I can’t honestly point to a specific trigger which convinced me to revisit my site. For some reason, today was the day I felt some compulsion to do the little updates I’ve put off, to clean up some background admin stuff and maybe if I was lucky, shoot off a quick post.
Then I finally logged on and saw the date of my last post.
Christ, had I been offline that long? My son is just days older than my previous post. I truly believed that my last post was maybe a year ago, possibly a touch more. What in the hell happened?
The answer to that question is a hell of a lot. The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, but I don’t feel compelled to lay out my the specific reasons why I neglected to write on my blog in last couple of years. Some of the stuff I’ve gone through in that time has been good, really good stuff. There have been moments of rapturous joy and laughter. Some of the stuff has been bad. Really bad. The kind of bad which feels like your lungs are collapsing and some invisible hand squeezes your heart until you think you’re out of tears. Ultimately, the details don’t matter much. Over the last year, I’ve had to take a hard look at myself and everything about my life.
You see, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I probably have all my life, but over the last couple of years, depression has made a home in my heart and anxiety is an unwelcome guest in my head. That’s why I decided recently to rekindle the blog, not so much to commune with my demons, but maybe in my writing there can be some understanding. If not my understanding better, then maybe by someone who might stumble on my blog. There exists this great misunderstanding about mental health issues. It has improved in recent years, but it remains a battle. People don’t like talking about it and depression especially seems to be talked about in hushed tones.
As far as the blog goes, I’ll still write about things that interest me. I’ll definitely write about writing. Some blog entries will surely be on various writers or books, stories and/or articles that have been written. I’ll still relate things that I find amusing. But in addition to these, I want to have some focus on understanding depression and anxiety. For example, let me relate what anxiety can be for me.
Anxiety is that voice in my head shouting at me that I’m worthless. It is a tricky little bastard because it is a part of me. It knows everything about me and every way I’ve messed up in my entire life. Ever. Every bad decision I’ve made, every unintentional mistake, every time I wasn’t good enough, it’s there magnifying those moments. It is relentless. Even when I’m in a good situation, it will wait until I’m exhausted, off guard and alone.
Anxiety is the fun-house mirror which amplifies your every flaw, distorts any good that you’ve done and is not above pure fabrication to help you feel miserable. Friends and family can support you and they’re critical for that all-important help. They remind you that twisted anxiety mirror is not you. Regularly hearing good things from those you love doesn’t solve anxiety, but it’s an essential medicine. It really helps.
So there it is. It’s not a perfect description (you see, there it is nibbling away at my work) but I think it may be useful. Writing about it now has sapped some of its power. If this is all shouting in the dark but it gets me back to the happy person I know I am, then it’s worth it. Let me leave you with one of my favorite and meaningful quotes.
This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self. — John Watson, 1903