This is a very important topic to me, and one that still touches very close to home as I still struggle with it. I apologize in advance if my train of thought jumps around a little or I seem a little disconnected. I have a lot of thoughts about this and I’m not sure how to approach all of them. So here we go!
(I’ll say now, there’s a bit of a content warning for depression under the cut. Just in case.)
I’ve been very open about the fact that I’ve struggled with depression for probably close to 12 years or so now. My weight troubles stem from that, my self-esteem issues, a lot of everything I fight with boils back to the depression and anxiety. It’s only been for a little less than two years now that I’ve been on any kind of medication for it. At first I could handle it, I could work through it.
Then there was a significant breaking point in my life, and I wasn’t able to do it on my own anymore. (And was told outright by the person in the break with me that I needed to get help. I’m not proud of why I listened to them, but in the long run I’m glad I did.) It’s still a bit of a fight, and the meds don’t always work as well as I want them to, but it’s better than it has been.
It doesn’t stop my initial concerns about medication, however. For the longest time, the reason I didn’t want to go on medication was because I thought it would steal my writing from me. I’ve often used writing (and still do) as an outlet for my emotions–because writing makes me happy. The characters’ struggles were partly my own. I drew my inspiration from my own pain. What would happen if I were to take that pain away? Would I struggle to write, now that I was more cheerful all the time? Would the “voices in my head” that my characters have been for as long as I can remember fade once I was on psychological medication? How was I going to channel a feeling I didn’t have as prevalent anymore? I was terrified. My writing was all I had. I couldn’t risk losing it.
On the medication now, I see that for the most part, my fears were unfounded. My characters are just as loud and obnoxious in my brain as they always were, and I’ve actually found that I write more on my up days than I did on my down years. Now it’s on the days I fight with the depression that I don’t write much. (This likely explains my more recent slump with writing, hah.)
So would I love to go back and tell past me to just get on the meds already? No, not really. I’ve never been one to want to change the past, even if it meant saving me significant levels of heartbreak and pain. Sure, there are several things I wish I could forget, or that hadn’t happened, but those things–those people–made me who I am now. I’d rather not take the risk of finding out who I am or what I would have become without those in my past. I basically like who I am too much for that. (And that’s saying something, given how little I really like who I am now!)
It’s moments like those, however, that really hammer home how transient all of this is. I’ve chosen a life path with no solid base, no entry level job, no guarantee–and I did it because I love it, even when the words abandon me. Even when I stare at my work and think I will never write another decent word in my life. Even when I want to give up on everything and call my degrees utterly fraudulent because HOW could they have POSSIBLY given me this paper I haven’t learned ANYTHING. I love to write. It is the sole thing I have loved longest in my entire life.
No amount of drugs will ever make me forget that. They can’t take my characters away from me. No one can; no one will.
Depression lies. It’s hard to remember that, but it’s true.
My name is K Orion Fray. I am a writer. I write books.