Voice

I haven’t been writing as much since I’ve been better in the last year. I don’t feel driven to anymore.
This bothers me. A lot.

Since my depression started, I was uncontrollably compelled to scribble out my thoughts via any media available. (In 6th grade, it was terrible verse on periwinkle looseleaf I was proud to title the “Blue Paper Poems” – little more than regurgitated Nirvana, Hole, Mazzy Star, and Simon & Garfunkel lyrics put through a suicidal hormone blender. LIFE LESSON: “Sucking at something is the first step to being kinda good at something.”)  I felt like I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and I had this raging need to get it all out of my head to keep myself from suffocating… even if the content was rambly and insane and melodramatic and pretentious and so, so redundant.

But as I kept scrawling and later typing documentation of a storyline I absolutely hated, something unexpected happened; I found a voice that got clearer and more concise. I learned how to build on thoughts and turn introspection into arcs in tone to complete essays that landed an emotional punch. I learned to employ affectation through my style and cadence. I taught myself how to write both with authenticity and intent. Incidentally

Sure, I spent my late teens and twenties posting every single thought I had online, chronicling my nonstop spiral through varied crises and general insanity. What verbal hemorrhaging I’d formerly done behind closed doors, I now did publicly and without abandon. What tiny following I’ve developed in 10+ years of blogging was irrelevant; my ever-worsening sense of despair (especially as the new meds introduced me to manic episodes and psychosis for the first time in ’08) was causing me to need to scream out for help in the only way I felt any sort of relief.

I never wrote for attention on LiveJournal or on this site; honestly, any comments or followers were a biproduct. I wrote because that was the only therapy that was keeping me in check on a daily basis. Even though I hated rephrasing the same “AUGHGODITHURTSFUCKALLTHIS!!” essays over and over, writing it and putting into the world was the only thing I felt like I was able to do that was actually effective in making me feel any better.

It wasn’t unusual for me to get out of bed at 2 a.m, telling my husband, “It’s okay. I just have to write.” This happened a few times every week.

And I always knew how it looked. I knew how I sounded. I knew that constantly whining about being in mental agony and then cycling back through those flickers of hope that “it’s all getting better now!!!” was exhausting. And boring after awhile. I was bored with it. I was swimming in self-loathing for having nothing better to talk about for years.

But I had to keep writing about it. There would be weeks I didn’t bathe or leave my bed, and the best I could do was make sure my child was fed, bathed, clothed, and at school on time, but I still had this drive to write. Whether I was in a manic episode or a depression, the writing was always there.

I’ve mentioned it before, but since April 2014, we have a new life here. My mind is still calm, consistent, and optimistic; I feel like I’m functioning with all new equipment. Terrible, self-destructive habits I’ve had for decades have evaporated along with the physical ailments that being overmedicated caused and, I really do feel and act like a completely different person. I’m just so fucking relieved and grateful when I look at how peaceful my home life has been-  how we’ve been able to repair and start building a life we’re really thriving within (instead of just barely surviving.)

But the writing compulsion has been gone.

At first I blamed it on the tardive dysphoria and thought it was part of the aftermath of 12 years of chemically-enhanced emotions wreaking havoc on my natural “giving a shit” mechanisms. But after my general apathy went away, my creative drive hasn’t returned and it has me terrified that it won’t.

I’m not going to sit here and claim that I was a great writer when I was pounding all my cliched, tortured thoughts into my keyboard, but the power I felt when I was able to transfer abstract emotion into text gave me a sense of control I got nowhere else. Sometimes, I could produce something actually noteworthy; during a time in my life when I felt ashamed of everything about myself, having this one thing I knew could do really well, was always available, that helped me spiritually, AND that gave me a glimmer of self-worth to illuminate the darkness of madness was the single most important part of my personal identity. I clung to my daily writing like I needed it to survive, because frankly – from my vantage point as a sane, rational person enjoying hindsight –  I’m not sure I didn’t.

And it’s just gone.

I’ve attempted to sit and write anything sincere to rev up my creative juices, and nothing comes out. It reads like I’m putting together words that are loosely relevant to a theme in order to appease some judgey professor as I’m learning a new language. I’m not producing anything of substance. Not even for myself..

It feels like I’ve been abandoned by my oldest, most trusted friend.

I don’t know; I guess I always assumed that I spent so much time talking to myself these last couple decades that, after my inner voice and I made it through the storm, we could still sit and talk even if we don’t have an agenda. Maybe even laugh about what a shitshow it all was.

But when I try to speak, it comes out all garbled and unenthused, like when you run into your ex while you’re slumped over a pharmacist’s counter suffering from the flu.

I always thought writing was part of my whole “purpose”, at least professionally. As I’ve been feeling better, I’ve put myself out there and am getting a little work writing basic content for a few sites, but I’m scraping the bottom of my well to revamp old material so I’m not written off as a slacker. It’s actually something I still want to do, but the spark is gone no matter how many self-help list articles I read to encourage my creative drive to come out of hiding.

Now what?

One thought on “Voice

  1. Your situation makes me think of a stroke victim who has to relearn how to do things that were once taken for granted. Learning how to walk or feed yourself again must be so fucking frustrating.

    Your brain has been through a lot. Now it needs to figure out *it’s* new normal. It’s going to stretch differently now. I hate that it’s frustrating for you.

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