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Thursday, October 21, 2010
7:50 PM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
I’m gonna be upfront right away with this. I suffer from chronic depression. Now, it’s not a massive tragedy. It’s just part of my chemistry and how the course of my life sails. Please, no sympathy!
I was discussing this bit of information with two different friends a few months ago. Each of them had a very different reaction.
One implored me to fight this thing! To take whatever medication was out there to bring me out of bad days. She don’t believe in having bad days. Putting up with bad days or tolerating the bleak times. She’s a common sense woman, and time is not to be wasted on the lack of focus and drive a bad day brings.
Bad days. They happen.
Days when I seldom write. Days I can’t even imagine going anywhere with stories, characters. But I do find I can get things done. Good days to do research into blogs, play with images, or organize some around the house. Not a whole lot, when I’m in the midst of a bad day, little gets done. Maybe laundry. Or dishes.
But, these are just days. And I know enough about my own malady to see them as simply days. When I do write on bad days, I work on hard subjects. A character’s fear of intimacy. Like Ivy and her hopelessness at the loss of her daughter, her anger at the survival of her rapist… Or a husband’s betrayal for another character and how it drives her lack of trust. So many characters to torture!
On good days, I read sections I wrote and I can sense where I was that day. I make good use of my blue days.
Hey, I play to my strengths, whatever they are from day to day.
So, I love this friend who pleads with me to leave the bad days behind, but I know they are productive days. Just not always pleasantly productive. She worries about me and it’s difficult. Because days like this can also make me chatty about my woes. So, naturally, she wants to comfort me.
But I can use that also.
Good times to write of angry characters, ugly characters. I tend to vent a great deal on these days. I imagine nasty things happening to people I don’t like dealing with. I create wonderfully dire happenings, play with black humor and nasty ends.
I use my black days. I just work very hard at keeping them to simply days, and limit them. I find if I really dwell on the dark stuff, I eventually get bored with it. And lighter days dawn. I work on convincing my friend that these aren’t necessarily bad days, just dark days.
(Wait, I called them bad days earlier. Well, I could go back and replace, but use the word that works for you.)
My therapist is much more pragmatic. Her take on depression involves taking advantage of these days to nurture the soul. To acknowledge the special needs of that day. A good day to take it slow, to allow myself the luxury of some self-pity, some tears and being self-centered.
She counsels me to pay close attention to myself on these days. Therapists, gotta love ‘em!
My other friend sees it in similar ways as my therapist. We all have bad days and you just sail with them. The trick is to not let them use you as a club to beat at innocent bystanders. Or, let’s face, even the guilty. (Oh, how I’d love to let lose on some people in my life and totally ream them…but it wouldn’t do any good. Wouldn’t really make me feel any better in the long run and would just make more problems when it comes to mending bridges.)
So, blue days are about keeping the mouth shut, save for on paper. Fiction paper! Because blue days don’t last and trying to reach across a chasm you caused when feeling blue can just toss one back in the chasm all over again. (Great way to create conflict for a fictional character though…Hmmmm!)
It’s a real balancing act. Or not so much an act as a lifestyle. Staying aware of how mood affects the day to day stuff, including how characters develop and how they react. On a good day, a pivotal conversation might result in thoughtful decision making and studied actions. (Or something wonderfully clever and witty. From the best days, let’s face it.)
On a bad day, this same conversation may result in a blazing bitter argument and a mad dash straight into the lion’s mouth.
I’ve said it many times, writing is therapy. The trick is in using it to write good stuff. A bit like running with your strengths.
What do you find? Bad days see you slice and dice more than usual? Or does your heroine sob in a corner? Are you aware of how your overall chemical mood affects your writing? Or do you rise above it, ignore the clamor of anger, blues, upset? I mean, let’s be honest, we all deal with ups and downs as we write… What’s your story?
Labels: Loader's Logic (2nd Chance)