When I crash, I crash hard. I had intended to have the first draft of The Broken finished by now (I really wanted it done by the start of October), and I had promised my colleague and friend, Jenny, first dibs on the manuscript for beta-reading. She really enjoyed 22 Scars (or so she tells me – apparently she read it twice, which is saying something for a book some people couldn’t get through once), and was delighted at the chance to read my next story before its publication.
So I find myself needing to apologize, as it isn’t going to be ready when I said. In fact, given where I’m at right now, it might not be ready by the end of the year (which sucks, but I can only do so much). Around the start of October I started a slide into an abyssal depression that I’m not even close to coming out of, and most days it’s all I can do to get up and just be. I’ve had to call out of work twice and go home early once, just because I couldn’t face the challenge of existing in the same building as other people.
I often use work as a measure of the extent of my depression, because on most days my place of work is a place of joy, of happiness and enthusiasm, where I feed off the kindness of the people around me and where I can count on the atmosphere to boost my spirit and morale. If I can’t even cope with being there, I know it’s bad.
And man, is it bad. It’s not quite suicidal, but it’s close. It’s the kind of depression where you just want to sleep all day, because being awake is just too hard. It’s the kind of depression where you wish you didn’t exist. It’s the kind where literally nothing brings you joy, and trying to do the things that normally do make it even worse, because then you feel a deep-seated guilt that you can’t enjoy things you normally would. It’s the kind that makes me want to return to self-harm, out of nothing but sheer boredom, and a desire to feel anything but woe – even pain.
With this immense despair weighing on my head, there’s absolutely no way I can think about writing. I can’t think about eating, or watching TV, or even taking a shower, and the idea of coming up with the end to my book in this state of mind is incomprehensible. Writing this post is more of an outreach than writing – looking for sympathy, I guess, or maybe just validation.
Man, I need validation.
The good news, if there is to be any, is that for the first time in my life I actually reached out for help when I realized I couldn’t even work. I called my psychiatrist, who immediately made adjustments to my medications, and made an appointment with a therapist for Tuesday, because I need help. I know I need help, and I can’t fight this on my own.
But it means that my other projects are going to be delayed as I care for myself. My mental well-being has to come first, because without it I will die. I don’t have the capability to worry about my physical health (I tried going for a walk yesterday – that was a disaster), and I certainly can’t worry about my creativity. Not now.
But the time will come – I know it will. And when it does, I have faith that The Broken will be a suitable follow-up (not sequel) to 22 Scars. I don’t know if it will be as raw and dreadful as Amy’s story is, but … well, we’ll have to wait and see.
For now – I go to try and make a dinner that I will almost certainly fail at.