Didn’t think I’d be back here so soon. But I’m feeling weak (despite my last post), and this has proven to be a safe place for me to be just that—weak and also vulnerable.
I’ve come so far with OCD, and I’m still so very proud of that. I want you to be encouraged by that still. Hard work pays off. It really does. It gets better.
So OCD is fine right now, but other things aren’t. I’ve written a little about depression before. I’ve been struggling with that lately far more than with OCD. I’m in therapy again and am learning about depression. I’m learning what my triggers are, and I’m trying to learn to accept it—though this last part is proving to be difficult.
I’m learning that I can be grateful for all of the good things in my life while also feeling a deep sadness that I often can’t explain, even to myself. That I can feel happy while this sadness lingers in the background, sometimes pushing in, sometimes taking over. I’m learning that this dark cloud can be oppressive, so much more than I ever imagined. I’m learning that this is part of how my brain works—much like what I learned about OCD, that my brain functions in a specific way, that it makes certain connections other brains don’t, that it has weaknesses, that it sometimes betrays me.
I’ve always found a bit of irony in this betrayal. My mind, my intelligence, is something I value highly; it’s up near the top of the list, up there with integrity and compassion. It doesn’t top everyone’s list, I know, but it tops mine. And this part of me that I hold so dear, it’s also the part of me that causes me the most pain, the most struggle. I’ve tried for most of my life to figure out how that’s fair, how that even makes any sense; I’m not sure I’ll ever have an answer.
It’s not just depression that has a hold on me these days. There’s a lot of fear involved as well, and they’re tied up together. Fear is an enemy I know quite well, something I’ve been struggling against my whole life but only started truly fighting in the last few years.
The fears that are tangible are easier to go after: things like my contamination OCD fears and even more general phobias like needles and things that go bump in the night. There are concrete ways to go after those things, and I’ve done so successfully. But there are other fears that are harder to overcome, fears that don’t seem to diminish with the usual effort.
Lately, the fears oppressing me have been about writing. I am, primarily, a fiction writer, though also write nonfiction (obviously) and dabble in poetry. But fiction is my first love, and it’s the thing I want more than anything else, the thing I want so bad that it hurts—sometimes physically because I have a terrible body that also tends to betray me on a regular basis.
Anyway, I’m stuck in the middle of the worst case of writer’s block I’ve encountered thus far. I’m sure I’ll encounter much worse before it’s all said and done, but this is the worst so far. I haven’t really written any fiction since the fall, sometime in November, and that has become painful. And writer’s block is a real thing, make no mistake; it’s the state of being so far buried under self doubt that you can’t breathe, of being so paralyzed by fear that your mind shuts off, of feeling so utterly helpless to dig your way out.
That said, I don’t want your pity. I just want to be honest here. That’s what I’ve always tried to do here. That’s what I promised you and myself when I started this blog: honesty and openness. So this is me being honest about something that I’d really rather not talk about with anyone but those closest to me. But I feel like writing here, for this blog, because it’s safe, and right now safe writing is what I can handle—and I’ll take whatever writing I can get.
So this fear. It’s a problem. And I don’t know how to go after it this time. It’s a fear of failure, and that’s not concrete. How do you fight against a fear of failure? By succeeding? Because it takes a lot of work and struggle before you can succeed. So how do you bridge that gap between being terrified of failing and getting to the point where you succeed? I don’t know.
I’m trying to just be patient, something I’ve never been good at. I’m trying to forgive myself for not being perfect, something I’ve been working on for years but still find super hard. I’m trying. I don’t know if I’m succeeding. I don’t know if my trying will get me across the finish line. I don’t know if it’s enough.
I don’t have any answers right now. All I know is that I’m trying and that I hope with everything in me that it will be enough.