Something else has been nagging me for pretty much all of 2016. No matter how much I ignored it or tried to say it was something else, in the recesses of my overworked mind, I knew exactly what my problem was. For the first time in a long time, though, I didn’t know how to get myself out of it.
2015 was a great year. I became a published author. I successfully pitched and wrote for a publication that had been on my short list of goals. I was an editor and contributor for a magazine. Met people. Went places. Good headspace. That year will always stand out as an amazing year of favor and progress for me.
Yet, for every good year, there is a bad year, and I will fight anyone who suggests otherwise. 2016 was that year for me. The phrase “2016 was a terrible year” has been used so much, it’s practically a cliché at this point, and it’s barely the end of January 2017 at the time of this writing. But for me, that’s exactly what it was, because that amazing headspace I had found was suddenly lost to me.
I have always battled depression. At some point, I had even contemplated suicide, but my fear of commitment prevented any serious action. Go figure. However, I had – through many years of blood, sweat, tears, and whatever other gross bodily fluid you can add to get the point – gotten a sense of peace. Things got better. Occasionally, though, my mind will get triggered by some random thing, and I’ll find myself clawing away from the rabbit hole, desperately grasping at roots, grass, anything to prevent myself from tumbling down the familiar void.
My fingers slipped in 2016.
The year didn’t start off well. Within the first week, I had a death in the family. Then the death of two of my favorite people on Earth: Ziggy Stardust and Severus Snape. That January, I had said to myself, as well as to everyone on Twitter, “Can someone please watch over Prince?” If I had known Death was going to consider that a challenge, I would’ve kept my mouth shut.
My favorite artist of all time passed away on April 21st.
Then my grandfather passed away on August first.
Naturally, y’all know there were more celebrity deaths that took place before and after The Purple One, but losing my three favorite artists and my grandfather, whom I adored despite his faults, pretty much broke me. Between that and a ridiculous slew of family drama, workplace drama, financial difficulties (which seemed to come out of nowhere), and my own personal demons, the stress piled on. I stopped caring about school. Writing pretty much stopped. The creativity began to dry up. Somewhere around spring 2016, I started doubting my self worth. By the end of the year, I was doing everything I could not to succumb to those thoughts that had already begun to fester in my head.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all bad. I got to spend time with my best friend of almost two decades after years apart. My mom and stepdad came to visit me, and we had a ball together. I got to see other relatives. Granted, it was at my granddaddy’s funeral, but it still counts, right? I’m almost finished with school, and my GPA hasn’t taken too much of a nose dive; I’m still an honor student. I found love when I wasn’t looking. I reconnected with my dad after about eight years a with no word from him. I got to speak to and spend time with my siblings. See? Not all bad.
But it was still a struggle. It only takes one thought, one bad day, to get the ball rolling. Things that I kept quiet about for years somehow resurfaced, and though I’m much better at articulating my thoughts and feelings than I used to be, I still get stuck sometimes.
When I became less optimistic, I knew. When the migraines became more frequent, I knew. When I found myself getting angry at the slightest provocation, then weepy, then…blah, I knew. I knew I was facing depression again when I couldn’t get out of the constant loop of mentally berating myself while smiling in people’s faces. When I had fifty-eleven creative writing ideas but froze every time I sat in front of my computer, I knew it wasn’t a simple case of writer’s block. I just got numb. Every day, mentally motivated to work, yet not capable of getting out of my own way and just fucking doing it. Something. Anything.
This is the first time I’ve written for myself in a while. Took a few days to sit down and open my processor. Actually, I had to make my babycakes put on his grown man voice and hold me accountable to the things I said I need to do but never start. Here I am, so, yeah. Grown man voice works.
I’m determined to get out of this, one way or another. It’ll take time and a lot of effort, but I have an amazing support team and the will to push through. The creativity will come. So will peace.
If last year was the bad one, 2017 will be great.