It’s funny what sticks out in your memory; seemingly trivial moments are often remembered with the greatest clarity. Two months into the most shocking emotion of my life, I remember standing at the window in my front hall. Snow was gracing the ground with fresh flakes of brilliant white and the sky was a deep deep blue. I remember in vivid detail the thoughts and emotions running through me. It was a mix of pain – stabbing, solid and real – and yet overwhelming gratitude. Here I was, standing on two feet with a life behind me, and this amazing beauty available for me to experience before me.
Depression is hard. Anyone who has ever felt the pangs of it, the deep rooted ugliness of barely feeling like you live above water, knows that there are few words that can describe how bitterly awful it is. It’s hard to wake up into a world you no longer wish to inhabit, not because the life there is dead or less meaningful than before the clouds came but because something inside of you is more dead and less meaningful than ever before. You have lost an essential part of yourself, or rather it has been changed or altered in a deeply profound way.
But stay with me … anyone who has ever experienced depression also knows that it gives you a portal into which you can experience the rawness of human emotion more profoundly, beautifully and more deeply. It allows you to experience your senses heightened, and your sense of feeling and compassion – for yourself, for others, for the starkness of life around you – so much more deeply. Coming out of depression is like coming out of a drug-induced trip. You know you have been to a place few people ever go to, you know you are scarred for your experience, but you also know you have been given the privilege of entrance into a place few walk.
In the hardest moments, and the lightest ones (standing to watch the snow fall) I have always used words to guide me. They are my inner dialogue, but they are also the way I capture my memories, emotions and thoughts and bring sense and transformation to myself (maybe to others) through the experiences I have had. I have always written about my mental illness, about my life in general. And it has never occurred to me that I should live a life outside of this creative indulgence. It is me as much as my lungs and my heart are.
If you share my passion for writing, if you are nodding your head and get what I am saying about how writing puts you in touch with a deeper part of yourself, makes sense of life for you, and gives you the potential to make sense of life for others, then Crystal and I invite you to come on over. We’ve created a brand new Facebook group called her story (my company, my passion, my personal mission in life – to bring “her story” — yours — into the world). We invite all writers – beginners, dreamers, published authors, those who want to be published, those who just want to feel creative juice through themselves – to come and join us in the group. It is a safe, inviting place to share progress on any of the stories you are working on – non-fiction, fiction, memoir, poetry – and to gain feedback and support from women just like you. Just like us.
I love writing. I love it second only to community building. Join me in building a writer’s community online.