I went on antidepressants for the first time four years ago, and to be honest, I should have stayed on them. My mother was going to die soon of brain cancer, and I was struggling in an immensely toxic job. By the end of the year, I found out that I would be going to grad school in weeks, not months; a change of scenery, of career, of perspective, was sure to help me out of something that surely was situational. After all, at heart I was this friendly, cheerful, excitable person. I had always been creative and self-directed and ambitious and fun. That was integral, and it wouldn’t really change, even after a body-blow like this.
Unfortunately, the thing about depression is that your brain forgets how to climb out of it, chemically. The depression retrains your brain to operate in a massively unhelpful way, so after working myself into the ground for three years from grad school to another job in a new field, I discovered that running full-speed after stress wasn’t going to change the fact that I was terrifically sad and lonely and hopeless and angry.
It took a while to come to terms with the fact that I was actually depressed, rather than just having a hard time. It took another while for me to ask for a prescription, to accept that this was a body chemistry battle as much as a mental one. What I went through to actually find the right antidepressants (and the right doctor) is a story for another time, but I’m here now. I’m not “fixed,” but I’m a lot better, and I’m ready to stop waiting for my life to happen like it “should.” Some friends have never known me when I’m not depressed. I hope everything that changes will change for the better.
One thing about depression is that it makes the things you most want to do seem insurmountable and unimportant. No one will care, no one will help you, no one will think it’s good enough. You’re an idiot for believing what you dare to want is worthwhile. No one will tell you what they’re really thinking, that you’ll never be good enough and you’re not worth helping and you’ll never fight hard enough to be worth their time. You will always be left behind. I never thought I’d buy into it.
Stupid brains. I bought into it.
I’m a person who craves calorie-rich interaction and conversation — not just that, but external validation too. Sometimes you latch onto things to pull yourself up out of the badness (thank you to everyone who ever listened to me talk about Captain America; that was me literally trying to feel anything good in the world at all). Making stuff is my favorite way to put myself on that path to community. I love making stuff. When I was a kid, some people just stopped coming to my house because all I wanted to do was papier-mâché. I want this blog to be a place where I make things — not so you all can revive me with your praise (though let’s be real, I won’t say no to it), but so I can get back to the me I’m supposed to be, that I always wanted to be.
The 9-year-old who wrote epic poetry about Mossflower. The novelist with more than a few first drafts in her drawer. The comics artist I always lamented I wasn’t yet. The essayist who makes herself cry. The photographer who always wanted to level up. The journalist who tells true stories. The storyteller keeping up the family business.
That’s me. I want to be here again. That’s the project. Right now the schedule is pretty ambitious, and we’ll see how it all shakes out. You may have noticed a tag on the blog called “Radio Ink“; that’s a serial novel I want to make happen, possibly with a Patreon aspect to it later. I don’t know how this is going to look, in the end. But I think it’ll be fun, and I hope you enjoy yourself too.
I listen to Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac just about every morning. It’s a lovely podcast, five minutes a pop, but he ends every episode with the nicest exhortation, and I think it’s one well worth stealing. So, friends, here we go. Be well, do good work and keep in touch.