So, I’m sitting here, thinking about what I want to write, and I keep coming back to the four half(ish)-written posts I have sitting in my Drafts folder. Each of those started with the best of intentions, and with ideas that worked for me at the time. But, as things went, each of them petered out, failing to gain enough traction or attention or energy from me to make it all the way to the “Post Now” button.
There is nothing new or unusual in that, by the way. For me it definitely is normal, but also for a lot of other writers, too, I suspect. Ideas and beginnings for stories and articles and posts litter our mental roadside like old cigarettes butts and empty beer cans…
Hell, if I had a dollar for every abandoned idea, I’d be a hell of a lot more (financially) comfortable with this “writer” tag I’ve hung on myself.
Those old ideas and beginnings aren’t dead, however. No, don’t ever get that impression. Nothing, to a writer, is ever really dead.* No, from time to time, you —well, I — just can’t resist the urge to wander through those old files and shop for something to pick up and work on again.
In terms of fiction, I have the basics for five or six different stories/novels sitting on the shelf, calling out for my attention like six packs from the newest craft breweries. For this blog, on the other hand, I have those four half-written posts…
Which gets me finally to the point — I decided to pick up one of those shelved ideas and crack it open for another attempt:
I’ve been open on this blog about my personal struggles with depression. This blog, however, is the only place I talk about those struggles. To the “outside world” I present the face of someone composed and settled and without defect. Even when things are at their worst…
Err, that ain’t quite right.
Especially when things are at their worst, I come across as pretty damned normal, if a little quiet.
Yeah, I can act. I’m actually a hell of an actor. How else do you think I succeeded as a friendly, smiling sales monkey for all those years? Anyway, I wanted to make a few quick points for those who have no real understanding or exposure to depression.
The heart of the matter, of course, is that when that black dog is haunting your footsteps, you are not going to talk about it. Full stop. Period. End of story. Emotional struggles — especially in the midst of those struggles — are private business. They are not to be shared, nor ever talked about. And, yes, that particular issue is as much the fault of our current society as it is baked into the depression-cake.
Friends and family who are as observant as they are caring will, of course, always be very honest and earnest when they say, “If you ever need to talk, just call me…”
Look, we — those of us who struggle with this particular demon — appreciate the thought, we really do. But…
But, if we actually need to talk, calling anyone is the last thing we are ever going to do. No, when that black dog howls — when the worthlessness and isolation are at their worst — we retreat as far as we can into ourselves. Many of us retreat, also, into the unquiet arms of the bottle…and that just makes everything worse.
It’s been a couple of years since I posted this, so I am putting here again a link that those of you who have never heard the howl, but know someone who does, should read.
At any rate, I should probably explain what got me on to this train of thought in the first place…
From time to time I’ve mentioned on this blog certain video games that have had an emotional impact on me. These games have, more importantly, had something significant to say about the world itself.
The most powerful and effective of these, to me, were This War of Mine (made originally by two guys who lived through the siege of Sarajevo) and That Dragon Cancer (made by the parents of a dying little boy). Those two games give lie to the foolish, narrow-minded view that all video games are shallow and meaningless…
Well, I have another to add to that list. It is a game called Omori, and it is about, well…in a lot of ways it is about me. It is a game about depression, and how it changes both your view of the world and your behavior…and the fantasy worlds you create in your head to try and deal with it all. It is a disturbing game, one about contrast and pain. Kinda like real life.
Err…okay…that final line above was where the abandoned post originally ended, by the way. And that is exactly why I abandoned it the first time: I just didn’t have a way to draw it to a close.
I still don’t.
But I’m going to post it anyway.
Note — And, no, Mom, I’m not in the midst of a depressive episode! If I was, I would have written a blog post about freaking unicorns and rainbows…
Musical Note — I had a list of three or four songs from which I was going to pick one to accompany this post. But, then, as I finished up the writing, I found myself listening to something different entirely…and that song made a strange kind of sense. One note on this song in particular is that it played a role, several years ago, in the original conception of the characters that became Connor and Oz:
Not linked in the first post I mentioned, here is the X-Ambassadors tune: