I has it. I’ve been called on it more than once in my internet life, but it’s too late to stop now, methinks. So if you’re not interested in learning way too much about the mental state of your favorite redneck urban fantasy author, you should click over to something else.
Still here? Sick voyeurs, aren’t you?
Well, here’s the reason my word count has sucked for the last six weeks – I’ve been depressed.
Simple as that.
Nope, no good reason, no inciting incident, nothing has gone off the rails terribly, in fact a lot of things have gone right for me lately.
It doesn’t matter.
You see, for those of you who haven’t dealt with it, depression isn’t sadness. Sadness typically has a reason behind it. “My cat died – I’m sad.” “I lost my job – I’m worried and sad.” “A schoolbus ran over my foot – I’m cursing in pain and I’m sad because now there’s blood all over my new shoes.”
Depression doesn’t need a reason, it invents them.
I only sold two thousand books last month, I must be worthless.
I didn’t get the lead in the play I auditioned for, I’m a terrible actor.
I only brought in an extra thousand dollars working crew for the DNC, I’m a terrible provider.
Please note that all of those statements are actually good things – but depression takes the good things in your life and spins them into crap.
Instead of thinking “I got cast in a play in only my second audition this year. The cast is great, the parts I got are awesome, and I’m having a lot of fun working with this team.” I got spun into other crap. For the record, I am in a play. The cast is great. I didn’t get the lead, but I’m the wrong age and race for the leads, and the parts I have are awesome and I’m having a blast in the show.
But depression lies. It’s a lying liar and it lies.
I know this. I’ve battled depression since high school. And I’ve always won. You know how I know I’ve won?
I’m still here.
My uncle battled depression. He lost. I miss him.
So I’ve spent the last month or so in a funk of not much activity, not much writing, not much promotion, not much of anything except going to a few rehearsals, teaching a few classes, and generally muddling through. I managed to shower most days. I managed to not fight with my wife more than once most days. I managed to do the bare minimum to keep moving forward and meet most of my responsibilities most days.
Which means that I won. Again. I started to feel myself pulling out of it a few days ago, and I can only imagine that it’s like getting pulled out of quicksand. The huge sucking weight of it wants to pull you back in, but you fight it, and you pull. I’m not back to normal yet, but I’ve had enough practice dealing with this bullshit that you’ll never know it on the street or hanging out with me in a bar.
I’ve dealt with my depression this way for most of 25 years now. I muddle through until eventually it passes. This was a medium-length episode, about six weeks. The longest one lasted for most of 2002. The worst ones were back in high school, when it felt so dead inside that I cut myself to remind me what feeling something felt like. I’m happy to say I haven’t done that in two decades.
I deal with my depression by reading. I deal with it by talking about other crap on the internet to people. I deal with it my way, but mostly by just putting one foot in front of the other.
I didn’t post this to be some kind of inspiration to others. Most folks with depression have it way worse than me. And if you’re feeling bleak, like nobody gives a shit and nothing matters, if you can’t hear the truth of the world through the lies that your mind is telling you – get help. Find somebody that makes it worth moving forward for. Find the person or thing that makes it worth putting one foot in front of the other for.
Mine’s cooking lunch right now, so I’m going to go be with her. Because I won. Again. And I’ll keep winning.
And my prize for winning this time is a trip to New York Comic Con. Come out and say hello at Booth #2167. I’ll be there all weekend!