A while back I posted about wishing I could hibernate. Then, I proceeded (insofar as this blog goes, anyway), to do so. It’s been a while since I posted, and even longer since I felt I had something to say. But I’ve missed writing this blog, thinking about writing and about the community of other writers out there, and I wanted to find my way back.
An excellent writer and friend asked recently what I thought about the connection between writing and depression. She blogged about her own battles recently, and it got me thinking. Certainly I’m no prolific tortured artist. When depression comes along and starts gnawing on my ribcage, drool slavering down its cheeks, I’m not cranking out any wordage. Quite the opposite. I’m circling the wagons trying carry on with peanut butter sandwiches for my kids, and of course trying not to cry at odd and inappropriate moments. In fact, one
of the cruelest parts of depression, for me (other than the aforementioned gnawing-on-ribs-feeling) is the utter hopelessness that overtakes any creative endeavor. Writing seems ludicrous, embarrassing, presumptuous, not to mention just too much damn work. Hell, roasting a chicken feels like too much work.
So why are writing and depression so often linked? And why do so many of my wonderful writer friends have to battle this bad dog along with me? Maybe other writers create wondrous works when they’re depressed. Maybe I’m the only one who is so incapacitated. But for me at least, the gift of depression only comes after it lifts. Because then things change. Then, there is a feeling of heightened awareness, of increased hunger for stories, of gratitude for the ability to notice beauty, to want to capture the funny moments.
Winter is almost gone. The crocuses are poking up through the remaining ratty snow piles, we’re starting the archeological excitement that is our yard when the snow melts (“Look, I found seven pucks!” “Hey, there’s my headband!”) And, for me at least, like sap through the sugar maples all around our town, the stories have started running again. Happy spring.