Yesterday I wrote how I struggled through to affirm the value of the positive experiences I was having at the cash register, even though they didn’t lift the punishing biochemical depression that had me in its grips.
But there was another dynamic at work. On and off throughout the day – and especially towards the end of the day – as I was having these positive experiences and these miserable experiences, in my head I was writing about them…planning to write this post. During my afternoon ten-minute break I wrote (dictated, actually, into the voice recorder in my phone) about them as fast as I possibly could.
So for much of the day I was operating on two tracks: on the level of my immediate physical/emotional/mental experience, I was having moments of release followed by the return of crushing contraction – but on another level, I was detached from all that…was observing it. The writer in me was observing – was creating a state of mindfulness, where I was not caught in my experience but could stand outside of it and notice it. And mindfulness is liberating – to the extent it was operating, part of me was free from the suffering that was still going on.
So writing can trigger mindfulness and that can be freeing. There was one other way that writing this post in my head was freeing. Writing is a major identity for me – it feels like a big part of my mission in this world. And right now writing this blog – writing about my job, about customer service, about bipolar disorder – is at the heart of that mission for me. So even while my biochemical/emotional/mental suffering continued unabated, part of me was happy – was doing a little dance. “I’m writing. I feared that this depression would keep me from writing, but it’s happening. I may hurt like hell all day, but I’m going to come out of it with a pretty interesting blog post. I may end the day as fully in the grips of biochemical contraction as I started, but – regardless of how late it may be (and I do have a meeting tonight), before I go to bed I am going to write. Depression can’t take that away from me.”
And now, at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday that’s exactly what I’ve done. I wrote Thursday’s post and this post to go up on Friday – and I feel good about both of them. My body feels like crap, but my spirits are good. I may feel lousy all over again tomorrow. I don’t want to program myself to feel bad, but lots of hard experience tells me that this is likely. But I have written. I have found meaning in my experience. I have created something that could possibly be helpful to somebody else. I have transcended my pain. I have made art.