So, the depression has moved in heavier than the rain clouds that are covering the area. I knew it would, I just didn’t know it would be this severe. All part of processing all that has gone on over the last few months and the ending results. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, especially since the depression is peppered with bouts of self-loathing. Ugh.
I hate feeling this way – I feel so stuck in it. The depression is so intense that it brings up every last thing I have ever done in my life that I either have shame over or regrets. Many of these things are things I have looked closely at before and made whatever peace I can make with them – these things are in the past and nothing I have the ability to do anything about to change them in today. They are what they are, things to learn from, reminders to help keep me from making the same mistakes, again, because I already know how it would turn out. Being this depressed brings them back under the microscope to re-examine every last, screwed up detail – about as much fun as a snow face wash.
I’ve been running through a number of the audiobooks I’ve already listened to, hoping to find that kernel, or row of kernels, that helps me to start to undo the grip the depression has on me, at the moment. A lot of the audiobooks I have started to listen to, again, have revealed that they are not what it is I am needing to hear, they have no kernels for me, right now. So, I move on to the next.
One book that has helped some is Anne Lamott’s ‘Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.’ It really is a great book, or at least I think so. Anne Lamott says things in such a way that I can hear them, almost as if she has looked into the deepest, darkest recesses in my mind and recognized what she saw there, without judgement. I think that is the effect that she has on most of those who read her books.
“Bird by Bird” is, of course, about writing and, as the title says, about life. Anne makes the two seem completely intertwined with each other, and I guess she isn’t really wrong about that. Life effects how and what one writes, and writing is almost surely always about life in one form or another – or, at least, brought on by life. I happen to find the book therapeutic. Ok. I have found each of her books that I have read/listened to therapeutic in one way or another. “Bird by Bird” just happens to be some medicine I am needing right now.
There is one point in the book when Anne is talking about writing and finding your own voice. She says something along the lines of needing to write like your parents are dead, that anyone that would critique or discourage what it is you want to write is dead. Your writing has to be you and not anyone in your life that may have unintentionally, or intentionally, put roadblocks in the way of saying what’s on your mind. If you write something and you hear a voice in your head saying “oh! Your shouldn’t/can’t say that,” it is probably one of those people and they need to go. You need to put them away someplace where they can’t be heard so that they are no longer capable of editing you. Those aren’t her exact words, but they basic jist of them, as I ‘heard’ it.
I have come to realize that not all of those voices belong to other people. Sometimes, the voice that I am hearing is my own, and the criticisms and/or admonishments come from the experiences of failure or mistakes, and the desire to not repeat them, the fear of repeating them. I hate that. I really don’t want to self edit. I don’t think it is being true to myself because, most of the time – ok, a lot of the time – I’m not saying what it is that I truly want to say or am having to figure out how to say what it is I want to say in the most widely acceptable way. I think so much usually gets lost in the translation.
But, can I really just write down what it is that comes into my head as it does, without editing it? Or are the internal editors just so good that they edit on autopilot? Well, unless you add intense emotions and a little adrenaline to the mix and then I think my mouth disconnects from my brain because there a times like that when what comes out of my mouth leaves me wide-eyed with surprise, waiting for the repercussions, wondering where the heck that came from.
At any rate, let’s just say that Anne Lamott has, once again, given me something to think about, something I may want to improve on in myself. She is good at that. At least, I think so, so much so that, since my Audible membership just renewed yesterday, I downloaded another Anne Lamott book, “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace.” I’m going to have to listen to that one, again, before I can really comment on it, other than to say “I think there’s gold in them there hills.”