a nice place, I should be more grateful and maybe one day I’ll regret not being happy enough”. To which I did a double take.

Wait, what? Gratefulness does not erase pain, be it emotional or physical. Sure, your mindset can make things more palatable and you can have good coping mechanisms. But when I practice gratitude, I usually end up just feeling guilty. Oh, I am grateful, but I feel guilty for still being in pain when I have such lovely things.

Because here’s the thing -> stuff and situations won’t erase your mental illness. They can help, but to erase it completely? It would have to be nirvana in my opinion.

So yes, gratitude is great and all, but it won’t heal you. And being grateful is not the polar opposite of mental anguish. You can be both grateful and in pain, the two do not exclude each other.

So don’t think you’re not grateful enough because you’re in pain. Being in pain is not a sign you’re not grateful enough. Appreciate what you have, but don’t burden yourself with the concept that good mental habits (like gratefulness, positive thinking) means no mental illness. They’re not the same.

Cute cat to cheer up your day!

Mental Illness and Writing – Again?!

One thing that I think is peculiar to me and my kind of weirdness (please feel free to prove me wrong! I’d like to not be the only one, haha) is my relationship with music and writing.

Now, I’ve already mentioned that I get inspiration/messages from my dreams. Well, a similar thing happens with music. I will get a song stuck in my head as a sort of ‘message’. No, it’s not the same thing as just having a song stuck in your head. This kind of ‘stuck in your head’ is obsessive. It carries meaning and weight to it.

Inevitably, or at least quite often, this gets mixed in with my writing process. For example, yesterday I had inspiration for a new story (Yeah!). Today, for the third time, I went to try and begin writing that story. And for the third time, it’s flopping. I want it so bad but no words are coming. One could say it’s not ‘manifesting’.

new story couple.jpeg
Here is the picture I drew today of the future characters!

And yet – I was able to draw the characters, with a certain song playing (and only this song) – The Bells of Notre Dame. As I listened to this song on repeat, I felt like the song was talking to me. I felt like it had a message for me, if only I could grasp it.

But did I grasp it? Not quite, not yet. I feel like I’ve gotten hints but not the whole picture. Maybe more will come when I sit down to write yet again. Definitely, I will be drawing inspiration for it and trying to use it to set the tone/theme of the story. But further than that, it’s hard to put into words what the music ‘teaches’ us in these moments. Certainly I can say some things like ‘focus on this character more than that one’ and ‘there’s probably lots of doom and gloom’ – but how do you explain getting that out of a song? I can’t. I like to just stick the song in a playlist that I’ve made for my writing, and just let the magic happen. I tell myself it’s maybe a sign from the gods. On the worst of days I tell myself it’s nothing.

But it is something. And I wish I knew what. I wish I knew whether this was a symptom of paranoia or a hallucination, or whether it was a sign from the gods.

Because, the thing that’s miserable in all this, is that music used to really be a source of hallucination for me. It used to speak to me, drive me into ecstatic states, and always felt like it was on the verge of being a language in my head. So is this just a leftover from those experiences? I hope not.

If anyone has similar experiences, I’d love to hear them, really.

 

Manifesting Abundance

What a load of bullcrap. I have a deep-seated loathing towards ‘manifestation maniacs’, inspired by my own struggle with my daily thoughts. But, as the craze of ‘The Secret’ came and went, I started to cool off my anger and recently, I thought, hey, it’s ok. Just chill, you know?

And then!

When I wasn’t well lately, I called a local pastor simply to have someone to talk to about my problems. Well, did I get that tea! Literally, he took the opportunity and preached at me for about half an hour to nearly an hour. It was exhausting, victim-blaming, but what stuck with me was his notion that once I converted to Christianity all my problems would vanish and I would live ‘in abundance’. In short, I would have so much money and worldly comforts and my life would be easy peasy because God loves us and wants our lives to be nice.

Well, uh. Uhm. Have you noticed all the starving pious Christians world-wide? Like, if this was a matter of faith, I’m sure lots more Christians would be better off.

But here’s a thing. I despise how this ‘manifestation’ stuff so closely resembles this pastor’s bullcrap. It shifts the focus of spirituality onto physical wealth, under the guise of ‘abundance’. It frames physical wealth as a reward for spiritual success, blaming the poor for not being ‘spiritual enough’.

This ‘abundance’ stuff is basically just a wish to get wealthy. And people sell it, preying off of poor unsuspecting people who don’t realize that their focus is being shifted. Yes, to a degree, we can make our own worlds. We can control our minds. But why don’t we wish for good spiritual qualities, manifesting ourselves as kind, gentle, and peaceful instead of simply… wealthy?

I leave you with a post on the topic that inspired me to write this: HERE

 

Beauty Hurts When You’re Depressed

I sit here, blaring LOZ (Legend of Zelda, for all you non-geeks out there) music on my headphones. It’s beautiful music, but it’s making me depressed. Why? Because I am depressed, and the more I listen to beautiful music, the more I feel like my novels will never be as epic and music-worthy as others have been.

And that’s my point for this blog post. Depression doesn’t go away by just showering yourself with pretty things. Yesterday, I had a cute puppy around my ankles, desperately trying to get me to cheer up. I still put my head down and curled into a little ball. Why? Beauty hurts when you’re depressed.

Louder again for the people in the back!

BEAUTY HURTS WHEN YOU’RE DEPRESSED!

It is such a stark contrast with the pain and suffering we feel that, really, it just makes it all the worse. The best, the most wondrous, the most gorgeous, it all just hurts. It just makes me, anyways, feel my pain all the more.

So if you know someone who is depressed, don’t show them pretty things and expect it to help. It might just make it worse.

So there you have it, a little glimpse into the strangely painful yet wound-less world of depression.

 

Mental Illness, Medication, and Writing

I strike again! Here I am, about to tell you (once again) about something I may have previously mentioned (in fact I’m quite sure I did), but that I’m going to rehash.

One of the reasons I refused to take psychiatric medication was because I thought it would interfere with my writing, with my ‘intuitive’ channeling of these novels that I was receiving from another realm. Remember, I thought this was sacred, special, and that medication, by muddling with my brain, would interfere with my ‘channelling’.

I’m glad to say that the exact opposite has happened. In fact, it’s almost become a pain in the ass. You see, once I became stable on medication, it’s like my ‘radar’ cleared up. The static in my brain was gone/lessened dramatically, and now I could think and perceive things way more clearly.

In fact, I believe I began receiving messages in my dreams unlike never before. I would dream of deities showing me things, executing vengeance for me, etc. And the story ideas! They come so often to me in dreams now that it’s actually annoying, haha. I get story ideas faster than I can finish the novels! Which, uh, really isn’t saying much because I’m slow at finishing novels but eh. The point is, thanks to being mentally stable due to medication and lots of therapy, I now have more story ideas than I ever had before. In fact, now I can ask a question about a novel, sleep on it, and chances are I might have gotten the answer in a dream.

Y’all, my dreams are off the charts as far as psychic mojo goes. I receive so many messages via dreams now, so clearly and so well!

And that’s it, y’all. That’s all I have to say for today. Take care!

Farfadel

Farfa-What? Farfadel, ladies and gentlemen. It is a land of wondrous beauty, a land of happiness and joy. It is a place that, in the depths of my own despair, I concocted up.

Yep, a few years ago I was in the worst stretch of my mental health. Determined to keep writing, I concocted Farfadel. A happy, fearless, and harmless world where nothing bad happens and shenanigans abound. It was meant to be readable for all, a gentle balm for those suffering from anxiety and depression, for I was at the point that I couldn’t read anymore because the anxiety was so bad.

So what about it? Well, like so many good creative things, it has become an addiction of sorts. One novel spawned another, and another, and another. Two are finished, and many, many, more unfinished. I love writing Farfadel, I love the harmlessness of it, the joy and freedom for silliness.

But what does this have to do with you? Well, dear readers, I need your input. You see, I lose motivation swiftly. I feel like none of this matters to anyone but myself. So I would love if you would read some of my stories and share your thoughts with me. I will share as much as I can for FREEEEE (I love free stuff), and will sell others. For the moment though, I would really just love input and feedback. What do you like? What made you laugh? Did I misspell something? Share with me!

For now, the novel will be published on this website, under the heading ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow (A Tentative Title)’, or you can follow this link HERE to find it.