My previous post ‘Disturbed‘ came out in a flurry. I spent all of the next day thinking about deleting it.
I wrote it on my phone in about twenty minutes, my mind racing whilst lying in bed, reminiscing, dumping thoughts into my WordPress app in the hope that I might sleep better — I did — but thinking maybe it was too personal or too emotional to have on this blog…
Then I hit publish, set my alarm and rolled over.
It’s not a big deal, really. And yet why am I still so anxious about it?
What does a post like that say? It’s not subject to the same standards of more theoretical posts and I think my anxiety is that it is nonetheless viewed in that same way.
Writing, as a hobby, often speaks to momentary feelings and experiences and needn’t do anything more than that.
Consider this post a fragmentary and confessional introduction to that sort of post, regarding what I haven’t been able to say to those around me in recent weeks.
I’ve been struggling with my mental health for about a month now. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to get out of bed.
At present, I still have a job but I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to actually show up for it.
On my days off, I just stay in bed.
A recent spate of unsuccessful job interviews and applications is compounding this, and Mark’s ‘Good for Nothing‘ text keeps circulating around my head along with intrusive thoughts of what ended up happening to him.
Every day is currently defined by this depression and its residual guilt — guilt over how it is affecting friendships, relationships, my job… I’m sorry to say that this blog has become caught up in those feelings too. Longer posts become difficult to deal with. The self-imposed pressure is getting to me.
What I want to do more than anything at the moment is go off-grid to see if these Gothic patchwork threads might be better off in a book and see if I can’t hammer the backbone of it out in a little coastal retreat somewhere.
I’d love to have the time for that right now rather than rushing blog posts on the bus into work.
It’s a pipe dream, at present, unfortunately.
In light of all this, I’d like there to be space for more personal musings and reflections on this blog. I am keen for this blog to be transparent; to be a record of itself and the connections it fosters, whether that’s Twitter arguments or more personal moods.
Having said that, I’m also keen to keep a former habit of excessive Twitter sadposting at bay.
I used to be quite proud of that habit, enjoying the tension of frequent shitposting alongside an active and public search for freelance work.
I think I ended up getting muted by a lot of people but it never got me in as much trouble as I thought it might. I’d even argue that it helped, making me somewhat more personable than your average, self-promoting PR machine.
I made a lot of friends on Twitter this way.
On a lot of other days, I’m sure I came across like an arse.
This feeling of pride was inconsistent, of course. I’d pivot between enjoying sticking two fingers up to a certain sense of online professionalism and cowering under the self-imposed sword of Damocles threatening my own online self-destruction.
Sadposting is evidently unhealthy, in this regard, and particularly on a named account, but is disconnecting completely any better?
I’ve always imagined all my anti-social-media friends living in some convent together, embracing disconnected drudgery.
Swapping self-destructive indifference for pious abstinence has always felt incredibly lame to me.
Online self-destruction should only ever result in the further proliferation of avatars, not technophobic monasticism.
I remember last year, when talking about ‘Good for Nothing‘, as we did frequently in various contexts, we always championed the ways that Mark advised others on how best to write about their emotional experiences whilst demonstrating it masterfully in the process.
I offer up my own experiences of mental distress not because I think there’s anything special or unique about them, but in support of the claim that many forms of depression are best understood – and best combatted – through frames that are impersonal and political rather than individual and ‘psychological’.
I’ve always struggled with this. I think most of us do.
Writing about depression in the midst of depression seems like an impossible task. How do you do it, when the feelings are their most palpable, without falling into the usual traps?
How do posts like ‘Disturbed’ or this one hope to function beyond themselves when they are little more than a written record of a particular evening’s closed loop of depressive thought?
How do you write about depression from within depression and not end up sounding like Timothy Morton? (I’m still surprised by the response to my previous post about that debacle, but that post was inspired by fury rather than depression itself.)
At the moment, feeling depressed, it’s all I end up wanting to write about but an unanswerable question continues to bother me: how to make that writing productive? How can it work to jog me along into the next phase of my mood? How can it scratch the expressive itch that lets me shelve it as a topic and get back to what I really want to use this blog for? How can it have worth beyond that for someone else reading it?
I don’t know how to answer these questions when the writing that is provoking them is borne of a wholly different motive.
I’m not writing now as a way to “work out” my thoughts, I’m writing in order to get out of them, and until I do that I am currently unable to focus on anything else.
At least I’m still writing something, I tell myself — but what?
When I started writing this post, around two weeks ago — when I actually didn’t get out of bed for four days — I didn’t know what the point of it was.
Now, as it continues to grow, as a sort of receptacle for fragments of bad mood so that I can get back to working on the important stuff, maybe it can function as a vague introduction to future posts like this; to future attempts at making the mind-numbingly personal more tolerably impersonal.
‘Disturbed’ came out of nowhere and it freaked me out because it wasn’t trying to be intellectual or creative by any measure. It was a way to scratch an entirely different itch, one tied up explicitly with an unreasonable anxiety.
That post is not a good example of making the personal impersonal. It is a depressive example of the opposite.
In acknowledging that, I hope I can reverse that going forwards.