So Much To Do, Not Enough Time to Be Too Depressed to Do It

Sometimes, I think I do too much.

My wife would argue this isn’t the case, and she’s probably right, for the most part – in general, in life, I really don’t do much at all. I’m actually pretty freaking lazy most of the time, which is why it feels like there’s always so much to do – I never really get around to any of it.

No … what I really mean is that, in my creative endeavors, I overstretch myself frequently. The common trope of the writer is that they’re always writing – anything except their story. Sad, but true. I always have at least two trains of creative thought going at any given time: writing and music. Within that, my writing is split between fantasy (The Redemption of Erâth), which I haven’t touched in a long time, and young adult novels, one of which I most recently completed earlier this year. Music-wise, there’s always so much going on, including three nu-metal albums to accompany said young adult book, as well as grandiose orchestral suites and metal operas. I want to write a goth rock album, and who knows what else as my musical tastes change and evolve.

The problem is time. As in, there just isn’t enough of it. I started work on The Redemption of Erâth almost ten years ago, with the idea to write a seven-book series; so far only three have seen the light of day. I took time off to write two young adult novels, both of which were extremely challenging in their own right (mentally and emotionally draining), and for the past few months I’ve been working on a metal/orchestral suite of songs that I just completed on Friday. Still, I don’t think ten years ago I thought I’d still be trying to write my fantasy series.

To top it off, I’m not getting any younger. I’m not really old enough to be terribly concerned about my mortality (nor am I famous enough that I worry about leaving unfinished works behind to torment my adoring fans), but it does cross my mind that in almost forty years I’ve failed to make a career out of anything creative, and if I died tomorrow, I really wouldn’t have much of a legacy to leave behind.

The worst part is that, when I do have time to create, I’m often too depressed to be able to focus on it. This affliction that’s lasted my entire adulthood is truly a blessing and a curse – it gives me the inspiration to create dark and gloomy worlds, and at the same time prevents me from actually getting any of it down on paper. I want to write; I want to create music; and I don’t want what I’ve finished so far to be all that I ever make. I just find it so impossibly difficult to actually get any of it done.

If I think back on everything I’ve ever started, I’ve actually done pretty well; three fantasy novels, two young adult stories, three nu-metal albums and two metal symphonies are all under my belt, and I definitely didn’t think I’d have been able to finish any of them when I first started (in fact, my first young adult novel, 22 Scars, dates back to 2005 in its earliest iterations). But there’s still so much more to do.

With that being said, I think that now my second YA book is published, my metal symphony is complete, and I’m not overly concerned about writing more nu-metal, it’s time to return to Erâth. I started working on the fourth book in the series almost two years ago, and so far only have six chapters written. I need to clear my schedule, knuckle down, and get the rest of The Redemption of Erâth finished. And not just the fourth book; the fifth, and the sixth, and the seventh one, too. From here on out, this is what I’m going to try to complete.

After that … well, we’ll see. I don’t have any other raging ideas just at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll come along eventually; they always do.

For now – onward and back into the world of Erâth!

Endless Summer Doldrums

I’ve never really been too fond of summer; heat, sun and beach days were never really my thing. I’m much more partial to the shorter, colder days of autumn and winter, where you can sit inside by the fire and stare out into the wind and rain, the falling leaves, and dark snow showers of the late winter months.

Since moving to New Jersey, however, summer has taken on a whole new level of nastiness, with humidity regularly in the 80%-90% range. If there’s one thing I hate more than excessive heat, it’s excessive humidity. Put the two together and I’m just downright miserable. I need it cold and dry.

The worst part is that when the weather feels stifling, so does life. I feel like the summer is dragging on, week after week and month after month of dull, humid unpleasantness, going nowhere fast. I haven’t been creative in months. I haven’t even written a blog post in months. On my days off, I find myself pottering around the house, bored and depressed, trying to think of things to do and realizing I don’t want to do any of them.

I can’t say that this is necessarily summer’s fault, exactly; I know I’ve felt like this at all times of the year. But there’s something about summer that just makes it worse. This dull, aching lethargy is intolerable, a kind of depression that isn’t quite depressed; a kind of misery that isn’t quite recognizable. It’s just an endless boredom, a lack of desire, a kind of … null that fills the void day after day. And when you find yourself drenched in sweat just sitting still, you start to wonder what the point of it all is.

When I get like this, I’m tempted to just go to sleep. I mean after all, if I’m going to waste the day away, I might as well get some rest out of it. Nothing’s worse than sitting on the couch, staring into space, mind agonizingly treading over meaningless gibberish at a mile an hour. But when I wake up, I feel even worse; tired, disconcerted, and wishing I’d done something productive with my time.

What even is ‘productive’? What does it mean? Life is so full of endless, repetitive and meaningless tasks that you could spend every waking moment busy, and still get nothing done. Is cooking dinner productive? Cleaning the kitchen? Watering the plants? All of these are things that need to be done, but are they productive? This kind of mental quagmire is something I find myself in frequently; regardless of whether I spend all day doing nothing or doing something, I still feel like I’ve accomplished nothing at the end of the day. The only things that really make me feel worthwhile are creative endeavors, and in this mindless funk, those become impossible.

These doldrums are endless, and the summer makes it worse. I see no end in sight to either. I can’t wait for fall, and I can’t wait to feel more like doing stuff. But even when the shorter, colder days come about, I worry, because autumn is usually when my outright depression worsens, and I can’t bring myself to even get out of bed.

Life is endless, too. Day after day of the same, going nowhere and getting nothing done, living each day just to see the next. I start to wonder what the point of it all is. I don’t exactly feel that I’d be better off dead, but I can’t quite see the point of living, either. What’s it all about? What’s it for? Who am I entertaining?

And even as I write this, I’m overcome with the desire to just sigh, forget it all, and go back to bed.

A sigh.

It sums up life better than anything, really. Just one big sigh.

And I won’t; or if I do, I won’t forever. As much as I’d like to.

Everything passes in time. The darkness passes … but then, so does the light. Like a zebra, I’m left to wonder if life is depression with bouts of happiness, or happiness with bouts of depression. Sometimes I think it only matters how it ends; only then can you really figure it all out. If I die depressed, then that’s really what life was for me. If I die happy, then … you get the point.

I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to live. I’m just stuck, somewhere in the middle of existing.

And the summer just won’t end.

Well … Now I’m Depressed

My last post was a good few months ago, discussing the fact that being mentally stable can have its downsides – notably, the fact that really, it’s kind of boring. I haven’t had a whole lot to say since then, despite my promises of more frequent posting here back at the start of the year, but the honest truth is that there hasn’t been a whole lot going on in my life; work, home, work, home … it kind of all just blends, day after day, into a mishmash of boring daily routine.

But the good news is, that’s all changed. Now, I’m depressed. (Really it’s not that good.) For the past few weeks I’ve been slowly settling into a decline of mental state, to the point where today, I spent my day off primarily sleeping in bed, just waiting for the day to be over.

It all started well enough; slept in a little, got up to make a nice breakfast of crepes and bacon. But little things set me off – things that previously might not have bothered me. I couldn’t get the coffee machine to work. The crepes stuck to the pan. The heat and humidity of northern New Jersey don’t help. And just like that, I wound up in a childishly bad mood, storming off to sleep the morning away.

And there I stayed, on and off, until now. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I’m writing this at all. It isn’t deep, it isn’t important, and it isn’t meaningful. I think it’s just a way of exorcising some demons, perhaps – talking to anonymous internet people who just maybe understand something of what I feel.

The honest truth is that it isn’t really all that bad; I’m not cripplingly depressed, I’m still going to work – I’m able to function. It’s more like a festering dismal mindset, something that rears its ugly head when I have a moment to spare and nothing better to think about. Distractions – work, entertainment, movies – work well, but then of course there are the more destructive coping mechanisms as well.

For me, it’s primarily alcohol. Not anything outright alarming; nothing overly copious, no morning hangovers; just … a few beers every single night. Maybe some whiskey. Enough to take the edge off. And I don’t necessarily think there’s anything terribly wrong with that, either – it’s just a question of whether or not I’m becoming dependent on it. I haven’t really gone a night without drinking in a month or more, and I wonder how I’d feel – emotionally – if I did.

I know that this is a passing phase, and that I will recover from this and feel better. I also know that it won’t be easy making it through to that point. It’s potentially dangerous, too; not outright life-threatening, but for my physical, mental and emotional well-being. It comes with a kind of “fuck it” mentality, a sense that I just don’t care anymore, which can lead to overspending, overeating, over-drinking … you name it, I might do it.

Eventually I’ll emerge from the other side of this canyon, but like any dip into a deep well, it’s harder climbing out than falling in. The good news is that life is relentless, pushing you forward whether you like it or not, and for all the struggles, I’ve made it this far and I’ll make it further.

Until then, I’ll drink my beer, and eat too much cheese, and sleep all day if I want to. It’s the only way I know how to make it through.