The depression is strong today and the anxiety rife. Words like toxicity and abandonment and failure and quitter permeate my very being, and I wonder why they affect me so. I’ve struggled with depression since middle school, and this demon has taken control of the things I love. Sometimes I’m strong enough to take them back. Sometimes I’m not. Often I sit back and watch as my demon consumes my very life, everything I have striven to make beautiful. And I’m powerless.
But am I really powerless? Or am I a coward? I make things come alive that would otherwise have no breath. I mold nothing into something with only the power of my mind, so how can I claim to be powerless over something like depression that wouldn’t exist if I didn’t give it life? Unless it has become separate from me after years of breathing into it so that it has become a monster born of my own heart. I want no one’s pity. My chest hurts. It hurts to breathe. To think. To feel. But I won’t be defeated by this monster of my own creation. Not today. These words are proof that I’m not giving up on what I love. Depression may make it hard to create words, but I’m going to fight to get them out.
What does this have to do with writing? Well for a writer, everything. The words I want to write get stuck in the net called depression that separates my heart and my mind. You see, I started writing as a child, and my depression hit soon after. It seems like every time I make decent headway on my novel, depression rears its hideous face to tell me I’m not good enough, so I shrink back and put my novel away. Even the simple task of keeping my hands on this keyboard is difficult. My arms feel heavy and want to swing back to their normal stations at my sides. Tears are threatening to spill over my bottom eyelids, but I’m at work, so I have to force them back into my eyes and pretend that I just sneezed so I don’t have to lie to people in the hallway about my mental health and how it sucks right now.
I am not defined by my writing or by my depression, but those two things are at war within me. It’s a war between my mind and my heart, and I honestly don’t know which one is winning. As I think back to when I started writing The Elven Dilemma, called An Elf’s Dilemma back then, I think about how happy I was to write and escape the emptiness I felt inside. An emptiness I couldn’t and still can’t explain. I had a loving family then and still do now, but the emptiness pervades every fiber of my being, wrapping me in its cold clutches, and keeps me from feeling that warmth from my family. I turned to writing back then because it was something I could control. And as I grew up, writing became my salvation, my therapy, a necessity to keep me functioning as a normal teenager is expected to function. When I hit college, writing and reading became chores that I dreaded. I could never write for fun anymore, so I stopped, my muse gone. And the depression took full advantage of me during those years, these years, exploiting my weakness and discontent, allowing me to let things, people, situations into my life that harm me. And here I am today, in grad school with a budding career, fighting against this depression for the energy and strength to continue writing The Elven Dilemma, stubbornness and utter defiance my newfound muses. I will finish and publish this novel to prove to myself and my demon that I can. I will publish this novel in spite of my depression and the toxicity it has brought into my life because I am strong, and I will not let it win. Not yet anyway. Tomorrow is a new day.