Today’s Daily Prompt: “Tell us about a time you couldn’t quite get your words or images to express what you wanted to express. What do you think the barrier was?”
This happens to me almost every time I sit down and try and write about depression, particularly my own depression. Just a few days ago I tried to write a blog post about the feeling of loneliness and isolation that sometimes overcomes me.
The words came out but they came out haltingly and didn’t ever feel right.
What are the barriers?
One of the biggest is a fear of being too honest, too open. It’s part of the social anxiety I think. I don’t want to be judged, I don’t want to appear to crazy or too needy. There is still a stigma around mental illness, or at least it feels like it from here.
Another barrier is the language itself. The words around emotion are loaded. They are also imprecise and vague. When I try and write about my depression, my disease, I have to use words associated with emotion, even though there can be both qualitative and quantitative differences between what disease brings me and the “emotion” described by the words. Even the words “depression” and “depressed” are often used by people to describe emotions rather than the actual disease.
When I talk about “anxiety” and “loneliness” I’m talking about something that is more than emotion. I’m talking about states and thought processes of a diseased mind. At the same time it seems that my thoughts are not quite described by those terms. When we start talking about the mind, about thought, about emotions it becomes harder and harder to convey the mixture and turmoil of all that is happening. This isn’t just a problem for the negative stuff. In a previous post I discussed the problem of defining what we mean when we say “love”.
When I try and write about it all I usually end up describing what it does to me, the results on my life, rather than how I think, how I feel.
It’s not easy but I’ll keep on trying.