I'm talking about depression. It's something I've become familiar with since diagnosed a few weeks ago, though it looks like I've been dealing with the symptoms for years. Every morning I would wake up and have a hundred pound weight strapped to my back that seemed to get heavier throughout the day. It made me fatiqued, irritable, and full of guilt that I wasn't doing enough to support my family, my writing, and the general world around me. At one time in my life I could pull out of these episodes and return to something normal. But after a stressful summer where I didn't have time to breathe, the depression became never-ending and somewhat debilitating. I knew I was it was getting serious when the crying jags began and I didn't want to get out of bed.
Yet, my writing didn't suffer during the worst of the depression. Over the summer I was able to finish editing Paradise Not Quite Lost for the publisher, produce material for my critique group's upcoming fiction anthology, and create regular material for the magazines and websites I write for. I could even joke during the critique meetings and other writing events. I think it had to do with compartmentalization of the writing side of my life. The love I have for the gift propelled me to get things done and, at least temporarily, push through the cotton bandages covering my brain. In the end, I believe the writing helped keep the depression on the mild side. Without it, I'm not sure what would have happened.
Thanks to medicine and therapy I feel better. The hundred-pound weight I used to carry is now off my shoulders and my head is the clearest it has been for ... well, I don't know how long. I spend more time with my family instead of running away from them and can deal with crises without getting angry or feeling immense guilt. The best part is I now have more energy and initiative to accomplish tasks, though making the time to do them is another story.
I decided to reveal this personal story to you not for sympathy but as a subtle warning. Don't let the pressures of life get to you like they did to me. Take a breath, decompress, walk away from stress if you can. If you start feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you can't clear the cobwebs in your head, take care of it in any way you can before its too late.
For more information on the signs of depression click on this link from WebMD.