Edited to add: This was supposed to go up on May 21, when I was over at her blog. It’s been a rough week. – Val
Today, while I’m over at her blog posting about how my next book wasn’t supposed to be Molly, Lai Zhao is here! Talking about a demon common to a lot of authors and artists I know, sadly: Depression.
Depression’s Creative Power
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Thank you, Val, for letting me contribute a post here! It’s an honour. 🙂
So, while here I am, she’s over at my blog. 🙂
We both deal with an often-debilitating darkness at every moment: Depression. The darkness affects each individual differently, and the way it’s handled varies by person. But the common aspect is its destructiveness. It’s a disorder with no cure, although there are plenty of management tools and skills. And one of those is creativity…
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Storm clouds amass overhead and the viscous fog of the encroaching maelstrom closes in. Escape routes sunder the clouds; some too fast for action, others too slowly to believe they are real. And the thundering gyre descends.
All around is grey darkness. It smothers light, obliterates all paths. It whispers and magnifies statements of truth, which you know are true; they are your reality after all. It tallies the points, but you already know the score: You’ve lost. You always lose. This is the fact you must always bow to.
But depression slips up: Facts are not truth; they just are. And because they just exist, they’re a perpetual light in this vortex of dark improbabilities.
Fact is: Depression lies. It designs its exaggerations to worm their way in, then hook and drag you into its oblivion.
But it uses energy you can harness.
You poke awake the fury buried deep within. It wells up, rising in the narrow vertical tunnel you’ve created for it. It gathers momentum, power, as it climbs seeking a way out. It will help you because it wants freedom, and it hates its cage, but despises the suffocating nothingness even more. It surges upwards. You hold on, riding, observing, noting. The height of the channel is negligible. The fury explodes, incinerating the tunnel, sending growls and roars rolling through the chaos.
The grey void shudders, realising its mistake too late.
The fury lunges and slashes and sinks its claws into the unwieldy vacuum. It shreds the depression, rending, destroying, rebuilding.
Atop the rage, you sit and observe, jaw dropping as it annihilates the blackness only to reshape it into energy that accumulates, swirling and bubbling; it’s energy you can use now. And it’s looking for a home. The sliver of an opening winks at you. It’s the door to your creativity, the one thing that always keeps you going.
You yank open the door, grab the reconstructed energy and fling it into the chasm. The abyss hungers for more, driving you to feed it faster and faster. It’s almost full. It needs time to digest. You exploit the lull and tangibly realise thoughts and ideas, working at lightning speed for the gulf now fills as quickly as you empty it.
Some time later, your stamina begins to run low but the once-void is full and simmering. You are both sated. Even the fury has gladly returned to its cage to rest. You nap, too. When you open your eyes again, the storm has passed and calming sunshine gently warms you. You smile. Your victory has brought riches that the darkness cannot touch. They are shiny new facts:
New novel drafted
Thousands more story ideas and novel plots created and implemented
Plushies designed and made
Millions of ideas for more of everything written down; tangible and practicable
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© May 2016 Lai Zhao. Editor by day, writer by free time, and by night, a designer and maker of cute fluffy things.
Cute fluffies play at her Patreon page: Snitchcat’s Tiny Carriers of Light.
Writing travails prefer her blog: Dreams of a Broken Phoenix.
And the shy, fledgling Facebook page resides here: Depression in Hong Kong.
Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.