I have been depressed lately; but not clinically depressed. As far as I know I don’t have clinical depression, but I am as prone to sadness and depression as the next person.
After nearly two months of feeling out of sorts, I had a talk with a good friend of mine. That was when I figured out the trouble I was in. I told him what was going on: I’m not as happy as usual, even though I feel okay most of the time; I can’t seem to concentrate; I have little or no desire to do much of anything–even writing and eating seem to be a chore. When writing becomes a chore–and when those words came out of my mouth–I knew I was dealing with something bigger than a simple bad day, bad week, or bad couple of months.
In December, I took a short break from writing–from everything actually. I decided I wanted some time off and took a sabbatical or vacation–but I didn’t go anywhere. I am now blaming that break for my misery. Not that I need to point fingers, but writing has made me so happy since I started writing that I can’t imagine why I would want to take a break from it. Now I am finding it hard to get back into the groove.
When I was writing everyday, I would wake up with fresh ideas. Often the ideas would feed what I was working on at the time. Other times they would be something that needed jotting down for future consideration and thought. Still, I had something to look forward to every day. This experience has led me to two conclusions–seemingly unrelated. First, I need to get back to writing every day. Second, I need to quit waiting to be happy.
In my days of active addiction, I was always going to be happy when. If I was at home, I knew I would be happy when I got to the party. When I was at the party, I knew I would be happy when I got home. I was looking for something to make me happy–something outside myself.
While I know writing makes me happy, and I want to get back to doing it everyday, I will not do it to make me happy. I will work on being happy all the time–I was happy before I started writing–and I will get back to writing because I enjoy writing and not because I expect it to make me happy. Writing, like being happy, is a choice. Today I want to make both choices–separately. While this may take some time and effort, it is my plan to push through. What I practice today–whether writing or being happy–I will do better tomorrow.