Why are we here?

If you aren’t in the know, WordPress has this “university” or something that is kinda cool and they help you blog, give you topics…some of them are focused on writing specifically. The one that started today is Blogging 101, and the task was to write a who I am/why I’m here post. I suck at writing About pages and can never write a decent one, so I’m using Blogging 101 as a springboard for that. And also for today’s post-a-day post. Birds. Stone.

I started my online escapades in the early, hazy days of the internet where AOL was king and chat rooms were HTML-based (and easy AF to hack. I heard. Ahem.) I was a foolish teenager with emotional problems and I suddenly had a blank-faced audience I could talk to without fearing the response. I mean, even if they didn’t like me or responded negatively, the internet allowed me to flee from unsafe situations with relative ease. It wasn’t the far-reaching behemoth it is today. My initial foray into blogging was at Livejournal, I believe. That blog still exists and I never use it, but it’s there like an old friend. An old friend who has seen way, way too much of my ugly insides.

What I’m trying to say is blogging is my jam. I am inconsistent, lazy, and sometimes completely boring, but I love having blogs and sharing ideas with my friends and random strangers who might need comfort or a laugh or a random piece of information or absolutely nothing at my blog. That’s the nice thing about the internet. This corner of the world might not matter to you. It might not interest you. And that’s okay, because there are 800 bajillion people in the world.* You’re not going to blow the socks off every person you meet.

I’m going to talk about my dogs a lot on this blog. I’m preparing you now so you can’t say you’re surprised when all I do is post pictures of them for three straight months. You will also read posts about depression, chronic illness, writing, reading, and how to be a feminist killjoy. One topic you will never ever see on this blog is baseball**. Baseball, YUCK.*** The San Francisco Giants are the WORST.**** Hunter Pence doesn’t turn it off and turn it back on again before calling I.T.*****

If you like any of those thing, or think you’ll like any of those things, maybe stick around and see how it goes. Maybe we can be friends. Maybe we won’t get along at all. I’m hoping at the end of it all, I’ll have made a few new friends, found some quality blogs to add to Feedly, and worked out some of my own shit in the process.

*Totally true, high school students

**Lie

***Untrue

****Also untrue

*****I have no idea on this one

Recovery

Trigger warning: mental illness, depression

Recovery is a strange thing. It doesn’t really seem to matter what it is you’re recovering from – an illness, injury, or loss – the process is more or less the same. I suppose the five stages of grief would apply in a lot of cases, possibly even mine. Anyone who has dealt with the five stages knows that the stages aren’t linear, they aren’t predictable, and you spend a lot of time repeating them. Eventually you come out on the other side, some other side, be it a good one or a bad one, and you learn to live a changed life.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with chronic depression. It was neither surprising nor pleasant to hear. Depression is something that has lurked around my life for a very long time. I have several definitive moments in my life that are filed under I Will Never Forget This Moment:

1. The hell of 8th grade – something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy
2. The day I was walking to work in college and realized I was depressed
3. The past three months (give or take)

Having dealt with depression for so long has made it a grim sort of companion for me. It is always nearby and it has, for a majority of my life, ebbed and flowed quite gently. Some drops were more difficult than others but they always ended and I could get back to some sort of even keel.

Then the even keel disappeared. Any semblance of balance and rationality left with it. Then my concentration exited the building. All of it, anything I had inside, was then replaced by a very dark fog. I began having panic attacks. I stopped cleaning. Stopped cooking. Stopped caring. I pushed through the week just to get to the weekend, and then I spent the weekend crying on the couch, wrapped in my blankets, and wondering how I’d get through another week.

I stopped sleeping. I went to bed very late, woke up very early. I became obsessive. I listened to the same song for hours on end, all day and all night, for a week. It began affecting every corner of my life. Every single corner.

There was a breaking point, as there almost always is with stuff like this. I am fortunate to be surrounded by supportive and kind people who understand, who help when they can. And then I decided, after another Saturday spent terrified and panicked and fragile on my couch, that I couldn’t do it anymore.

I needed help.

There are many, many layers to this story. Many chapters I could write, many things I could tell you about all of these journeys and experiences, but that’s not my intention for this blog or this blog post. (And seriously, it’s just way too…what’s the word? Depressing.)

The short version: my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant and it’s working. I noticed a change within two days. I started humming one morning when I got to work. I was putting my things away and what? Why am I humming? Like, I don’t even want to stop! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

It was followed by quite possibly the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had in my life (and THIS, my friends, is finally the point of this blog post). I didn’t hate writing anymore. In fact, I was kind of infatuated with it. Well, not so much the IT of writing but the IDEA of writing, and that’s huge. The tummy tickle happiness and freedom that I used to feel when I thought about writing came back. I don’t know when it left. I don’t know when I turned that corner. I do know that it was like someone had severed one of my limbs. My identity has been, for the longest time, tied up in writing.

I know, it’s weird that I’m that way. The audience who gets to see anything I write is handpicked and even then, you kind of have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. And then there’s that whole I rarely even write anymore, I’ve never had anything published, and I have very little desire to even TRY to get something published thing. Everyone has her process, amirite?

Ah, yes. Writing. Writing! I’ve missed it over the past however many years it has been missing from my life. The void is not completely filled in yet and there is still so much more I need to do in terms of myself and my writing (and a million other things), but there is a spark of hope. A tiny blip of light, like a single firefly in a giant field.

It’s the first step of Recovery. That’s what I’ve taken to calling the gentle breaking in of my atrophied writing muscles: Recovery. It started on Sunday with something horrible and elementary and a moment of sheer frustration where I wanted to throw my laptop out the window, but I took a deep breath, reminded myself that a lot of crappy gunk is going to come out first and that later, down the road a bit, better and cleaner things will appear.

So baby steps into Recovery. It all starts here.

Writing is a love/hate sport

Sometimes it feels like a curse. Sometimes it feels like death is the only preferable option. Sometimes it feels like there’s an elephant on my chest or sand in my lungs. Sometimes the pain is exquisite, delicate and sharp behind my lungs, resting on my stomach. Sometimes the person trapped inside screams, thrashes herself bloody against the walls, retches until her sides split open and everything rotten inside pours out onto my floors.

Tonight it is dark, deep blue, velvet under my fingers. Tonight it is bittersweet, staring out a dark window into a dark night. Tonight is cutting out my heart with a dull knife. Tonight is cold, stale, filled to the corners with emptiness. Tonight is mourning a friend who turned out to be a stranger. Tonight is evidence and conjecture, tonight is hopeless. Tonight is unending.

*

I have a very volatile relationship with my writing. I have for a very, very long time. If pressed, I think I’d call it my longest, most emotionally unstable relationship ever. I’ve thrown it away, only to pick it back up ten minutes later. We’ve experienced uncomfortable alienation from time to time. At best, we are antagonistic toward one another these days.

The italicized bit up there is how I felt about writing last night. Tonight I feel less. Next to nothing. I can’t decide which night is worst: the one where words won’t come or the one where I am apathetic toward the process.