I am not always mentally healthy; I can’t always see myself falling off the edge of sane. But my publisher announced that they are done, and it made me feel done even before I knew it. At first it was shock, then I just stewed and did nothing.
In the peripheral I saw other authors grow angry. I understood their rage, but I could not feel it, could not appreciate their response. Normal me is not quick to anger. I think I know that. I think normal me must be very patient and understanding. That’s the person I know I am. I remember her when her little sister wanted to play the same thing over and over again. I remember her when she babysat community children, walked them to the park, read to them the same book they always wanted read. I see that woman cooking with her children, helping friends out, repeating instructions in her class. She is me and I am proud of her.
But upon hearing the news that my book would fall through, I just felt numb. And that’s not the same as patient. Then I felt tired. And that’s not the same as not angry. Now I feel panicked because my body didn’t respond to an issue when it happened. I know I’ll be alright but there’s static in my mind, my body’s abnormal response to stress.
It’s a crap situation, but I’m confident in my writing, in my story, in my fans. So why do I feel like crying every night? Why am I abrupt and angry and unsure? I feel you, depression. I hear the static you make. I understand that you want to take me under, but I’ve got work to do. And I can’t let you.
As I get older, I know that buzzing numb for what it is. I like that it’s spring. I can walk it off for hours in the warm weather, dip my hands in dirt and sand until I’m buried in busy and unable to be numb. I talk to my animals and add extra sugar. I snuggle my kids even when I don’t feel like touch. That often works; not always but often enough. And I’ve staved it off-that static-by wearing me thin. Will it make it worse in the end? Will the dive be harder or will I contend with the feelings I can’t always control?
I will do what I must. I will write because I do and I love to. I will work past the static and publish and pine for the sanity that I want to call mine. And I’ll never hold it forever, but I’ll hold it tight while it’s here. With every word, every sentence I ink into being, I cling tighter to you, sanity.