I’ve Been Taken Hostage by Depression

It’s not writer’s block. I have plenty of ideas as well as deep rooted denial issues, not to mention the 177 unfinished drafts I could be working on. What I’m experiencing is more of a feeling. A bottomless throbbing despair and physical pain, and it’s impending. It’s robbing me of my focus.

I sit down at my laptop but my fingers will not type. They’re bent in the claw position ready to go but they’re not budging, threatening future me with arthritis.

I’ve been taken hostage by depression. I’m okay, though. I am. Must. Push. Through. It.

My therapist recommended keeping this thing called a Bullet Journal for times such as this. It’s intended to keep me on task. I’m easily scattered and I need that focus, goals and a reason to get out of bed.

Each Sunday I write a bullet list of tasks I need to complete for every day of the week. For each day I highlight a task that must, no matter what, be completed because if not the sky will fall, or another similar dramatic metaphor.

I’m crawling through my skin trying to break free from the hostage situation existing inside of me. — Erika Sauter

I have no idea where the journal is. It’s somewhere in the midst of my overbearing mess of stacked up projects that never get done. The Dream Pile, I call it. Every human needs a pile of dreams.

My workbench is disheveled. Maybe I should side track and clean it? Will uncluttering help me think?

I have somewhat of a regular routine of things I do when I should be writing. It’s a step by step survival go-to.

First, I Windows OS shop online for books even though I have hundreds of books I haven’t read, regardless that the library is only .08 of a mile from my house. It doesn’t matter. I do it anyway. I love books. The books themselves make me feel good.

Next, I hunker down with my typewriter and attempt to type romantic- vomit inducing love quotes to get my creative mojo to flow.

Read me like a book, licking your fingers each time you turn a page — Erika Sauter

When I’m done I kick the mountain of balled up paper on the floor and make my way back to the coffee pot. I just need to get through this day. Tomorrow will be better.

As my feet take shape to the floor my head is floating in a cloud of anxiety. I’m lightheaded and woozy. It’s got the best of me.

I’m nauseous and have a migraine. I feel like shit. I find a chair and sit in it.

I’m at my laptop rearranging my website for the 1,421 time because I can’t seem to find the willpower to leave well enough alone, nor is it on my list of things to do. Is this considered obsessive? Should I stop doing this?

The spiraling thought process that chips away at me, it’s called catastrophizing. I need to be better. I need to do better. I think I can. I do. If I weren’t being held hostage by depression.

Hey Erika, you suck. That’s all the hostage negotiation I have in me and I give up. I let the negative self-talk do its thing. I take the beating.

This, I do this when I’m distracted from writing:

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I transform my husband into a mixed-media masterpiece. I smile. It’s the first time I’ve smiled in days.

Three days ago I began reading Martha Gellhorn’s, The Face of War. It’s the original 1959 edition. I tell myself I will read one war story per day but it doesn’t work out that way. Before I know it two hours have gone by. I’ve read the words but they aren’t registering so I read them again, and again. I lose focus of what Gellhorn is saying. I’m too high on anxiety to read.

I could never survive a day without your love. If you die, I die and then we’ll both be dead. — Erika Sauter

I put the cover back on my typewriter in efforts to stop myself from typing another traumatizing and horrid love quote.

I’m convinced I won’t make any progress until the depression releases me. I must do something. Something is better than nothing. I shuffle around. My journal is nowhere to be found. Create something, I tell myself.

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Deadlines to meet
and dolefully sad

Stories to write
and utterly fatigued

Money to be made
and a miserable weighted anchor tugging down on me

My hand shakes. I watch as the coffee spills from the side of my cup and onto the sketch I’d been working on for days. Droplets expand immediately as they land on the paper. I clear a bit of my workbench and wipe it up.

It’s time to get to work. I sit back down at my laptop and finally type.

It’s not writer’s block. I have plenty of ideas as well as deep rooted denial issues, not to mention the 177 unfinished drafts I could be working on. What I’m experiencing is more of a feeling. A bottomless throbbing despair and physical pain, and it’s impending. It’s robbing me of my focus.

I’ve been taken hostage by depression.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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