How To Get Out of Conversations With Cowokers

Short answer: Be a writer.

Longer answer: One of my coworkers asked me what I was doing this weekend. I told her the absolute truth. I told her that I was working on my novel again and then I went into fairly grim detail of how in my novel the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. I went on to explain how the fire caused the fictitious Chicago Steam Works to catch fire and explode along with the Central Chicago Gasworks to also meet the same fate, further expanding the destruction.  how the entire area of the manmade island between the North Branch Canal and the North Branch of the Chicago River were also consumed in my version of the fire. How because of these, more people were lost in the disaster and how I could really do justice to both what happened historically and what happened in my version of the Great Chicago Fire. How the fire jumped the north branch and continued!

Well, apparently, the fictitious imaginings of a novel writer, when explained with increasing excitement about a tragic event of huge proportions made worse by said imagination, produce horror in those that ask the simple question: What are you doing this weekend? The response I received was well, shocked at best, to be honest. My coworker, who’s eyes had grown quite wide, slowly backed away and never let her eyes leave mine. Although, I’m sure that my excitement over the imaginary happenings might not have helped.

I have come to the conclusion that the only people that would understand me, in this case, are fellow writers. What’s more and the added bonus is if I want to make my hasty escape from an unwanted conversation with anyone whom I really don’t want to be chatting with at that moment, is, to be honest about what in on my mind regarding my writing.

Why? Because only writers understand other writers because we are our own special breed of crazy.

 

Why I Write

I have been back to writing after taking a break after National Novel Writing Month. I’ve gotten out just a few more thousand words, but I’m going to be picking up that pace. Now the goal is to have the first draft done be the end of the year.

After that, some time off, no more than a week, and then the process of the first rewrite.

Why do I write, though? Why do I feel that I really need to sit at a computer and pound out thousands of words that it’s quite possible no one will read?

To be honest, there are times when I’m not sure.

But when I become quiet and introspective, like I am now, today, I think that I write as a means of coping with my depression. And, yes, I am working through a bout of depression.

Photo of Depression

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

I believe the greater part of why I write is it often feels that it is the one thing in my life that I have complete control over. And it’s just that easy. And complex. I work in a factory where I am trying to get promoted off the production floor, I have a family with three cat’s included, and for the most part, it all goes pretty well.

I just feel that there should be something thatI have complete control over. Is that wrong, maybe even egotistical?

During times when I have the companionship of depression, the feeling of needing to be in control takes on an added depth. Like I am missing something by not being in charge or I would feel better if there was something that I could control. This goes beyond the control inherent to the creation of characters, places, and events. I mean I am in control of the process. I decide when and how much I write, when I rewrite and edit, what mood I want to evoke and with what words, who sees my work and when.

Underwood typewriter

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

Yes, I understand when I turn my work over to beta readers and editors, that they have criticism and suggestions. There again I have the right of refusal. I don’t have to listen. Although it would be in my best interest to do so if I would ever want to become a published writer.

That is so much unlike how I perceive other aspects of my life. I have to do what I am told to at work. It is a very good idea to do my best to get along with my family and happily be engaged with family obligations. Things I have to do to be a good person.

So I am now off to write some more today. Here’s to a better tomorrow.

 

 

Just Don’t Fucking Say It: My Problem With “Just snap out of it.”

People who don’t suffer depression see the world through much different and much clearer lenses then those of us who do. It seems to me that these people have the idea that depressions is just feeling sad, like they do when they wake up in the morning and feel “off” or not themselves. They will start their day and by lunchtime they are being back to their normal happy selves.

Somehow many people expect that those of us with depression and just “turn off” depression.

Recently a friend asked what was up, so I explained that I had, just a short time before, been diagnosed with depression.

His response? Pretty much this: “What the hell is the big deal? Everyone that feels a little sad says they have depression.”

Although somewhat miffed, I tried to explain that depression is a lot more and much different than feeling a little blue or sad. And that in my case I often don’t feel anything at all, emotionally numb, if you will. That I have lost enjoyment in thing I used to really enjoy such as; my photography, running (although for me it’s more honestly power walking) and yes, even sex.

“It sounds more like you’re just being lazy. Just snap out of it.”

It was at this point that I really started to lose my temper and thought it was in the best interest of both of us that I leave his place.

Clinical Depression is not something a person shrugs off during the day, it’s not just feeling a little down,  for me it’s more like this:

Imagine waking up, going downstairs for your morning coffee before work, sitting down with your mug, a cat snuggles into your lap, and you watch the morning sky turn from dark to bright red. you know that this is what should be a really pleasant time but you feel: Nothing

 

Now imagine being a photographer. You’ve won a couple of small awards for photographs and you have had some of your work in exhibitions in college. You also know that even though you SHOULD be really enjoying taking photographs, your camera bag is right there and ready to go, it doesn’t hold any interest for you anymore.

That is part of what depression feels like for me. Besides the inability to sleep through a whole night many times and the feeling of general listlessness.

It feels like I have been somehow set apart from people, things and activities that I enjoyed and that enjoyment of them is at this time, out of reach.

“Just snap out of it.” Like in some way I want to feel like this or it is a simple matter of deciding to be happy.

If this sounds like I am being overly sensitive, remember that the person that said it was a guy that I had grown up with, by best friend, and for some reason thought may be supportive.

Ignorance and support, I now know, are mutually exclusive.

So please, if someone tries to explain what depression is and how they feel; don’t ever fucking say:

“Just snap out of it.”

 

Self Fulfilling…

A week ago I was diagnosed with depression. Over the weekend and into the week I felt down, sluggish, of-of-sorts and wanting to be alone.

Yesterday, I woke up before my alarm went off. As I lay in bed just thinking (and it is one of my favorite pastimes), I came upon an important insight and it is this:

Yes I have depression; yes, I will have bad days, but n the morning when I wake up, I make the decision how I approach the day. I decide that I will do my best to make it a great day, or not.

So a crappy day at work, I decide how I react. Pulled off my machine… twice, told to relieve other operators for lunch and a planning meeting for the continuous improvement team that I am on.

But wait, through this all I have a chance to be seen by the top brass in the company for efforts to improve efficiency where I work… Maybe  it’s not all that bad.

If fact, maybe it’s HOW I approach issues that arise, THROUGH the understanding of depression that I will transcend what happens.

It’s just a thought.

Peace all.

Redefining “Me”

Last Friday I was diagnosed with depression.

I’m Not sure what that means. At least for me.

In the most analytical sense I guess I knew it for some time. I’ve been sleeping poorly, I had been drinking more (although I got that reversed), I’ve lost interest in things that I once really enjoyed (although not in writing for some reason, thankfully) and I’ve had a general feeling of lethargy.

But what I’ve been turning over in my own mind is what that means to me emotionally. The diagnosis doesn’t change anything, really.  All diagnosis did was put a label to what has been bothering me, right? It doesn’t change what I love to do or who I love. It just gives me a starting point.

A starting point to find who I am and where I’m going. One thing’s for sure; writing will be a big part of it.

Anyway, I also wanted to take the time to thank all of you that follow this. It’s nice to know someone is listening. Thanks again.

Peace to you all.