I must admit that I haven’t written much of anything yesterday and today. Yesterday was productive enough, edited my first four chapters and sent them off then spent the rest of the day with my face in a book and catching up with some friends. I am sorry to have skipped my blog, but felt that if you really wanted to hear about my reading of The Mysterious Benedict Society (which was a lovely read) then you could wait a day.
However, while trying to go to sleep last night, I had a rather odd thing happen and lost vision in one eye. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this happen, but it’s pretty freaky so I was a bit concerned. Luckily, my vision cleared and I fell asleep without putting too much thought into it other than a bit of irony. Just the other day I’d been trying to write a scene in which one of my characters loses their vision, but found I couldn’t quite describe the feeling (I think I’d do much better at it now!).
Anyway, this morning I had big plans for starting chapter five. I set a nice early alarm. Slept through it twice and woke up at the normal time (which was 11… best part of being unemployed, by far). I called my father to ask him some general questions (I’m attending a wedding with him in a few weeks) and happened to slip into conversation that I’d lost vision briefly the night before.
“And did your ear start ringing and your face go numb?”
“Yes?” That was strange. I had been a bit freaked-out the night before and the thought had occurred to me that if something was going horribly wrong, then who would be here to notice. I have almost completely withdrawn from the world. My closest “friend” is my mother and she is still an hour and a half away.
“I think you may have had a seizure,” my father decides. He’s not panicking. He says it in the same voice he uses to tell me that it’s very warm today. “A small one though.”
We laughed a bit at this, I packed up my bag, text this to my best friend as if it were a bit of a joke and set out the door to walk two miles to the library (which was by far a bad decision because my feet hurt like crazy now). My best friend does not think my text is funny. She’s a bit worried. Half an hour later and my father calls me again.
“I think maybe you should go see a doctor today,” he says. This time he is not laughing. Somehow he convinces me to go to Planned Parenthood of all places. I call them when I finish my hike to the library and they ask if I’d like to talk about birth control. I don’t want to talk about birth control. I make an appointment anyway and go to the library to try and get some work done.
Perhaps it’s just me, but someone telling you that you may have had a seizure is not conducive to a good day’s work. Inevitably, I end up on WebMD. I normally avoid this because everything on WebMD seems to conclude that you are going to die. However, when you put in the symptom “loss of vision” on WebMD, it doesn’t even give you a diagnosis. It just flashes a warning screen and says “This is a very serious symptom. You should go to an Emergency Room or call an ambulance.”
Huh. Now I’m freaking out and my best friend is composing my eulogy over text. Ok, I look up every doctor in my area. I call a lot of them only to find that I can’t get appointments. I’m frustrated enough to decide to give the whole thing up. My father convinces me, however, to hike the two miles back home, get my car and drive to a emergency care walk-in clinic.
Don’t worry. I am fine. The doctors examined me, said I look fine. They think perhaps I’m having migraines. That’s all. I hate doctors because all they ever really do is tell you that you’re a bit crazy. (Maybe I’d like therapists? Because maybe they could tell me, I’m not crazy.)
Anyway, somewhere along today I started playing a game I haven’t played since a child. From about the age 11-18 I suffered from crippling depression. I hate talking about it, not because I’m ashamed, but because a part of me is quite saddened by the fact that this is probably the most “interesting” thing to ever happen to me. Yet, particularly when I write, I always end up back at it because, let’s be honest, it has been a huge influence on my writing; and my writing on it.
Anyway, when I was young and horribly depressed I used to have these funeral fantasies the way most young girls have wedding fantasies (which are something I’ve never personally experienced). I dreamed about my funeral at great length. I had the whole thing planned very nicely. Never mind the fact that in reality I would have almost no say in my funeral, I dreamed up the best, most horribly depressing funeral of all time. I say this because the funeral of my childhood dreams was entirely empty. No one came. Not even my own parents (who, clearly, in reality would have been there and very sad).
It was strange. Your brain does strange things when your panicking about your health. Mine, today, decided to have a funeral daydream. After all these years, for I haven’t had one in a long time, my funeral daydream has changed quite a bit. It’s definitely not empty. There are lots of people there that I love and who love me in return. I think, though, the major difference is that now I really want to be there too. I want to be at my own funeral so badly that it actually makes me sad to think about all my friends being there without me. It makes me sad to think about my inability to console them or that I would have hurt them by dying.
My 11-through-17-year-old-self would never have been able to fathom that so many people would become so important to me that my life would be worth living. Man, that’s the worst part of depression. People say focus on the good when you’re sad, but when you’re depressed there just is no good to focus on.
I guess, it was just nice to look at my life today and realize how far I’ve come. How much my life is worth, even if no one would find my body right away and I might be eaten by wild dogs, in true Bridget Jones fear. I’ve been reading a lot of this young adult literature and, clearly, I’ve been writing things directed at the age group I was when I was grappling with the inability to live. It’s been taking me back to that time in my life, a time which, when I closely examine it, seems really blank.
I made a really important decision today for my characters: If I could survive the emotion that takes so many people from this world–the emotion of nothingness–at age 11, then my characters are able to overcome anything. I will never underestimate my readership. My characters will be fighters.