For three days running now, I (Ben) have sat down to write a follow-up to Monday’s post. The response I got — online and offline — was very encouraging. Friends who I know have struggled with many of the same challenges wrote to say thanks. Three other friends who I had no idea have battled with mental illness shared their stories. After a tremendous amount of apprehension, I felt glad — and relieved — to have written the post.
On Tuesday I was faced with a choice: Continue writing about depression, or write a post about — as Matthew Leathers succinctly put it — Vincent D’Onofrio and poop. I carefully weighed the merits of both. All things being equal, I’d have preferred to write about Mr. D’Onofrio and poop. But I couldn’t do it.
So Tuesday night I sat down to write about faith and depression, since in my life the two have become so inextricably joined that I cannot talk about one without talking about the other. I couldn’t find the words though. I started three different posts, then scrapped each of them. I’d start over on my day off.
I did the same yesterday. Starting, stopping. Always running up against a wall. And, as has happened before, feeling increasingly helpless and defeated that I couldn’t shape depression into words. This, as has happened before, fueled an already dark mood.
This morning I woke up and something had lifted, slightly. I could write today, but only if I started by acknowledging why I couldn’t write before. I realized this after talking it through with Erin last night. I had a strategy now, not that different from the spiritual practice of confession, really: Name it, put it out there, and then release it. Which I have just done.
Later today I’ll post that faith and mental illness bit I’ve now written five times. Before that, I wanted to explain how I got there, and to acknowledge that while Voreblog won’t be all gloom and doom from here on out, we’ll at least follow this for now and see where it goes.