Two New Adventures

I started two new things yesterday, one writing wise and one mental health.

I started the rewrite of With Teeth. After a particularly difficult time trying to edit the original draft, I realized that not only was it written in the wrong tense, but it was missing a lot, the characterizations were off and in general it stunk. Other than a few ideas, I trashed the novel (not literally, its still on my hard drive) and started over, making a scene for line outline the past couple of months. So yesterday I started with the first scene, completed that and began the second. Today I finished the second and started the third. So far I’m up to 2400 words, which is lower than my nano output. However my goal is 1,000 words per day and I’ve made that twice now.

My prime writing time is when everyone is asleep. Yesterday I was up from about 1:00am to 2:00am and the words came with no interruptions. Today I slept through the night, getting up at 5am to write. Guess who got up with me? Evelyn. I still got the words, but she interrupts every couple of minutes and I fear that the prose will not flow as well.

As for the story itself, I already know the first scene will have to go but I’m not ready to just cut it out yet. I will wait until the revision. Perhaps it will become relevant at that time, but I doubt it. My deadline for the first draft is April 30th, 2014. This is self-imposed but completely do able. I’d rather have it done before then so I can start revisions but I have a tendency to take on too much so this is me being mindful of that and setting reasonable expectations for myself. Two skills I’ve learned through my time at the partial hospital program.

The other thing I started was DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Training. The focus is on learning skills to manage emotional states, cope with distress, interpersonal interactions and developing mindfulness, which is what the program centers on. Mindfulness is the skill of observing what is happening to your body and focus on the moment. It is a very difficult skill and I don’t understand it that well yet.

My DBT group is small but they seem pretty close knit. I won’t be talking about anything that happens in the group in this blog for privacy issues but in general I am both excited and nervous. Yesterday was difficult for me. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to run away, go see a movie, or even just sit in my car for three hours instead. However I had made promises to my family to get better and the least I can do is try. So I went, I stayed, I laughed a little and while being uncomfortable, I will be going back today.

My goals with DBT are very simple right now and that is to just get there and participate. Get to know the others and let them get to know me. That’s it for now. But I am willing and that’s the first step. So baby steps for me now in both writing and mental health.



Writing and Depression

Writing is the best therapy I have found. Not just the act of writing or creating, but having the goal of accomplishing something with my art has had the most positive effect on my clinical depression. I’m not healed, I’m still medicated and I still have lows, but being able to see past tomorrow has given me hope, something that had been lacking in my life for so long.

And yet the struggle continues on a daily basis. From day to day I have to scrounge up the motivation and courage to continue when it is so much easier to go throughout my day in a daze, like a zombie fulfilling the needs of my children yet missing out on experiencing them, on being a part of their lives rather than an automaton that makes sure they fed and clothed.

And then to find out that depression isn’t the only thing I suffer from, that I am actually bi-polar and have been misdiagnosed and mis-medicated for several years. Now clinging to my goals isn’t enough anymore, but it’s something. I keep breathing because I have a plan, a purpose, a goal for something I love.

But what happens when the inevitable low comes and I no longer have the passion? I don’t know. I don’t have answers. I am still searching myself. I chuckle because I wrote the first two paragraphs of this post months ago, before my diagnoses, before my partial hospital treatment, before real therapy. And yet I don’t delete it because in the moment it was true. Whether or not it is the best therapy still, I don’t know. But it still works when it works. It’s still a skill in my repertoire.