I'm doing a lot better lately. I'm eating better, walking more, watching my sleep habits, and thinking more positive thoughts. Thoughts that feel as foreign to me as an immersion language. In the same way that I trust that chien-chaud does in fact mean hot-dog, I trust that thinking I have value and purpose on this earth is not a lie a generation obsessed with self-help gurus has force fed me.
Having creative outlets is a vital part of my well-being. I'm writing more (and hopefully better) poetry, and even started working on my first novel. I've finished the prologue and chapter one, officially the most I've ever written towards a single novel idea. It's a small victory, a victory composed of roughly 5,000 words, but I'm going to take it. There has to be a "novel novel" joke in here somewhere...
The car still breaks down. The health insurance still lapses. The work projects always come fast and furious. These things don't change, not for me or anyone. They are the daily challenges you have to learn to face with poise. I can't break down every time the car does, once or twice might be ok, but eventually you have to learn to fix whatever part of yourself is most prone to fall apart.
Depression is a curious beast because it can start to blend together the days when you seriously are depressed and just the normal "bad days" that absolutely everyone has to deal with in life. Knowing that distinction is one of the most simple yet profound things I've had to learn. That an unexpected bill is not, in fact, the end of my financial security. Or that a fight with my spouse (don't worry ladies, it was my fault and I owned up to it) doesn't at all signify an erosion of the relationship. After a year of battling my way through therapy and the cloud of my own self loathing and doubt I am finally able to say that I can feel hope and that I have some perspective.
For me the best part about doing better is that for the first time I haven't lost my creative spark when I've started to feel less weighted. New subject matters and ideas are coming to me that feel like a nice change of pace from the normal drudgery. And there is a humor to my book so far that I didn't expect to find. It's cutting, as my humor usually is, but it's lightweight and snappy. It makes me smile to read. Smiling more is a good thing, and something I think is worth fighting for.
You can follow my Instagram at @andrewcoonswriting for more regular poetry posts.