One of my English Professors has challenged all of her students to be able to get to the point where they can write about anything at any given moment. That means that we all have to be able to write without being told what to write about. I feel pretty confident about this. In fact, I hate when I am given a very specific topic and told to write about it. I would much rather write about the millions of thoughts that go through my head on a regular basis. My only real problem is that with all of my real life responsibilities, I don’t have enough time to do what I love to do all of the time.
She also tells us that we need to get to the point where we can write without the use of alcohol, weed, or whatever vice we have that we feel makes us write better. She also says that if we take medications like antidepressants, that we shouldn’t stop taking them just because we think we write better without them.
I have a vice, too: Depression.
Food for thought. I’ve suffered from depression off and on for almost 20 years now. I’m not ashamed to admit that, really. I work in a pharmacy and I see many people on a daily basis, picking up their prescriptions for antidepressants. So I know it is a lot more common than I used to think.
Anyways, as my professor was telling the class this, I was thinking about myself, and how, over the past 30 years or so (which is how long I have been a writer); I’ve seen a pattern: I write more when I am depressed. That writing was a focus on the darkness and the pain that I knew during those times. I did need something to get me through those times, and it did help me out. But good things also happened during that time. I just don’t remember those things as much, because I was so focused on all of the negative things that clouded my mind. When I was depressed, I wrote more.
One of the best things I wrote about when I was depressed was a journal entry that went something like this:
Depression, I hate you. I’m so tired. I feel like crying all the time. I snap at my kids and I don’t want to do anything. I feel lazy and unmotivated. I can’t concentrate and my brain feels like it’s in a fog. The next time I think about going off my medications, I will remember this day when I truly feel like crap. I do not want to be like this anymore.
I don’t know what possessed me to write that, but I’m glad I did. Because every time I think to myself “depression isn’t that bad of a thing,” or “being depressed fuels my creativity,” I can refer back to that entry. However, I haven’t had to refer back to that at all in a long time. That’s because I’m no longer depressed to the point that I can’t function, like I once was. And the funny thing is, is that I am still writing. In fact, I have about 30 or so blog posts started from ideas or thoughts that I want to get out on paper.
My professor may have had a point.