Thanks, February

Happy first Monday in March.

I’ve struggled with depression since I was in middle school. February is a brutal month for living with depression in the Midwest. We get no sun, it seems like winter had gone on forever with no respite, and it’s difficult to go anywhere or do anything because the roads are covered in snow if you’re lucky and ice if you’re not.

For obvious reasons, this has been affecting my writing. My mandatory two hours a day has fallen by the wayside in the past week. Instead of writing, I mostly just stare at Scrivener and feel like it’s pointless because I’ll never amount to anything and other such cognitive distortion. Or if I’m really feeling bad, I’ll play a video game because I know that I can’t actually make myself work so I might as well not make myself feel worse.

If this goes on into March, I’ll talk to my doctor again. I know what she’ll say: diet (hard to do when you swing between nausea and eating everything salt/fat/sugar without care), exercise (at least I haven’t cut myself off from this, even though I’ve cut back), and better sleep (lololol I’m tired all the time but can’t shut off my brain, routine be damned, I’d love better sleep if I can get it without pills). And if that doesn’t improve it, medication.

I hate taking medication of any kind, even the inhalers that keep my lungs working like lungs instead of sticky bricks, and my reaction to the thought of another daily medication is just “how about nope.” Especially a medication where skipping days creates it’s own unique problems. The good news is that counseling had given me amazing tools for self-awareness, being able to recognize which thoughts and feelings are backed by evidence and which are just my depressed brain being depressed. As long as I’m functional. And I have loved ones who I trust to tell me if I’m not.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure my motivation and feelings will come back with the sun. I’m going to try to keep writing until then, but I also know I can’t force it. I can make myself sit in my chair with my keyboard at the ready, waiting for my mind to start working on technical problems of setting and characterization, and the fact it’s hard will make me question my talents and all the hard work I’ve put in. I can take a break and do “market research” (aka reading), and accept that it’s going to make me slip into serious professional envy. I can do these things, and I have been doing these things, because going through the motions is better than staring off into space. But I can’t make the words and excitement come.

In good news, March will be better. This will pass. It always does.

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