Writing is my therapy and my passion.
I write to survive. At times, that is literally true. If it wasn’t for my writing, I truly believe that I might not be alive today.
I struggle with various mental and physical health issues.
These multiply, over the years. That’s the nature of chronic illness, unfortunately. I have always struggled with dyspraxia, depression and anxiety, and these conditions have had a huge impact upon my life.
And writing has helped me.
It has saved me. It has been the splash of colour on the dark canvas of my existence. And yes, life has often felt like mere existence. It’s not a question of being unable to appreciate the beauty the surrounds me daily. In fact, I would say that the ability to value life’s seemingly most simple gifts has been greatly enhanced.
But yet, there are moments when the darkness takes over, and I wish for nothing but release from the unendurable pain.
And, even though writing has helped me, it has also been a source of stress.
I struggle with stamina, and with concentration, and find it painfully hard to complete long-term projects, such as the novel, on which I am currently – very sporadically – working. I dislike not being able to write blog posts in one session, and run the risk of abandoning them altogether, because of this. I’m learning to return to posts, but still find it difficult psychologically.
Self-criticism is also challenging.
It’s hard not to give up, when the voices in your mind are telling you constantly how useless you are, and to delete your writing and blog, and close down all the social media accounts you’ve put so much effort into building. And, of course, there is the external discouragement, on top of this. There are those who are supportive, but not everyone is, and many are the reverse. For me, that includes most family members, and many “friends”.
So how do I keep going?
Because I ultimately want and need to. Because sometimes, I do receive positive feedback, that clearly comes from the heart. Knowing and feeling that I am actually making a positive difference – that maybe someone feels less alone, after reading one of my poems, or even just being told that a writing technique, mentioned in one of my blog posts, has been useful to someone. Encouragement like this truly can, and does, make all the difference.
And because of my characters – because they cannot exist without me and, in that way, are my children.
They are a part of me, and need me, as I do them. And that may not make sense to everyone, but to many other fiction writers, it will.
I am going to close now, but might return to this subject, in the future. Keep believing.
And, if you’re interested in mental health, from the point of view of writing fiction, addressing these issues, my post on this subject may be of interest. Also related is the post about my personal writing journey.