I haven’t been writing much lately. Lols.
I thought, the only up-side to having a severe mental health relapse and having to leave work and go back onto benefits is that I’ll have a lot of time to write! I thought: I can get up in the morning, spend a few hours working and then head to the gym. Aah the untapped potential of ideas and plans such as these! They seem to hold so strongly, until you actually wake up on the first morning and face the task of translating plans into practise.
I know this isn’t at all unusual: I know that most of us have grand plans and ideas which we just never, ever, seem to have the time to actualise. I guess I’m just tetchy because at the moment I have nothing but time; I’m not having to fit this writing in around anything, I don’t have any other pulls or drags on my energy and focus. Though I swear to God this actually makes it worse- it’s like the huge potential I have at the moment, to get into a good writing routine, just increases the intensity of the little voices which seem to nip and nag the moment I actually start to consider doing anything.
At the moment I’m sleeping, on average, about 12 hours a night. I just don’t wake up in the morning, and then when I do I struggle to rise. I will give myself this though, I need time to heal, and it’s during the night-time hours that the brain does this best. However I’ve really, really struggled to push myself into action when I’m actually up and caffinated enough to function.
I don’t find it too difficult to write these “checking in” articles, which I used to try and churn out when I wasn’t too motivated to write about anything specific, because I read that blog writing requires consistency- so it’s better to write something than nothing. But I am struggling to write anything which requires a degree of planning or editing. I started a review of a book a couple of days ago, free-wrote about 2000 words but my resolve crumbled completely when I started to considering editing it.
I said to someone the other day, I can free-write on and on and on, but if my writing it actually going to improve I need to devote more time to editing and mindfully considering what I’m churning out, instead of simply letting it come out and then leaving it in its first form.
I’m putting my self help on the back burner for the moment. I’ve become slightly disillusioned with it, for the reason that my recent relapse seems to have undermined everything I previously thought was affirmative in it. It occurred to me that everything I’ve written about being a long journey should ideally happen in about the first year after being diagnosed with a severe mental illness- but I may have been in a particularly negative mood then- I’m not sure. I just can’t go back to it at this time, it’s too ironic, too tragic, and just too difficult.
So instead I have been endlessly jumping back and forth between other different projects. I started writing, what I meant to be a short story but which quickly expanded into a 10,000 word opening, a novel about a character suffering mental illness and also her care coordinator who loses a client and is so suffering her own grief and depression whilst attempting to support the original character. This also quickly became slightly morbid. I stuck at it for a while, thinking it would be good for me to get some of that darkness out, but it soon became difficult and so I left it.
This evening has been the first that I’ve felt, for a few weeks now, a real urge to write. Which is encouraging. It’s almost been two months since I left hospital, and I’m still wavering between wanting to document what happened, with leaving it well alone and attempting to move forwards into slightly less self-obsessive territory. It’s just unfortunate that so many of the experiences beg to be disseminated, and moreover I’ve set something of a precedent with the blog, for rambling self-explorative articles. However, as rambling as they always were, I did generally have a subject which I was attempting to personally adjudicate on.
Lately I haven’t had energy consistent enough to get to the end of anything like this.
But! There is always tomorrow. I’m off on holiday on Monday which I think will lift my spirits, and I’m hoping to start some volunteering soon afterwards which might be enough to lift me out of this funk. On the positive side I’ve been reading some great books, which is the other side of writing. I’ve read repeatedly that the second best thing to do, when one is attempting to improve their writing after writing itself(!), is reading. So I feel like I’ve got through some great novels recently which is positive.
Fingers crossed for these great dreams 🙂
3 thoughts on “I will start writing, I will start writing, I will start writing….”
I was wondering if there was any difference in the quality of your voices during this ‘attack’ when compared to the last?
Hi Gemma 🙂 I have just realised I never responded to your last email. I think at the time there was so much in it, and I think I was in hospital. I didn’t know where to begin. Don’t now either really! It’s been over a year now. Thanks for messaging, its good to hear from you. Yes this time around it was completely different, though also curiously similar.. same underlying sense of something greater than me, but that was actually more pronounced this time. I’ve been struggling with processing it, if that makes sense. I never completely lost touch with the reality, occupied by others around me, this time. Whereas when I was younger I did for years. This time I could carry on a conversation with another person, but then when they left all the “symptoms” flooded back. It’s worse being on a psych ward when you haven’t lost touch with reality!! Luckily I wasn’t there too long this time.
How have you been? I’ll re-read your old email and get back to you there as well 🙂
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Thank you for responding. I am interested that whilst you had a relapse, you remark that you did not lose consciousness entirely. That in itself is a very good thing indeed, and to be truthful, was what I had hoped you might have alluded to in speaking of your voices. This does imply that you have made some kind of progress, albeit in the flood of embroilment, the situation may not have appeared so rosy. I would not lose all faith in your abilities to heal yourself or in the verity of the book you are writing; but it is a warning to all that dealing with a psychosis as deeply rooted as yours cannot be treated lightly, in the way modern medicine does. My hope is that you will find some element of perspective to your book that will make it the more powerful. After all, as you know, if someone is to heal themselves, they must accept that they must do the work – it is a sickness of our age that people want to be healed by experts and worse, the experts’ own ‘sickness’ of wanting to heal, but without engaging the participation of the sick individual.
I presume that you still use some kind of sedative – modern psychiatry’s only weapon seems to be to put their charges to sleep, rather than attempt to genuinely heal them.
My own voices have their moments of not giving me any peace; I try and try again to put down my book and leave it – but my characters bicker and argue, they discover new scenes that they demand I put to paper. I have no wish to be an author, adulated, misquoted and berated by all comers who wish to cast a stone in the coconut shy of modern publishing.