Inspired by a post originally published on September 29, 2022
Updated on August 11, 2023
I too readily tell myself (and it is a not-so-hidden fear) that I do not write well. My writing, I say, is too rigid. It does not, I tell myself, fully convey the full extent of the emotions that I experience while I write. It is robotic, dull, dead.
Does this fear inhibit my writing, limit it? Yes. Quite often, I write on topics safer to me, topics within which I can be logical and, yes, rigid.
At least, that is how it seems to me.
I know that I am more than this logical writer. I am filled with the full gamut of emotion. That was not always the case, nor was it something with which I was comfortable.
For many years I was so numb that all emotion, except perpetual misery and darkness, what I call “The Black”, was beyond me. For many more years, I denied myself all connection with my emotions. That was the “manly” thing to do.
The events of September 2014 bluntly revealed that things had to change, that I had to change. This included a desire to become a more well-rounded man.
To heal, I had to understand what had happened, why it had happened, and how I could learn from this. Learning would lead to solutions. By “heal” and “solutions” I did not think cure because I innately sensed that whatever it was, it was not something that could be cured.
What had happened? After many years of a prolonged depressive episode, I succumbed to the predations of Bipolar II Disorder and tried to take my own life.
Why had it happened? Because my life had always had flows of low mood interspersed with flows of higher mood, I did not know that I was ill. Additionally, I did not know that my obstructive sleep apnea was causing havoc with my mind and body.
What could I learn? I could listen to doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and therapists, and social supports. I could listen to my emotions, those signals between mind and body alerting me to a potential problem or reinforcing a better sense of self. These would help me to learn the cause(s) of my action and enable me to implement ways to minimize any recurrence.
This led to “solutions”. Primarily, I would no longer be as private, as closed off, as I had been. If I wanted to heal, I had to share, to be open, with those doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and therapists, and with my social supports. To share in a meaningful way, I had to listen, to research, and to combine the information that I accumulated in a helpful way. Additionally, to share in a meaningful way I had to understand myself. I had to be open to experiencing emotions but, to do this, I had to gain emotional intelligence.
I read, I watched videos, and I listened. Then, one day, I sat down and distilled all that I had learned into a collection of notes. The first note was about one hundred pages long, linking disparate ideas into a coherent whole, at least coherent in a way that meant something to me. Other, shorter, notes followed.
I spoke a great deal, sharing my story and my new-found emotions. I talked and shared about my traumas, fears, hopes, aspirations, and more. For me, articulating things, whether though talking or writing, helped me to conceptualize, which meant improved understanding.
To share with my son, I create a blog. It has evolved over time to become Righting The Ship. Through sharing in this way, he could see growth and healing. As could I. He could also see me struggle, see me be resilient, see me soar, and see me plummet.
Yet even though I write all of this, pour my heart out, to me the words on this page seem lifeless, dull, unemotional. It is that fear about my writing raising its head to stare at me, intimidate me.
Does my writing convey my emotions? Does it create an emotional response, a connection, in you? In my words are pride, pride at how far I have grown since those horribly bleak days. There is hope that I will continue to grow. There is satisfaction that I have learned to be open.
I must admit, though, that because thoughts of suicide are never far away, there is a fear of recurrence. And there is an appreciation, an acceptance, that my moods will cycle up and down.
Does my writing create a connection with you? I am not sure that it does. I am not convinced. Nonetheless, I will keep writing, keep trying to express my emotions, keep trying to connect. I will share tools, impressions, self-doubt, gratitude, and hope. I will do these things because they are important. They are important to me and, I believe, to you.
Too many are dying in silence. Too many are dying. I came so awfully close to dying myself, and to trying to die again. My hope is that my writing, sharing, can touch a life, connect and spark hope where it was once thought lost.
If I can do that for a single life, if I can learn from it, if I can connect with you, then my writing has achieved its purpose.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay