Now that I’m back in the writing world, I’m really realizing just how exhausting it is. Before fibro claimed me, doing Twitter and blogging weren’t a big deal. In fact, social media was a respite from working on my novel and school work and all that. Now I’m a spoonie and anything I do takes a spoon from me (read about spoon theory here). I’m certainly not as bad as some people with fibromyalgia. Some people with fibro are exhausted just getting dressed in the morning. I’m not that bad, but I do require a nap after writing a chapter or doing a synopsis or editing a query letter or doing something that requires intense concentration. I never needed naps before. I could plow on through and keep doing things. Being depressed doesn’t help either. But guess what? I’m doing it! I’m working hard and getting done what I want to get done. And I’m satisfied with that.
Unfortunately, both my bipolar depression and fibromyalgia are very unpredictable. Sometimes I really am just too depressed to be able to sit up in bed and concentrate on trying to write even half a chapter. Sometimes I just need to nap longer than usual to calm down and shake some of the sleepiness from me. With my fibromyalgia, it’s been doing pretty well. It generally starts to level out late winter/early spring. Then the fall comes and the flares become daily, and so I’m pretty much in crippling pain a lot in the fall. But when a flare hits, I can’t do anything until the ibuprofen kicks in, and I take 6 of them, and you can’t even take more than 6 in a 24 hour period. Even then the ibuprofen only take the edge off. They don’t kill the flare.
In any case, I remember when I got home from my second hospitalization in December how I wasn’t doing anything at all–only ballet. I stopped painting, doing photography, and writing. It’s not that I didn’t have it in me, it’s that I didn’t think I could have it in me. I had no incentive to do any of it because I did not feel they would yield me immediate rewards. But ballet did. Even an hour of ballet could lift my mood for at least half the day. So when I woke up in the morning, I pretty much stayed in bed all day and napped a lot. I’d mess around on my Surface or read or play on my 3DS, but as far as productivity, you can forget it. I was only productive with ballet, preparing for my recital, and waiting for the day I could perform on stage.
The recital ended though. I sobbed for the next three nights because it was over, I felt empty again, and I was seriously conflicted about whether or not to end my life (bipolar depression can be a very dark place). I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t think I wanted to live, but I had done so much research and suicide is not as easy as the media paints it. I had to get it together. I kept thinking about the girls at my dance studio who look up to me. I kept thinking about the one girl who looks up to me the most, who had to endure several suicides in her life. Could I really do that to them? To my parents? To my fiancé?
I had to pull myself together, which is when I decided to get back to my novel. I was hesitant, but I began reading through it and suddenly realizing I could. Sure, I got tired, more tired than usual, but I did it. Then I started doing more. I got back to The Corner Club Press. With Mariah’s help, I got issue 9 out. Then I made a new website for myself. I planned a new novel. I started blogging once every day, and now twice every day. I do Twitter for 20 minutes (my therapist came up with this number so I wouldn’t stress myself out with this, frankly, annoying website) a day. I’m trying to write a chapter a day in this new novel. I’m going to get back to painting shortly. I’m still doing ballet. And this is such a massive improvement from where I even was last month!
It’s not that I couldn’t do any of it. Depression just tells you that you can’t, and you have to get to a point where you separate yourself from your depression. As I’ve said, I have to take naps. I can’t keep pushing myself like I could before. But that’s okay. My therapist and I are doing goals for me, and I am exceeding them.
It’s hard work, but it’s worthwhile work. I’ve just got to keep pushing myself to do this so I don’t let depression control me with such negative thoughts as, “You’re useless, a waste of space. Why are you even trying? It’s not going to get you anywhere. You’re not remarkable, your existence is insignificant. Not even your friends care enough to find out what is going on with you. They’re doing remarkable things without you, and you’re stuck in a rut. Let me soothe you to sleep, a deep, long, long sleep.”
It’s the little victories that keep me going in spite of it all.