Depression’s a Funny Little Bugger…
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
How to coax your creativity out when it wants to crawl inside a hole.
So, my “Top Humor Writer” status has gone away since I started writing about my depression.
I know nobody physically clicked a button and took it away from me, it’s an algorithm based on views or claps or reads or something. But it’s a painful little reminder that my playful side — that pot-bellied little groundhog who normally likes to bathe in the sun and run around with her friends, who examines interesting objects and stuffs them into her cute little cheeks — got spooked and went underground some time ago. I haven’t been able to coax her back up in a while.
My first reaction when I saw that the tag had gone away was to get defensive. Hey. I’m being brave and vulnerable over here! I’m talking about something really difficult and you’re going to punish me, Medium? …Algorithm? …Universe?
But the thing is they’re right. I haven’t been funny lately. I’m a long way from the girl who wrote this piece —
The Statues in Egypt Used to Have Eyeballs
This. Changes. Everything.
— which gets revived every so often on someone else’s blog and earns me another 100 followers, all of whom then go to read more of my stuff, expecting more comedic/historical romps (of which there are, indeed, several), but end up stumbling instead on a grim piece about my cyclical depression and severe hormone imbalance and the panic attack I had in front of my parents that made me feel like I was sixteen years old again in the absolute worst way.
I write about that stuff because, when I’m in the midst of it, I can’t think about anything else. Writing about it helps me to make some sense out of it and put it in a format I understand.
I need there to be a point, you know? In much the same way that a religious person might filter their suffering through the context of, How is this going to get me into “the good place” in the end?, I put my own suffering through the context of, How is this going to give me a story worth telling in the end?
But there’s more going on. I’ve been blocked for a while now, and not in the way you might be thinking.
Jacob Krueger, with his podcast, Write Your Screenplay (which is *chef’s kiss* excellent for any writers, not just screenwriters), recently released a two-part series of episodes on the topic of writer’s block. He talked about there being two kinds:
1. The kind in which you have no clue what to write or how to start writing.
2. The kind in which you are writing, but you’re not connecting with your writing. It seems flat, clichéd, boring, not quite right.