A Season in Heck
I have a tendency to forget that summer is the worst time of year for my depression. I think it’s a combination of me not dealing well with heat and humidity, an increase in daylight hours, and my allergies getting worse. Maybe it’s just that this time of year plays havoc with my brain chemistry more than other seasons do. I talk a lot about not liking summer, but it’s often only when I’m deep in the muck of bad mood swings, melancholy, lethargy, anhedonia, and a difficulty reading and writing with any consistency that I remember that summer is my kryptonite.
This weekend, I did my usual hanging out at my local, favorite coffee shop, where I do a lot of my writing. I skimmed a few chapters of a few different books, I wrote a few lines of poetry, but I mostly sat in front of my laptop and…just stared. I’d bop around on Twitter and Facebook, read some entries on TVTropes, and then go back to trying to write and not writing anything. I got home on Sunday evening and felt…I’m tempted to say “awful,” but it was really more like “MEH.” I couldn’t even get my emotions cranked up enough to be upset at not having written anything. I felt blue, but it was a beige kind of blue.
But then the sun went down, and I sat down at the desk in my living room and said to myself, “Self, how about you don’t write anything, you just…write nothing. Nothing of consequence, nothing of sense. Don’t try to write. Instead, play a game. A game called ‘automatic writing.'” I opened a new browser window (instead of opening a new tab, because a new window meant I could obscure my other browser window and not see if I was getting new emails or new Facebook notifications or be otherwise distracted), went to 750 Words, and just started typing furiously, whatever came into my head. I stopped at 758 words and realized I felt good. Not great, but good. Good enough for a summer Sunday night. Better than the beigey blue I’d felt before. It was the brain equivalent of feeling physically better after getting up and exercising. Maybe I’ll do something more with what I produced through automatic writing, maybe I won’t. The result isn’t the point, just the doing.
When my strength and energy are being sapped by the kryptonite of summer, I’ll take whatever constructive and creative salves I can get, and I think automatic writing is one of those. So lap on with the swordfish underpants of thine most instructive dessert and high tide the coconut dragoons exclusively pitterpatted with sticky buns!