We blame things outside ourselves for our shortcomings all the time. We’ll blame our busy schedules. We’ll blame the enviroments in which we work. We’ll blame the market, politics, the machination of God or muses or just about anything other than our own shortcomings. Blame the bottle, blame the pills, blame your mother.
Blame your depression.
As far as I know, undertaking most endeavors, especially on one’s own, requires two things: energy and motivation. Your energy is an entirely physiological thing. Brain chemistry, sleep deprivation, spiritual well-being, diet and exercise and all those factors come into your level of energy. Motivation, on the other hand, is all in your head. It’s all about you, who you are, who you want to be and what you love to do. Brain chemistry factors into it, to a degree, but for the most part it’s rooted more in our dreams than our enzymes.
Energy, therefore, is something we only partially have control over. But motivation is all on us.
That’s where depression comes into it.
It can weave a tangled web in your head. Sometimes you won’t even know it’s there until you walk face-first into it. And even after the cobwebs of negativity are sticking your eyeballs shut and creeping up your nose, you might not realize that this external influence is pushing you away from your mental center. Once you do, however, the longer you let yourself push you, the harder it’s going to be to return to where you want to be. Depression lengthens your Shadow. Depression creates obstacles born out of your own fear and self-doubt and failures.
Blame depression for that. Don’t blame it for not overcoming those obstacles.
We do not create anything we cannot destroy. The chemicals in our brains aren’t pumped into our soft tissue with space radiation beamed from Xenu’s invisible invasion fleet. We don’t have direct control over said chemicals, but it’s still taking place entirely within our own system. And since these mental hurdles are constructs of our own minds, we have more power over them than we realize. This means we can defeat depression, if we don’t blame it and do our utmost to resist it.
Do not assume, however, that you can do it entirely on your own.
Some do need medication. Some need doctors. Some need family and friends. Others may need all of the above and more besides.
I’m not a doctor, or a therapist, and I do not intend any of these ramblings to be a how-to guide for kicking the depression-beast in its dour ballsack. Nor do I believe, or wish to give the impression that I believe, that this thing is some sort of early edition AD&D illusion that one can wish away just by disbelieving. This is simply my way of grabbing said beast in my own head by the scruff of its neck and dragging it out of its dark emo corner and into the daylight. Struggling with the job market, facing the prospect of more rejection in writing and the nature of the manuscript I’m editing (not mine) are all things that are giving the beast more power, while my games, my wife and my cats take that power away. However, I can’t just spend time on those things. As much as I enjoy them, they’re not productive.
And if I’m not productive, I’m not going anywhere.
I’m glad I have this blog and people that actually come to read it. It helps me remember that I do, in fact, have a talent worth cultivating and that it does reach people who get something positive out of it. That’s all I’ve ever wanted as a writer. It is my goal, pretty much for life, to have at least one person read what I write, look up from my words and see the world differently, even if for a moment, because of what they read.
I’ll never make it if I don’t write, and to really nail it down I need to write beyond the blog. Every day.
I haven’t been doing that and I feel awful over it, and I will try to be better about it in the future.
Because I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that sad sack of a beast drooling and grinning in the corner have its way.