Once again, I stopped writing the words. This tends to be the case whenever writing would benefit me the most. I know I’m going through a particularly bad depressive cycle when I develop a fear of writing. Editing and posting what I wrote during my trip to France doesn’t count. I haven’t written anything new. The fear of writing is too strong. If I write, I will have to face whatever is causing my current depressive cycle.
Depressive cycles lead to suppressed emotions and feelings. Writing will cause whatever is suppressed to come to light. Suppressed emotions and feelings cause a fear of writing.
It isn’t until the suppressed emotions are uncovered and addressed that a depressive spell lifts and writing can begin again.
Depression and writer’s block, therefore, go hand-in-hand.
The weeks leading up to the trip were a mess of anxiety and emotion. I was unable to focus on anything other than simply holding it together; hence the lack of posts during that time period.Back from France: Intro to Upcoming Series
Depression and Fear of Writing
Not writing allows one the luxury of running from inner thoughts. Distractions that once were mildly interesting somehow suddenly become essential uses of time.
Protection from thoughts and feelings is necessary at times. The words know the psyche isn’t ready. Seeing the words is impossible. The words hide until the person is strong enough to face them.
Priorities shift in unhealthy ways when this happens.
For the past two months or so, I haven’t been strong enough to face the words. My usually vigilant daily journaling habits slowed to once or twice a week, and then stopped completely. Fear of writing had taken hold, without me consciously realizing fear was the cause of my lack of interest in writing.
Sitting With One’s Feelings
Staying away from the present is common during depressive/anxious cycles. There is always an alternate task to devote oneself to, and never an ability to sit still and spend quality time with the words. Emotions are suppressed. One runs from thoughts instead of sitting with them.
Three weeks ago, I ran into a brick wall. Figuratively, I mean. I consumed far more alcohol than usual during a night out with friends and became ill for the first time in many, many years. The embarrassment was intense.
Something needed to change.
During the weeks since that horrible night, I’ve sat with my feelings more. I’ve tried harder to come up with the words. In my head, I’ve been able to. In therapy, finally, I’ve been somewhat able to.
And now I think I’m finally able to do so in a post, as well. I am going to try to conquer my fear of writing. I am going to try to write the words and address what is within.
That’s the big challenge now. Writing the Bones. Getting deep down inside and writing all those First Thoughts that I’m not only afraid and ashamed to let the world see, but afraid and ashamed to let myself see. Confronting them is my slain dragon. If I can do it I will be my own knight in tarnished, battle-scarred armor. I will be the one with a sword brandished high, raised in triumph to the skies.Writing Down the Bones
Springtime Seasonal Depression
Depression and anxiety started to spiral at this time last year, and the year before, as well. This was pointed out during a therapy session recently. I hadn’t noticed it on my own.
This revelation led to an obvious question: What is it about this time of year that is triggering?
The answer: The weather gets warmer. The weather gets warmer, and I don’t know how to dress for warmer weather.
Getting dressed every day is an increasingly intense struggle as the weather warms. Nothing looks right. The dramatic weight gain of the past few years is impossible to ignore.
The silhouettes of fall and winter clothing work for me. I understand them. It is easy to achieve looks I not only like, but love.
I have no idea how one achieves that with lighter weight attire.
Failing to be Body Positive
Why is this the cause of deep depression? The task at hand is to answer this.
I was raised, as many of us were, to believe my obligation to the world is to look a certain way, and if I failed at that I was failing at something much larger than myself. Being large in size is not acceptable. I hope, for your sake, that you cannot empathize with this feeling. It is a horrible way to be.Body Image Musings
I am thoroughly convinced I am disgusting, slovenly, worthless, unlovable, and so on, because I am larger than I was a few years ago.
This mindset is neither true nor healthy. It is not who I want to be or what, externally, I stand for. My inner thoughts do not align with my outer words and attitude.
This is why I have a fear of writing. I am ashamed of my feelings about my weight gain. I want the feelings to go away. I do not want to have to face them.
Admitting to a Negative Self Image
It is difficult to admit I judge myself harshly because of my size.
Not admitting to myself that my body image issues are causing a depressive spell is proving horribly unhelpful, though. I am on a path that leads away from self-awareness and growth. It is a path that allows me to continue believing hurtful, terrible things about myself.
And I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of crying. I’m so sick of lying down in bed at night and sobbing. I’m annoyed by the frequency with which my eyes tear up at work, or while conversing with friends, or, well, all the time, really. I’m exhausted from the constant effort required to keep the crying under control.
I know what’s happening in my head is scary and I know I need help. I know it is hard to stand up for myself and be vulnerable. I understand how hard it is to tell my PCP, my parents, my friends, “I don’t know what and I can’t describe it, but something in my brain isn’t right and I just need you to believe me even though you don’t have much by way of details.”Dear Depression: I will not be conquered.
Acknowledging Suppressed Feelings
Cookie has this strange knack of seeing more than the average person and asking the right questions to pull one out of themselves. Often, he’ll ask questions I can’t answer out loud.
I am unable to run from underlying thoughts when I’m talking with Cookie. When we talk or hang out, feelings hidden from consciousness bubble up to the surface.
But even during a conversation in an emotionally safe space, the words elude me. In fact, my fear of talking exceeds my fear of writing.
This means I’m often clamming up around Cookie. There’s so much I’m able to say to him and yet so much I’m not, simply because my fear of writing prohibits thinking of the words.
Fear of writing means I’m not fighting my negative self-image with the tools I know work best for me: Words. I’m not moving forward. I’m treading water instead of swimming towards shore and it is exhausting.
Cookie encouraged me to let go of my inner censor. “Just start talking and see what words come out, and BAM there’s your analysis.”
I can’t speak freely. It isn’t something I am able to do.
At the moment when Cookie encouraged it, I had a narrative running through my head consisting of very cruel thoughts about myself. I was on the verge of yet another sobbing fit, as I often am, and trying desperately to hold it in check.
Blurting out that I am fat, undesirable, unwanted, unlovable, and dull and unpleasant to spend time with would break the tenuous grasp on my control I struggle to maintain. I would have crumpled into a heap on the ground. I would have wrapped my arms around myself, hid my face as best I could, and bawled so hard it left me gasping for air.
I didn’t want to do that in front of him.
In my entire life, I have only felt comfortable truly letting go and sobbing in front of four people: my sister, a boyfriend, and two of my dear friends. With each of them, it has only happened once.
I’m generally not capable of crying in front of people. Even when I feel safe and really want to, I’m rarely able to indulge in a good cry with others around.
Staying Under Control
I cry alone.
Too many of us keep ourselves hidden. Too many of us learned it’s what life requires of us. Don’t be sensitive. Don’t have big emotions. Don’t be so dramatic. Push your feelings away. Just keep smiling. Make sure you keep everyone around you comfortable at all times. Nobody will like you if you’re frowning. Maybe, just maybe, I want to show my writing to the world because I want to scream a big hearty FUCK THAT to all those notions and to inspire others to do the same.Depression and Narcissistic Recovery: Does Blogging Help?
I don’t burden others with my big emotions. I express my big emotions in my writing, where people can choose to either read or not read, according to their comfort level. No response is required. Nobody is put on the spot.
Once my fear of writing takes root, I have no emotional outlet.
With Cookie, I feared if I cried in front of him he would attribute my tears to something about the way the dynamic between us has evolved and feel shame, and I didn’t see the sense in doing that to him.
Cookie hasn’t indicated any interest in seeing me. He has, in fact, changed the subject when I make mention of setting up plans.Post-vacation romance update
Cookie encouraged me to speak freely, but I stayed quiet and pretended I didn’t know what my thoughts or feelings were. I felt I had to. I didn’t want to burden him with all the words that would come out. I didn’t know what the words might be. I was afraid of the words.
Cookie’s advice, however, stuck with me. “Just start talking and see what words come out, and BAM there’s your analysis.”
In a general sense, I’m not someone who can do that in a conversation. It’s exactly what I do when I write, when I am able to write.
Deep depression and writing the words. The two cannot coexist for me.
My soul misses writing. Not writing doesn’t work for me. This fear of writing doesn’t work for me. You would think I might remember it by now and do more to fight the fear when it occurs. Sadly, such is not the case. I don’t even recognize when it is happening.
Thus, here we are again. I’m in the midst of yet another depressive spell. I’m once again crying all the time. I am battling convictions that say I am unlovable, boring, and a trial to know and be with.
People contradict these notions out of kindness. Real feelings aren’t behind their statements. What is real is I am not someone worth knowing.
Logically I know this to be untrue. On a purely rational level, I do understand this to be silly. There are many people who love and appreciate me.
Emotionally, however, the feelings remain constant. The inner dialogue remains constant. I cannot shut it off. There is no stop valve. It continues incessantly.
Releasing the Fear
The floodgates did ultimately open with Cookie. My tight grip on my emotions slid out of my grasp and I started to cry. I continued to make an effort to hold it in, but I quickly realized the attempt was futile.
I let Cookie know what was about to happen with halting breaths. He was not the cause. I made sure he knew that.
And then he wrapped me up in a hug, and I sobbed. I released some of what I’m always struggling to hold in. I regained control of myself before long, but for a minute or two, I bawled. For the fifth time in my life, someone comforted me while I cried.
A few trusted friends know I’m not doing well. Both of my parents do, as well. I haven’t been keeping it to myself. Beyond, “I’m not doing well again,” I haven’t been able to describe it.
The fear of writing made me unable to come up with the words until now. I can’t write without first understanding why I am in a depressive cycle.
Now, the fear of writing is gone. I have seen the beast I have been cowering from. I am ready to go hunting, and I will conquer the best as I always have before.
Hopefully, this marks a turning point. Hopefully, pouring my thoughts out into the words here will once again help, as it has in the past.
Hopefully, the fear of writing is gone and the words will now start to make themselves known again.
Featured Photo by me for this blog