I had an excellent session with my therapist a few days ago. It had been way too long since I’d seen him — I had canceled my last appointment (in early November, I think?), and never bothered rescheduling it, because I just didn’t want to feel any better. I was depressed and stewing in it. It’s really easy to do that. I have found that sometimes depression is something like a blanket, maybe one of those weighted blankets I hear so much about these days. It’s a blanket that wraps around you and keeps you warm and safe. Not happy, not fulfilled, not fully awake, but warm and safe. And it feels scary to try to throw off that blanket. So I didn’t for a while.
But now I’m ready to try. I’m finally ready to wake up.
My therapist and I talked a lot about how I’ve been feeling about the manuscript of Darkwater: Memoir of a Pastor Who Lives with Depression. We talked about how I know rationally that I’m being terribly impatient, that these things take a really long time. We talked about how I am emotionally reacting very differently, how I’ve allowed the past few months to tear me apart. We talked about what it means to be a writer. We discussed meaning, and how to find (or make) meaning in our lives. More or less, we covered the same ground I covered in my two part Campfire post of a few days ago.
The thing that’s stuck with me the most from that session, though, is something he said at the end. We were talking about what I might do in the next days and weeks to start feeling better and find meaning in my life. And he said this: “Well, whatever you decide to do, just do it.” Except, he didn’t actually say that. When he started that sentence, that’s what I expected him to say. We had discussed how “action precedes motivation,” how you can’t wait to “feel like” doing helpful things like exercise or diet, but you just have to do it — then the motivation follows. I thought he was encouraging me to do that. But here’s what he really said:
Well, whatever you decide to do, write about it.
I was taken aback. But he was right, absolutely right. I am a writer. What does a writer do? A writer writes. And I am a writer. I’m going to try to embrace that. Having a published book does not make someone a writer. Writing makes someone a writer, so I’m going to make sure I’m writing.
I have an idea for a blog project in the New Year, so watch for that. If it comes together the way I’m hoping, it’ll keep me writing for quite some time. The first one should be published on January 1.
Thanks for reading.