Subject to change: on blogging your way back to life

At some point you have to make a choice. A choice to  live your life despite what you lack, what your weaknesses are, the opportunities you’ve missed in the past. Those opportunities aren’t coming back any time soon. You can feel sorrow for them. Go right ahead. But what’s done is done. Now isn’t the time to wallow.

I realize I should change my About page. The quote from Seth Godin is about sharing things you know with an audience. Don’t write fiction and don’t write diary entries, he says. And here I am doing both on my blog. Because I don’t write to educate anyone. There are enough wanna-be educators out there. I write because it’s like exercise. It keeps my fingers nimble, my demons ever so slightly at bay.

I don’t know why writers are prone to depression. But I don’t think being depressed makes you a better writer. When the darkness engulfs you, the last thing you want to do is write. Because you can’t write unless you have something to say. And depression silences you.

That’s why fiction appeals to me, especially when my brain is wrapped in shadows and I feel myself tumbling into a mental abyss. I like the way that fiction or poetry accesses that part of the brain that exists beyond logic. When I’m depressed, my mind exists beyond logic.

As for diary-writing, it’s not that I set out to make this blog a personal account of my mood disorder. I write whatever comes to my fingers. And most of the time I happen to be thinking about the meaning of my life, about my struggles with achieving mental health. About how being trans has altered the trajectory of my life. So that’s what appears on this blog. I’m as surprised as anyone that so much of my time is taken up thinking about this stuff. Who knew?

But maybe I could choose a topic. Just one to focus on. Wouldn’t that be easy? But I can’t seem to do it. I feel like it’s censoring the other sides of myself. And I’ve had enough of censoring myself.

So much of my childhood was taken up with being silenced – by teachers, parents, the church, a corrupt political system. And the depression itself. The ultimate silencer. It takes a strong will to live to break through the silence. The irony is that by the time that I learn to accept that yes, I do want to live, it’ll be time to die. Let’s hope not. The will to live is a muscle I’m still learning to flex.

So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m just happy to be typing about whatever. To the unaccustomed reader the blog and this post in particular may seem to meander without direction. But for me, knowing how hard it is to just sit down and write? Every evening or morning I manage to do it, I am thrilled. It makes the whole day seem so much better. Small things, small acts.

The act of blogging is my act of rebellion. It’s my way to say to mental illness – here I am. I am still alive. Take that, will you?

And if I happen to say something worthy of other people’s attention in the process. Well, that’s a nice bonus.

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2 thoughts on “Subject to change: on blogging your way back to life

  1. mckarlie

    There is great freedom in simply putting it all out there, it’s not for attention or adoration, just getting it out there is important for a lot of people, myself included. All the best as you struggle with your depression, it certainly skews the mind.

    Reply
  2. thekeenobserver Post author

    Thanks mckarlie. It can sometimes feel selfish, or even exhibitionistic, to want to tell your own story. But I think it truly is as you say: important just to get it out of the system. As someone special once told me: the human body is an excellent energy circulation device, and a terrible energy storage device. Be well.

    Reply

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