I have had clinical depression all my life. However during a particularly challenging bought I was battling over the last few days I do what writers will tend to do. I researched it. And what I found is that I am far from alone in this deal.
What is it about writers and depression? Hemingway, Platte, Poe are a few of many who had it some lost the battle. Is creativity and madness a thin line? Is it the dark-side of creativity. The spiritual bargain made somewhere that the sensitivity given with being a keen observer, one able to capture the essence of humanity and capture it in some art form comes with it this dangerous poison of depression and anxiety? Is there a connection?
Either way I hardly know an artist that would give up the feeling of creating art. It is what I live for. That feeling of intense emotion that I place into my writing. It scares a lot of people off. Many claim either to me or in other ways they "can't handle it". I am deep and intense and too much to take by many. I used to feel bad about that though as I approach my fortieth birthday in a few months and I feel the shortness of life I don't feel the need to apologize for myself or hide who I am to accommodate the comfort of others in my presence. For people to be uncomfortable with me is a fair statement to make. That is why many artists and writers live alone. The muse of creativity is very jealous and wants no distractions from the artist's attention.
However, some of us choose to take on the challenge of balancing family and other aspects of life with art and depression. It's a huge task to undertake, but it is possible.
Some days depression wins and nothing gets done, yet many days I win. Every day I don't quit I win. And I notice today I have already surpassed what I didn't do in a week.
Being there for the next day is a victory that is so beautiful. Like those who survive a hurricane or tornado I would imagine, having that awesome appreciation of life the day after. Being able to play with my kids and to be there to love my family and try once more to see what I can do with my writing. I am glad I am here to try again and that which doesn't kill you makes awesome material to write about! :o)
Emotions are a writers "paint" the more rich the experiences the dark places of despair and heartbreak and the highs of love and bliss the more vibrant the colors to create with. That is our palette. It is not authentic unless it is experienced first hand it comes across as cheap and untrue. I think that's why those who are able to write and move people with words off the page. Are often ones who have experienced this broad palette of emotion and the vehicle with which that strong current of emotion moves often is depression. Like dealing with fire or electricity it can do amazing feats and make miracles happen...or it can kill you.
I have been doing a lot of shameless self promotion for a competitive scholarship I am trying to win. Normally I would be intimidated by something like this. Not the case this time it is fun. I am really touched by the support of my people. My friends and family the community that supports me. I'm lucky. However there is a lesson in it.
Don't wait for permission, be great anyway!
The lesson is don't wait for someone to validate you. Don't wait for permission to be great. First, of all those who are on top want to stay there and rightfully so. What, are you planning on buying there kids dinner or new clothes when you take the top spot? No of course not, however the people on top are going to want that sweet position and that is natural if you want it to have to work for it and earn it. That way people even if they don't like it respect you for it. Cause damit you earned it. So what can anyone say?
So many writers, so many people are waiting like little bulbs in the soil for someone to make it rain for them so they can be "a chosen one" but it doesn't work like that. You need one of two things to start your success. You need capital money to back you up so you can essentially purchase some love from folks or you need folks. Folks who care what you are up to. That is what gives power to a person Love or Money honey.
For Love or Money
Power given by Love or money translates to business, politics, fame, writing. You name it, the power is given. By the people it's on loan, never permanent. Don't ever take that lightly. No one can give you the people's power. Sure it can be transfered in a way by endorsements yet it's on loan. To have access to it, you earn it, you got it or you don't.
Garbage out, garbage in
Some people attempt to use fear to try to embezzle power from people but that never lasts long. Love that is earned is where its at. So how do you get this Love? You give it. You give it out whether it be by helping folks in your family, your neighborhood, your community or an even larger scale. You say" Sophia what the heck does this have to do with writing? I am a writer. Not a politician or anything else!" Yeah I know. But first you have to know what people care about.
If you put nothing out, nothing will return. If you put garbage out, garbage will return. If you put kindness, generosity and love out into the world. Kindness, generosity and love has a way of finding its way back with dividends.
People have to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.
That lesson above is one of the most important ones I have learned. You need people to care about you. There are plenty of people that talk at us, very few that communicate with us and that makes a big difference. Care about people, be a benefit to them, not a dictator of your will and things tend to work in your favor a lot more. In addition people of right action win respect. Take action about issues you care about. To put it simply getting out there and doing something helps you to have an impact on the world. It is good to know what someone has done before feeling compelled to listen to them. Talk is cheap, actions are not. Some say it makes the world a better place but that is up for debate what it does is make the world more palatable to you. And when we speak honestly that's all we really want right?
Next level stuff
So in this vein my latest project is to go to this blogging convention in June. Man I really want to win this! I don't usually want things but I want this. I really want to go. This is an opportunity for me to hone my craft doing something that is very authentic to who I am and what it feels my mission on this planet is. Seriously. So I have been asking people to vote for me. Luckily I don't have to ask people for money that's still a stumbling block for me but I can ask them to click for me and click they have and I have to tell you its been pretty awesome!
I'd like to thank...
So thanks to those of you who believe in me. I see the path and I am ready to step onto it. I am ready to manifest the best me that I can. Let's do this! I hope you believe in you enough to express the best version of yourself that you can too. If you need permssion here it is "I hereby give you <insert name here> absolute and total control of your destiny. You now have permission to be happy, successful, to manifest your best work and to be rightfully rewarded. By giving the best of yourself to humanity may you get the best reward for that gift." Ok you have permission go forth and rock the world :o)
** Side note**
Please help me win a scholarship to #NN11! Click to vote: http://bit.ly/emS60V
Sophia Tesch is a graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Sophia is a community advocate. She lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her husband and children.