I started writing a post that soon turned into Arbie’s Mental Health history 101, but I don’t feel ready to share that yet so instead I’ll write what I had set about to write which is in reply to my post Freedom and why I suddenly seem so motivated to write a lot of stuff in not a lotta time.
I’m biting off a lot more than I can chew. I want to write a bunch of books in the next 15 months and they probably won’t all come into existence but I want to believe that they will.
I’ve spoken about how it’s because I’m letting go of being perfect, but this isn’t true. I need to be careful now because this is where last time I split off to talk about MHH. Stay on track.
On track: I also don’t want to let go of the ability I currently have to imagine. I’m struggling to write this because my brain is misbehaving a little today and so coherent thinking is hard. Stay with me, or if you’re bored then that’s cool, you can leave and we’ll meet up later.
What I’m trying to say is for the last who knows how long I lost my ability to write, not only write, but imagine. My head was so full of the shit that comes with OCD and BDD that there wasn’t any room for anything but obsessions and compulsions. Every conversation was fuelled with absolute insanity. Since learning more about BDD (I have a lot more to learn, but with better doctors – fingers crossed) and how OCD is absolute rocket fuel for it, I’m now on my up days better prepared to try and stop myself going down in a spiral.
These days, that would have otherwise been spent in a lost pit of thought after thought revolving around my obsessions (and it is that constant, it’s in the back of my mind right now – I’m writing this but I’m thinking thoughts I’m not ready to share out of shame) I’m trying to bring back to myself. I actually feel like crying right now just over the fact I’ve been able to read lately.
I couldn’t even do that. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t watch a show, I couldn’t do anything where my attention had to be placed anywhere but in my head and on those thoughts. It’s all fucking consuming. So of course, I couldn’t imagine. Depression obviously had its hand in that too, and although that – just like the other bastards – is still visiting uninvited, for me to be finding some enjoyment in life again it must have lifted some also.
Phew, quick save. Almost went back into MH history.
When your brain is full of obsession and compulsion there’s just no room for it – imagination. I understand people talk about their escape through reading etc, but for me it isn’t really the same. You can’t enjoy anything like that when you’ve got a horrible voice chattering away in your ear uninterrupted. The chatter boils in your chest and questions spin out of control, or an urge to act out a compulsion bubbles to the point it is over the pan and you’re acting out before you even realize you’ve moved. I’m pretty sick of the “I’m strong and so I pushed through it!” it’s an illness, and that type of talk doesn’t do anything to help those who are currently suffering from it other than make them feel even weaker and more worthless. People need to understand that mental illness is a very real thing that you need very real help for.
I’ve struggled with it for a long time, but I still had the ups where I could write. I’d write fast and I’d imagine constantly. I was an absolute day dreamer. I didn’t sit down to create characters, I pansted my way through KDD, I would just imagine and write, imagine and create, imagine and sit back and play out scene after scene in my head. I’d get so worked up listening to music that I’d play the same song over and over again, replaying the scene in my head. It was brilliant. And this leads me to why I’m now wanting to write 4 books in 15 months.
I rode this rollercoaster until roughly two years ago.
I’ve had issues for as long as I can remember and I might one day write a post about that for my own peace of mind. What interest it will be to anyone else (although it will show the many ways OCD can rear its ugly head), I don’t know, but I’ve written and deleted that very post more times than I can remember at this point. I actually might have posted something similar, I’m not sure.
But anyway, where was I? Two years ago – something like that. I’m pretty sure I posted about my memory, how it has become worse and worse, how writing has become incredibly difficult and I seem to constantly be looking through a fog. Dizziness is something that not a lot of people associate with mental illness, but it’s one of the main reasons I no longer drive. I’m not safe on the road, I get too disorientated, so I took myself off. This isn’t the same as a fear of driving, it’s being responsible knowing that I could hurt someone if I wasn’t careful and came under an episode.
But, dizziness and mental fog and memory loss and the inability to think in coherent ways or express thoughts in that same way, how can you write a long narrative when like that? On top of this, what will you write about? Should I write 350 lines asking 350 times the same question on the current obsession? And 350 times isn’t an understatement, I was (and still am) a broken record. It’s all that my brain could do – go round and round and round, and here is where I wish I had known sooner the impact OCD can have on BDD. I fucking wish that my old long-term psychologist had told me this rather than only speaking to me about what the media does to us – like I saw one of the Kardashians and had some kind of breakdown? Shit, meester…
I know how that looks, like I started writing about my mental health history, but it isn’t, it’s me trying in this dizzy jargon doused brain to express that to write a story you need to be able to imagine and you need to be able to think. I could do neither, and I can not tell you the mental prison that was. If anyone, ANYONE, calls someone who is in that same state I was in mentally weak they can get fucked by a Minotaur because you have no idea what it is like to have no control (and it is no control when it’s a serious mental illness – just like any other organ in your body, your brain can be unwell too) over your own brain. It is an absolute tragedy that people who confuse feeling nervous with anxiety and feeling sad with depression believe they know anything of actual mental illness and that they are somehow stronger because they read a book and recovered. And a walk in the park cures fucking leprosy does it? Sorry, but this isn’t just anger in protection of myself, but in protection of the people I have seen contemplate suicide because they don’t think they’re “strong enough” because they can’t just click their red slippers and be better.
Eh, why should I care if I sound crazy? I am fucking crazy.
Back to books and words. I’ll tone down the anger. Right now, I have started to imagine again – it is heaven, I have started to have conversations with my parents and partner again that don’t revolve around my obsessions and compulsions – amazing, I am feeling a little like my own self again. All the horrible thoughts and voices are there, but there are now days where they are quieter and on those days I can now take the opportunity to throw myself at a project.
So, the reason why I am now wanting to write as much as I am, is because I can. At least, I’m in a much better position to be doing it than I was previously. Honestly, if there was one thing I could now say to writers who ask how do you just sit down and write? It would be because I’ve experienced what it is like to not have the choice.