The holiday season can be one of the roughest times of year for many and I am included in that contingency. It’s when I start listening to a lot more metal with titles like Waiting Out the Winter. It’s also a double edge sword in terms of creativity. The end of November through December is when I have the biggest impulse to write. This December I started to finish a memoir, write the third part of my one-man trilogy on the underbelly of the self-help movement and began a one-act play that started percolating this past summer.
While all this energy to create is stimulated I also can hit a wall in terms of depression. In December 2010 I went through possibly one of the worst episodes I had ever experienced. I could hardly move off the couch. Everything ached. Nothing could soothe the agony. Today I started to look over at my sweet dog Ruby lying on that same surface and I felt a pang to return to that state, to just collapse onto the cushions and go into a daydream daze.
Instead I decided to write this entry. Coming to terms with mental anguish is not an easy task and having the seasonal confusion of the holiday paradox can make it more confusing. As I grow older I am starting to notice that going towards the pain when it presents itself, even incrementally, benefits me somewhat.
There are plenty of times when I avoid it completely by watching a shitty movie, spending countless hours on social media with no intention of even interacting or courting a chocolate bar with bad pickup lines. However I have been trying to commit towards filtering the ache through a creative process. Sometimes after spending a number of hours writing five pages of schlock or composing a song that should be buried in raw sewage I don’t end up feeling any better. However that isn’t even the point.
It’s just to commence the ritual of creation even when I have no desire to. Perhaps I will share the end result, perhaps it will go on a back burner for a decade but it becomes done. At times, creating new, raw work when you want to die is akin to torture; but even in that difficult realm of what seems to be an infinite tunnel of Shawshank Redemption I know that I will be better off for doing it.
I may then collapse in a heap of sweat and nausea but at least the holidays will end, the new year will come. I will continue forward.