It's been nearly two years since I last used this blog to talk just about myself. It is somewhat comforting to look back on that and see how well everything worked out with the move to the Seattle area. However, after last week's entry, I felt there was something I needed to address. To put it simply:
Hello, my name is Mason, and I have major depressive disorder.
I've mentioned being in therapy a time or two before; this is why. This is something I've been dealing with all my life, though it's only been over the past decade or so my depressive episodes happened frequently enough for me to realize what they were, and only over the past year have they reached a point where they can be called cyclical. I started seeing a therapist in May, and that's been very, very helpful.
Learning how to battle my depression has also led to anxiety, which my therapist says can be a sort of side-effect because not having to fight depression so much means I have the energy to be anxious, but really, what can you do.
Depression, for me, usually manifests as feeling absolutely worthless. I feel that nothing I do matters, I feel unworthy of love or attention or even being noticed, and I am fully convinced that I amount to nothing and will continue to do so. I do not speak unless it's necessary; I've gone days without saying a word to anyone, despite continuing to go to work and otherwise pretending to be a functional human being. Sometimes there's anger to go along with it, wanting to lash out at the world but feeling like nothing I do will matter and hating myself for not being able to make a change.
Part of the problem is that, as a writer, I've become very good at believing what comes out of my own head. So it's hard for me to fight it when there's that automatic response to everything I think that tells me how worthless I am. This is why saying "depression lies" doesn't work for me; I've also heard that so often it doesn't mean anything anymore.
As some of you might have noticed, these are the times when I make the blog posts that read like an Eeyore monologue. When I told my dad I had depression and was seeing a therapist, he said he'd wondered if that was the case after reading some of my entries. How my depression works with my writing, though, is interesting.
I get depressed when what I'm working on isn't working, yes; that's easily one of my main triggers. But nothing conquers depression for me better than working on something. For the month I wrote STARWIND's first draft, I didn't have a single down day. When I have a good plotting day, or get in some good editing time, I feel calm and at ease again. My therapist says that doing something - anything, really - is often the best way to counter depression. I know a lot of writers say their work is the only thing that keeps them sane, but most of the time, my work's the only thing that keeps my mind where it needs to be.
Things have been going well lately, I'm glad to say; mostly editing for my next round of beta-readers and preparing sequel/series notes. I wouldn't say I'm looking forward to querying again, but I am about ready to give it another go. Soon.
Thanks for listening. See you next week.