Present Day, September 25th, 2018

Almost five and a half months. Still the blogging screen is blank.

Retreats. Books. Life events. All the usual, reliable prompts. But nothing.

It isn’t really a writer’s block. That’s for people who write for income, or entertainment, or pleasure.

I write for therapy. For reflection. For healing.

So it isn’t really a traditional writer’s block lacking inspiration and creativity. It is a lack of medicine. A lack of progress. A lack of health.

And it is one of many signs to be mindful of. There are others.

I have no desire to do…well…just about anything.

A weight loss plan that was highly successful through the first four months of the year has stalled out. Even begun heading the other direction. The self-discipline…self-motivation is gone. Again.

Ironic, because I’m not truly hungry for anything. Restaurants disappoint. Grocery shopping is merely requisite. I can eat the same food night after night after night after…well, you get the idea.

Stamp collecting. Sports watching. Camping. Hiking. All of it. Just motions.

Truth be told these are the spells that grip those of us who suffer from clinical depression. Sure, everybody to some extent, but these are not just periods of feeling down. They are extensive valleys. Valleys that can turn from days to weeks to months. Valleys that can rob us of energy, enthusiasm, enjoyment. Valleys that can black out a computer screen for five and a half months.

Which brings me to this moment. This moment that is called forced blogging. Push the keys one at a time. Put words on the screen. Run sentences together until a paragraph is formed. Then another. And another. Paragraphs that may serve as stepping stones for climbing out of the valley.

Not for income, entertainment or pleasure.

For therapy. For reflection. For healing.

Present Day, November 18th, 2016

It was pressed upon my mind today to let you know that this is not storytelling.

This is me telling you my story.

There is a difference you see. With each post. With each memory. There is a weight. A depth. More times than not, a journeying back to places of darkness and desperation that I never knew I would go.

And not just for me. For others. Others like my wife. Who walks with me each and every day, but for 12 days in particular felt as if she was walking alone. Frightened. Hope dying. Her world crumbling.

As I sift through the notes. The emails. The text messages. There will be times when a pause will be required. Some longer than others. Times to gather myself and make sure I am not overcome by the potential for sorrow and shame. Times to check in emotionally and confirm that the reflecting doesn’t become my reality. Times to remember that who I was at that moment is not someone I ever have to be again.

I enjoy writing. It is therapeutic. But it also is a way for me to try and step outside myself and help others. Help others struggling with mental illness to know that the demons that haunt them are not theirs alone. Help others sharing the journey with a bipolar loved one know that their life is worth fighting for…even when they can’t fight for it themselves.

Help anyone else that comes across this blog understand that we are not perpetrators of random violence…free loaders of a government aid system…people without real jobs, families, and lives…or selfish bastards only thinking of themselves in their desires to end their own lives.

We are real people, desperate for healing, haunted by relentless demons, wrestling with minds that operate in a way we would never wish on our worst enemy.

We are not storytellers.

We are people with stories.