A New Kind of Writing Process (and Purpose)

I have a bad habit of stopping things before they’re finished. This happens with books, movies, television shows even updating this blog you’re currently visiting.

I get bored, or tired, or lazy, or something else will happen that I use as a road block for getting stuff done. Momentum is a tricky thing like that. Once you lose it, it gets harder and harder to get your shit back together and get back in the game.

The truth is that it’s easier to give up than persist. It’s easier to blame every known external factor instead of confronting the voice in your head and owning the fact that there’s nothing else to blame for your lack of progress. You’re the one watching Bojack Horseman for the fifth time.

Yes, I know that show is amazing. Why do you think I’ve started watching it for the fifth time?

I’m going to be honest, though. 2017 has been a shit storm for me. Actually, shit hit the fan last November, and it wasn’t because of the Presidential Election (though that did play a role in my overall mental health).

All of November, I was looking for a new job. I didn’t slow down for a solid four weeks, talking to recruiters, interviewing at places, driving all over the place until my current job landed in my lap. But that window of limbo, of not knowing where I was going to end up, of not knowing what my future was going to look like, it took a toll on me. And nobody knew. I kept the smile on my face. I lied when I said I was fine.

I broke on the inside and was barely holding it together, trying to impress my new boss, trying to prove to my family and friends that I could do it. That I could be resilient. That’s the word my therapist used to describe me before I stopped seeing her because of insurance issues. She admired my ability to bounce back, and I was in the process of bouncing back.

I would be fine.
I would be fine.
I would be fine… until I wasn’t. 

I didn’t have Apollo’s chords of steel training!
Until January 2017 when I got sick with an upper respiratory infection that would not heal. 
Until I developed a ringing in my ears that wouldn’t go away.
Until it felt like my insides were being shredded for some unknown reason.
Until I was on a new kind of medicine that made me feel worse. 

Until I thought I was having an allergic reaction, but in reality it was just a severe panic attack that landed me in the ER.

That ER visit was scary. I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know what to do. I’d never felt so isolated in my entire life until the nurse walked in and held my hand and spoke to me in the softest voice, telling me to just breathe, that everything was going to be okay, that she also struggled with anxiety, that I should talk with someone about it.

It took everything in my power to keep from bursting into tears, because for the first time in weeks I finally didn’t feel alone. Even now I’m warding off tears. Nurses are healers.

I went to see my therapist the next day (she thankfully had an opening in her schedule), and I did nothing but cry. I wept and sobbed and just let out all of the pent up hurt and stress and anxiety and loneliness. I confessed I’d started having intrusive thoughts, that my mind was whispering the lie that things would be easier if I wasn’t here anymore. That all of my problems would just go away if I was no longer in the equation.

For this, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist (per my therapist’s recommendation), whom I’m still seeing now, and I’m on a tiny little pill that stabilizes my mood just enough to keep the pendulum of my emotions centered. It’s honestly been a game changer.

No more breakdowns!

Since my breakdown, I’ve slowly assembled the fragments of myself. I saw all of the doctors about my various health issues, and I’m almost back to normal. I’m hanging out with my friends more often. I’m making more of an effort to stay connected to my family. I’m writing again both on here, and on my novel (which I’m rewriting with my incredible editor’s blessing because it just wasn’t clicking the right way before). I’m going back to the movies, I’m watching more TV shows, I’m even reading again! But it’s taken a lot of time, energy, and motivation to get back to this point.

And even now, I struggle to keep the momentum going. To stay positive and happy. I blame part of it on the fact that my therapist has been on maternity leave and won’t be back until next month, and I’ve learned the hard way that I need regular therapy sessions to feel in control of my life. I’ve still been seeing my psychiatrist because I’m not keen on having another breakdown, but it’s just not the same.

But I digress. The point is this: I’m sorry I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like. And this isn’t really a public apology, it’s more of an apology to myself in public. So much of my life is open that it feels like I’ve been keeping all of this a secret. I’m not beholden to anyone to write about these things, but I also feel like you all might like to know why the hell I’ve been so absent on here in the last few months… and now you know. It’s also liberating, to finally say all of these things. They’re no longer a mental burden, which is hella nice.

Therapy is a wonderful thing.

So… where do we go from here?

I’m honestly not sure. I’d love to get back into the swing of things on here, but I don’t know if I want to just do a bunch of movie reviews. I know I’ve said before that I’d write about whatever I felt like, and today I felt like writing this. So who knows? We’ll just have to take it one step at a time. Which, to tie things together, is why I titled this post A New Kind of Writing Process (and Purpose).” Because I don’t know what my process looks like anymore. And I’m trying to find my purpose again.

I’m essentially relearning how to write. It’s vaguely familiar, but foreign enough to where I have to sit with the words and try to make them fit together. Like a LEGO set, only I don’t have the instruction booklet. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like until I’m finished with it! I guess that’s where intuition comes into play… but I digress.

I think I’ve rambled enough for now. We’ll see what new shape this blog takes in the coming weeks, but I’m going to try to keep writing on the regular. If not on here, then on my novel. But I’m going to try to work on both because I truly love writing, and writing is the closest thing to therapy I have these days. Even after writing this, I feel a good amount of better.

So here’s to writing all the things and feeling all the better for it! May your thoughts find words, and your words find meaning.