“I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’ve been through.” -Shirley Caesar
I have experienced bipolar disorder with a hodgepodge of symptoms and in varying degrees of severity since I was 17 years old. During my depressive phases, I slipped into profound emotional angst where it seemed I felt, at the core of my soul, every emotion possible for a human being to feel.
Even a small, seemingly benign, occurrence would bring me to tears. I frequently tell of the time I went to buy my kitten’s prescription food, and the store had raised the price by $5. I, literally, stood in the aisle with tears streaming down my cheeks thinking, “what the hell is wrong with me?”
My depressions are dark, negative, and sometimes riddled with psychotic thinking. For every happy and positive thought I’ve ever had, there have been, equally as many, morose, somber, death-filled thoughts to take their place.
My take on depression is that it is an emotional, heart-wrenching disease that steals one’s dignity and lust for life. It has threatened to take away my will to live and has, at times, made the world look as bleak as a gray, winter sky. It has also been a mind-and-body numbing experience. Unable to feel any emotions, or sometimes, greatly restricted with regards to my affect, it has taken its toll on my sanity. But no matter how restricted I am, depression has always had, on the surface, waiting to break free, a plethora of feelings and emotions I’ve needed to address through introspection with the help of my therapist.
Over the years, I have learned many coping skills–some beneficial, some not. My greatest ally, however, has been my writing. It’s a catharsis for me that I can utilize anytime, anywhere there is paper and pen. When writing an engaging story, article, or essay, I have to be in touch with my feelings,
no matter how disturbing or exhilarating they may be. Being aware of strong emotions allows me to share all my passion about the topic and draw the reader into the piece. For me, writing is not only an excellent prescription for processing issues associated with depression, but it turns those depressive thoughts and feelings into expressive works of art.
When I can channel my negative emotions into a story that another person finds interesting or informative, it becomes a positive outlet for me, a way to transform my depression into something that benefits others as well as myself. And, for me, that is the power of writing.