Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Writing - Can it be a curse or a cure?

Hello again future me

Again it's been a while, couple of weeks I think, I could check, but why bother?

I'm feeling a little down today, so apologise if this makes little or no sense, but something has occurred to me and I had better write it down before it gets lost amongst the never ending bullshit that I, like everyone else, has to carry.

Before I start, I need you to know that I get ridiculously angry at myself when I feel like this, but I suppose that's human nature.  Strange expression that - 'Human Nature'.  What exactly is that?  Well if what I have experienced today and over the last few years is anything to go by, then whatever the 21st century of 'Human Nature' is you can stick it right up your....

I'm not really sure if I have mentioned it before, but I suffer from what people in the medical profession call severe anxiety and depression, throw in a large dose of OCD and you get a vague picture.  Yes, yes, I know, who the hell doesn't suffer with these and many more symptoms these days?  I'm not special, I don't feel like I'm unique and, so I keep getting told by doctors and psychologists, I am not alone.  Then why do I feel like the only person on the planet most of the time?

Fuck, I hate it when I go down this route.  Sometimes it's just a short stroll, other times it feels like a marathon, either way it's a royal pain in the arse.  Today I was supposed to start Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT).  I have been psyching myself up for it all week, as when something new enters my life, I have to adjust my routine to be able to accept it, so all this week I have slept little and fretted lots.  Then this morning I drove almost 20 miles to get to my appointment, making sure I was there in plenty of time, only to be told that I live in the wrong area and that CAT therapy wouldn't be made available to me. 

Living in the UK I am very grateful for the NHS we have and I wouldn't dream of knocking it in anyway, as a nation the UK is very lucky to have the NHS, but to be denied treatment that I have been waiting for well over 18 months, and to be told that it's because I live in the wrong area, well, I don't think my vocabulary has the words.  I didn't shout and kick off, what would've been the point, I'm sure that the people that work in that department do excellent work and help countless people, but...

Anyway, here is my question. 

Does writing help or hinder my condition?

I know why I have these issues, man do I know, I dream about them endlessly when I am able to sleep, I even think I know how to fix them, I'm just having real difficulty taking the first few steps to get things moving along.  Then, when I do take the initiative I'm told that I'm geographically incompatible. 

One of the reasons I decided to start writing was a way to keep busy, being made redundant last year from my job knocked me sideways, adding to my already paranoid delusions that life has it in for me, so rather than sit in front of the googlebox watching daytime TV, I decided to write a story/book and  I believe that book one is almost done.  The thing is, has sitting in all day, everyday, banging away at the keyboard helped of hindered my possible recovery?

When I think about it, I sit at my dining room table for sometime 6 hours at a time, writing, then reading, then writing again, if you're a writer, you'll know what I'm talking about.  I'm starting to think that maybe I should have spent more time making myself go outside, pushing the boundaries that I have placed upon myself and somehow tried harder to fix myself.  I genuinely believe the only way to get over what it is I am feeling is to stop being a dick and simply move on.  Please don't think that I am saying that everyone with a mental health condition is a dick, and I'm not saying that they should just get over it, I'm not a professional in this field, nowhere near one, I just think that for me, there is no other way, all I need is to find that first step in doing so.  I cannot change the circumstances that have made me feel this way and I will never forgive those that made me reach this point, and above all I accept full responsibility for my current circumstances, maybe I should have been stronger, more aware, less trusting, I don't know, pick your cliché.

And that's why I have to wonder if writing is the way I should go.  Realistically there is a very little chance that I might ever get picked up by an agent, let alone a publisher, so how does me, sitting in front of my laptop, burning hours on writing, that in all honesty no-one will ever read, whilst competing with countless others, all of which are in pursuit of the same goal, ever going to help?  Rejection is a word that many associate with writing, and I don't think I'm being negative when I say that, it's just a fact as far as I can see.  So for me, someone who constantly feels like a reject and is used to rejection (How pitiful am I?), I do wonder if I'm in the right game.  I suppose I should take solace in the fact that at least, if nothing else, I'm giving it a go. 

In life we are always being, scrutinised, judged and knocked down for our efforts, the hard part is the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and keep smiling.  I think I've said this before, but it's the writing that inspires me, however it's the fear that drives me.

Anyway, that's my lot today.  I'm hoping that next time I write something on this here blog I will be in a better frame of mind.  If anyone else feels like this and would like to chat, please feel free to message me, or if you are tech savvy, send me a tweet at @pipconnor.

Now if you excuse me whilst I pick myself up and dust myself down and wait, is that a smile on my face?  No, not really, but if it makes others feel better, I'm prepared to play along for at least a little while longer.

Look after yourselves people, but above all, stay cool.

Pip  x


  1. 'You are wrong in saying 'that in all honesty no-one will ever read.' your work.
    I read it and was struck by the honesty of your writing. I think you should stick with it. In my opinion writing is better than self-examination, trying to fix yourself and beating yourself up sucks. Writing on the other hand rocks - focus on that. Best wishes to you,

    1. Hey Gracie, thank you so much for your kind words, I completely agree with you on every point you make, but most of all I like the last one, I, like you, believe that writing does rock. Look after yourself, but above, stay cool.

  2. I admire your honesty and bravery (as well as seconding everything Grace just said).
    In answer to your question, does writing hinder or help your condition, only you + time will provide an answer. New Zealand writer Janet Frome, who spent eight years in a mental asylum, said 'Writing is a boon, analgesic, and so on. I think it's all that matters to me. I dread emerging from it each day.'
    I find writing addictive, and for my 2 cents - you don't have to be published to be a writer as there are plenty of places like Wattpad to post your work and find readers. If you hope to make a bit of cash then you need to add marketing & promotion to the job description these days, whether you go the indie route or not.
    If writing is your vocation, then you'll most likely find yourself unable to stop - just keep working at that work/life balance's a hard one to master! :)

    1. Hey Teagan, thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a comment, I am extremely grateful. Like you I find writing addictive and I think that's what prompted this post, I have noticed that I am spending more and more of my free time writing and I was getting concerned it may be detrimental to, well everything. As you say though, time will tell. Thanks again, take care and stay cool. Pip

  3. Hello Pip,

    Your words prompted a 744 word reply from me that is, unfortunately, far longer than the system will accept. I guess it's best summed up as "Man, did you strike a resonant chord!"

    Joseph Campbell encouraged his students to "Follow your bliss." In the end, what better thing can we do with our lives?

    Personally, I can't sit at the computer for six or eight hours without a break. Walking helps me work things out, especially if I can be out in nature while I'm doing it. A certain amount of focused, physical activity also helps alleviate anxiety (as recommended by my own counselor). Maybe there's an activity like that which will work for you, too?

    This sounds too short and glib. I'm sorry. The original reply was much longer and probably more boring!

    1. Hey Daryl, thanks for taking the time to leave a response, technically twice. I know you're right, sitting at the laptop staring at the blinking cursor for to long isn't good for anyone, I think I'm going to try and go for a walk every morning before I start writing. It may not be much, but it's a start. Look after yourself mate, take care, but above all, stay cool. Pip