Can I still consider myself a writer if my posting frequency becomes sporadic at best and utterly inconsistent at worst?
I think I can. I write, all the time, in my head. Doesn’t that count?
I blame detachment. Something I have had to learn to be good at my job. Something that my medicine has given me a greater ability to control. But it’s also the thing that keeps me out of my feelings and out of the place in my brain where my best writing tends to originate.
It feels like a sick sacrifice of sorts: offering up (what I consider) some of my better assets and qualities – i.e. empathy and sensitivity to my own feelings and those of others – for the ability to function at a higher level professionally and maintain a semblance of equilibrium personally.
But I think it makes me a shittier friend. Daughter. Sister. And writer.
That is my perception though. It may not be that of others. But I do not feel like I’m operating very authentically right now.
I feel like I’m…..functioning, but, sometimes, on some sort of emotional autopilot.
I still cry. Laugh. I still feel things. I’ve been on meds where I didn’t. But I’m struggling to determine if it’s the meds I’m taking that have produced this more profound ability to detach, or if it is just the practice of living that has taught me what I can and cannot handle.
For years, most of my life in fact, I’ve tried to be good to others. Be what they needed. Even, to my own detriment, what they wanted. Even if that version was nothing like my true self.
I no longer feel the need to do those things. Not for everyone, anyway.
I find my focus is very centered on a small handful of people that need me more than anyone else, and me giving all I can to them. And making room for very few others.
This goes against my historical behavior patterns. But I have learned how much I can and cannot bear. And I have learned where my commitments should be focused.
My health, physical and mental, has limitations. I took my daughter to Mobile for the day last weekend – just a day trip, and I’m still paying for it, physically. The long drive and large crowds drained me. The autoimmune demons are not kind and energy is a resource I try not to waste.
My job is high stress and often a non-stop wave of bad news, aggravation and disgruntled, difficult people.
I take care of myself mentally, detach, take the meds, so I can deal with it. Because, if I didn’t, the stress of my job and of all the anxiety and depression I have genetically and chemically would literally kill me.
But I should be writing. I want to be writing. But I also want to just live, and soak up moments without thinking about how to articulate them later.
I tell my daughter sometimes, when we go to some event, “Put down your phone. Just enjoy what is happening around you.”
And while writing is important to me and something I miss doing when I’m not doing it, I also, at times, just want to put aside everything that isn’t fully present with me in a given moment.
And that is anything but detachment. That is absorbing and feeling and listening and seeing and knowing. And sometimes that is enough. Even if I never write about it.