I write. It’s something I do. I am not arrogant enough to call myself a writer – I respect the work of far too many wordsmiths of fact and fiction to count myself among their number. But I enjoy writing. I write publicly, privately, academically, activistly (not a word, but I’m not a writer, see?). I write letters, journals, dissertations, this blog. Even though I update here infrequently, I write bits and pieces all the time. Or rather, I should say wrote. Because I haven’t really written in a long time. And I’m writing tonight not because I have something to say, but because I think I need to be writing again.
See, writing is good for me. I know I said I enjoy doing it – but it also helps me. I have anxiety, sometimes depression too. My brain sometimes feels like it won’t stop. I have thoughts looping around, usually when I need to sleep or concentrate. Like an earworm but for your entire brain. And writing helps me. Articulating what’s going on right now (write now lol) helps me process it – I get the fears and emotions and anxiety out, down onto a page or a screen. And then I can step back, and look at them – although I rarely reread anything I write – and they’re either not so panic inducing, which is great, or I have the mental space and distance to process them and work out what to do. Writing is sort of my brains equivalent of running – except, as I say, I like writing. But, just like with running, it takes a bit of effort to get going. Sure, you can run for a bus in whatever you’re wearing – but you’re not going to go for a jog in jeans. You need to be a bit set up for it. And if it’s pissing rain, you’re much less likely to get out of the door. And I think everything that’s going on in the world (please don’t ask me to list things I cannot) is producing the mental equivalent of pissing rain in my brain, because I am really struggling to write anything.
I am, ever so slightly, exaggerating. I’ve written the majority of my master’s thesis in the last six months – to say that this isn’t writing is doing myself a disservice, I know. But it has been such WORK. It feels like the mental equivalent of running up two flights of stairs only to discover you’ve got 100 more to go. I normally *live* for this kind of writing (yes, I’m a nerd, bite me). I write for fun as well as for my mental health – unlike running. But now? I struggle to write emails. I stare blankly at half written sentences. I’m just about managing a shopping list.
The point? The denoument? The pithy sentence I’ll end on, making you wish I’d written more? Dear reader, I don’t have one. I’m sorry. Like so many others, I’m just about holding on right now. I only started to write tonight because I’ve agree to write something else, and frankly if I started that now I’d just weep until I drowned my laptop. So consider this my airing of my mental runners after a long winter. I may not write much here, but I hope I find the strength to keep writing, here and anywhere else that will let me. For my own sake. And for you, I hope you find whatever keeps your anxiety as controllable as it can be. Stay safe, stay sane.