When I was too young to understand what it was, I went through a brief period of depression. I had no coping tools, not a self-help book, not a therapist, not a friend or lover I felt I could confide in. And of course back then in the stone age there was no Internet. I’ve had occasional bouts with depression, not clinical, but situational, since then.
Back then, I did have an important insight. I imagined myself hanging a huge banner in my living room saying “Do Something.” That was fairly profound for me, because it still holds true. Sitting in a depression without taking action simply keeps me depressed. When that feeling comes on, I find it difficult to write anyway, so why deliberately isolate myself as I have been doing all winter for 5 or even 10 days at a time?
Writing. I do it for the writing. After intense periods of work and play, where writing time is scarce, I adore a blank calendar. But I need to stay aware of the balance between writing time and people time. Too much isolation inevitably leads me into a mild sort of depression that also takes away my willingness to write. Maybe I need a new banner: “Pick Up Your Pen.” or “Write Something STAT.”
I think I’ll be okay for awhile, because my schedule, after being quite light all winter, is speeding up and I don’t think I have 5 empty days (forget 10!) in a row until July. I view this increased activity with apprehension. What if my writing suffers? But the truth is, I will probably write more, and with a lighter heart, too.
My advice to any other writer who may be going through something similar is to make a lunch or dinner or movie date. Because for the last two days I’ve had social things with friends, and this morning I wrote 6 pages without a problem.