During my first semester of college, I was required to take a writing class (as was every other incoming freshman). No sweat, I thought to myself. After all, I love to write and had been told that I was pretty good at it. Then our final assignment provided the ultimate twist. We had to analyze our own writing and write up a report. I’m not ashamed to admit that this is when I ended up with my very first ulcer. Although I’ve always been an avid reader and writer, literary analysis has never been something that I particularly enjoyed, and especially back then, was something I didn’t think I was really good at. In the end, it was a great project and really taught me a lot about myself, even if I did make myself sick over it.
Last night, after I finished writing my previous post, I looked briefly at my full list of posts and had the sort of sudden insight that would have made my writing professor proud. Completely unintentionally, I analyzed my own writing. And once I understood what I was seeing, I became very grateful that I made that appointment to begin therapy tomorrow.
I realized last night that my posts are very reminiscent of my two sessions with my psychiatrist. One of her biggest concerns has been that I don’t present like a typical depressed person. I can be talkative, I laugh, I make jokes (especially about myself and my situation). I explain about entering a semi-vegetative state once I get home and not being able to move. But I talk about it in a very matter-of-fact way, almost as if I was talking about a totally different person. I can discuss my thoughts, and even my feelings, but have a way of doing it where I’m still not really being open about anything. I can verbally express feelings of despair and/or vulnerability, but cannot actually demonstrate these emotions at all. And this is what I saw in my writing last night.
I began writing this blog for two different (but very intertwined) reasons. The first reason was to give myself an outlet as I work through my current depressive episode and try to understand the bipolar II diagnosis my psychiatrist has been considering. I feel like I’ve been holding so much in for so long that it’s started to affect me physically and mentally, even if it’s not readily apparent to other people. The second reason is because my regular writing has stagnated. The book bearing the same name as my blog has always been more difficult to write than I ever imagined, and I found that I did my best work when I was in one of those somewhat emotional states. The problem is that apparently as much as I’ve shut down what I show to others, I’ve also shut down my own ability to channel those feelings into my writing.
I sincerely hope that as time goes on I’m able to let down my walls more and really let my feelings come out through my writing.