So, I don’t experience writer’s block. That’s not bragging, I just approach it differently. If I’m in a writing mode, but I’m not feeling the juju for the project I’m supposed to be working on, I just write, well, anything else. Writing is never a waste, even if the words don’t end up in the final product. And often, getting whatever it was that was clogging the tubes of creativity out leads to being able to get some work done.

I do, though, frequently suffer from procrastination. There are a lot of times where I just don’t wanna. The best thing for me when that happens is deadlines. I have a very accurate sense of how much I can get done in a fixed amount of time, and if there’s something I simply must get done, I can usually target that window of last opportunity to push it out.

But those aren’t what I’m looking to address today. Rather, there are two roadblocks which I experience that are, in fact, insurmountable.

The first is migraine. I’ve had horrendously incapacitating migraine headaches since I was in elementary school. Through my 20s, they were so severe and frequent that I was on large amounts of medication that you typically only see prescribed to end-stage cancer patients now. Fortunately, they greatly decreased in frequency at that point in my life, and now I only get them every 2-3 months. However, they are generally a show-stopper when they arrive. Though there are some aspects of life I can fake my way through, writing with a migraine is definitely not one of them. From the time the visual and aural warnings start, I am usually out of commission fully for 2-3 days, and once symptoms subside, there is a good 24 hours where my body is just totally beat from it. Sometimes I can blindly scribble an idea or phrase to keep from losing it, but usually I can’t even access the creative part of my brain at all.

The other is depression. Searing, burning, blinding, mind-numbing, paralyzing, fire-blue depression. And though there are times when it just lurks and hovers around the edges, which make for very creative fuel, there are other times where simply the act of reminding myself over and over of some reason or other why I should still stay alive rips my fingernails bloody as I try to claw back to a functional state of existence. I talk sometimes about my writing and the voices in my head, and that’s very true; often my best writing comes from putting my consciousness aside and letting them vent through me. And then there are other times where they drown me, and even remembering to breathe seems just out of reach. Hardly anyone who hasn’t been through it can understand, no matter how well intentioned. Once it starts, the best I can do is literally and figuratively barricade myself in as much safety as possible, and try to keep vaguely hydrated while riding it out for however long it lasts. After, sometimes, there’s a morsel to mine, but rarely; I long ago have assimilated where it comes from and what it is about, it has just never helped.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to talk about that today, but it has been hovering in the back of my mind. And I know I’m not alone, there.

One thought on “Roadblocks

  1. I have very little experience with either migraines or depression. I have had headaches, hangovers, and sad times, but nothing to the level that you described. And, as you said, as well-intentioned as I am, there is no way of helping you through those times than being there when you need. I think it’s great that you shared this story, as painful, raw, and vulnerable as it may feel, because so many others feel similar pain to yours and it is important, especially in this day and age, to not hide or cloak depression. It is essential to find others who relate and know (cue the appropriate yet inevitable cliché) that you are not alone.


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