Paints and brushes remain untouched.
The books and magazines pile up, waiting to be seen, waiting to be read.
The cursor blinks at me from the blank page of a Word document and I wonder how to move it across the screen to write fiction.
How did I used to do it? Back then it was as though someone dropped the words into my head from the sky above and my fingers just translated them onto the page into a story that meant something to me.
Story means nothing to me right now; at least, not new ones. The ones already written will always mean so much, and each book holds a million little bits of memory as to what my life was like when I was writing it, how I clung to the Story to find my way through the reality of the world outside of Story.
The Story that matters the most to me right now is the one of my daily life.
It doesn’t make for the most interesting reading, at least not to anyone but me, but right now writing the story of my life is the main focus of my attention because fiction just feels empty; like a movie set of an old abandoned Western town with a single tumbleweed blowing down the dirt road.
It’s been a long time since the story of my life mattered to me. Depression does that to you, it beats the desire (and often the ability) to feel anything out of you. Bipolar depression is an entirely different animal altogether, as it often combines a mix of dangerous emotions like anger (at yourself, mostly, and for every imaginable reason and some you can’t imagine) frustration and fear.
I’ve written before that I’ve been sleeping through my life for a long while. I’m almost a week into my latest med change and while I am still exhausted and oversleeping some I feel like maybe, just maybe, I am beginning to wake up, a little.
But as soon as I put pressure on myself to create something, to make something, say something about the sad state of affairs on our planet that will make it make sense somehow, I shut back down and back to bed I go.
I don’t want to sleep through my life anymore. I'm still not sure how to fully wake up.
I’m trying to be gentle with myself, which is not something I am used to doing. Usually I’m hardest on myself of anyone on the planet, but if I’m going to learn to take care of myself and get as good as I can at battling this cursed brain disorder I have to start being kinder to myself. I have to be kind to everyone, of course, but charity, as they say, begins at home.
So as I’m sitting here typing and listening to Rob Thomas sing a song called These Hard Times. I think about the suffering in the world and I am hyper aware that everything can change in a second. I think of how my personal world was thrown into chaos with my husband’s recent hospital stay and recovery and it scares me how dependent I’ve become due to my multiple disabilities.
I used to be, years ago, the one people called when they were in a jam. Now I’m the one who gets confused and disoriented in the grocery store, who can't manage lifting the laundry (or anything else that must be lifted) and can barely clean up after just the cat for a few days when necessity demands it.
I miss being the person others could call on in a crisis. Now, often I am the crisis and I hate that.
But I have to stop beating myself up over it. I burned through my strength in those years helping other people, I burnt the candle not just at both ends… I hit it with a flamethrower. I burned bright and hot and eventually my star—my soul— began to die out.
Still, it has light left to shine in it, I believe this. Somehow beneath all the layers of darkness and despair I still believe there must be light.
Maybe that’s a place to start; by believing there is still light in there, somewhere. A reason to stay awake through the days; with slow, measured steps back toward creative thoughts as I pen the most important Story of all; life.
Maybe if I don’t pressure myself so much the path will become clearer; maybe I’ll finally see my way clear of the trees and find the tranquil forest I so desperately seek.