I’m baaaack! I’ve been a bit lost, mentally and emotionally. When I began this journey I was full of drive, ambition, inspiration, and excitement. And I knew when I began I had a long road ahead of me—that becoming a writer doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes years of hard work and dedication. I didn’t become disillusioned or upset when it was even slower than I imagined. What happened is what usually happens: I got really busy. The holidays and balancing everything became a bit much, and keeping up with social media really burnt me out. I’m not a social media person, and trying to get my blog out there and build a following was waaay too much social interaction for me. So I told myself I’d take a little break from everything. Being a teacher, I have a couple weeks off anyway over the Christmas break, and it felt right to step back and reflect.
Then suddenly I was busy again—with work, school, life. I kept putting off writing, doing what I usually do, telling myself once this or that is done I’ll be able to focus on it. Next thing I know it’s February, which is a difficult month for many reasons. Some of those are personal and too long to get into now, but for Minnesotans, by mid-February cabin fever kicks in something fierce. It was pretty much below zero for 6 weeks straight, which makes it difficult to go outside, unless you’re a die hard (I am not—I am a terrible Minnesotan who is a freeze baby). Between the weather and the other stressors, depression began to sink in.
I’ve been diagnosed with depression, back in my 20’s, and there have been times in my life it was awful. Other times it’s fine, and sometimes it’s a low-grade depression. I’ve used medication in the past, and have been to many counselors over the years. I’ve done a lot of hard work, and the work is never done. Winter is known to cause even “normal” people bouts of depression due to vitamin D deficiencies, so it’s no surprise to me when I start to feel it this time of the year. But it doesn’t help the motivation to write.
Meanwhile the guilt nags, whispering in my ear how I should be writing, and how I’m on the path to quitting for years just like I always do, and it’s a dumb dream anyway. Usually I torture myself like this until eventually the voice goes away because I’ve ignored it, and then I forget about chasing a dream of writing most of the time, and the guilt only surfaces on occasion. And I could get back on here and tell you it’s been too hard with how much is going on in my life. I could blame the cold and being depressed** (see note below). I could say it’s because I can’t seem to find a spare moment to dedicate to my dream when I’m too busy preparing my senior for his future, preparing 3 year olds for theirs, trying to homeschool my youngest, and manage a household and maintain relationships. But if I am honest with myself the truth is simple: I haven’t made it a priority. I’ve forgotten to fight for my writing time as though it is my life.
But I told myself at the beginning of this journey I wouldn’t quit. I was done letting time slip away until no more time is left. I promised myself this time would be different. And while I’m not exactly sure what my purpose is yet with this blog, or how to help others find balance when I struggle myself, and over two months is a long time to not post—my only other option is giving up.
So spring will come, and with it life will feel light and free again. And because it’s what I so desperately need, I’ve been doing tasks to lift my spirits out of the doldrums. I’m not really much of a gardener, but I bought some vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, dreaming of the warmer days when the landscape has color again. I went online and scouted out which State Parks will be fun to visit this summer. I took a personal day from work, and promised myself I’d get back to writing—no matter how long I spent or what I accomplished, all that matters is doing it. It must be done to move forward. So here I am.
If you feel like sharing how you manage the blues, please drop a comment below—I’d love to hear from you!
**Side note: I don’t want anyone to think I take mental illness lightly, or as something one can snap out of. Being extremely depressed is serious, and when in such a state I understand it is impossible to shower or eat, let alone write. And if you are dealing with this, please seek help. I am not saying I could just brush off my depression, pull up my bootstraps and write. I’ve had years of experience and training to deal with my own emotions, and am currently in a state of low-grade depression, which is manageable for me. I’ve had great counselors and family support over the years, for which I am ever grateful. ❤️