Great Wealth

“…and the Great Fog … lifted!”

Morgan Freeman’s voice narrating “Cosmic Voyage”? Actually, perhaps that too, but for me it’s the result of my head responding to the cessation of taking medication for depression.

So I’m back to being depressed? Actually yes and no. During my medicated period, I researched alternative methods of dealing with depression, and one technique I came across time and again was “write”. During deep bouts, nothing could be further from what I wanted to do, and yet even scratching out a creative sentence could have enormous positive effects.

The thing preventing me from writing however was the medication. My imagination was nowhere to be found. I could write factual sentences. I could describe real things around me and in me, but when it came to soaring off on fanciful tangents, hammering out metaphors and similes on my anvil of creativity or even dreaming up a name for a character, the workshop was closed.

A week after weaning off the meds, and I punched out a short story. It was fiction. It was fanciful and fun. It was creative in a way denied me by months of hazy blithering stupefaction designed to make me feel “better”.

Pfff – I felt better writing.

Lesson learned. I’m beta reading for another writer at the moment, a memoir about surviving a brain stem stroke. The author is a remarkable individual, determined to make something of life regardless of the extraordinary and appalling challenges they face. Does it make me feel better given I have reasonable command of my own faculties? The author had their foggy moments, but they came good, a clearly functioning brain locked in a prison of recalcitrant flesh. That’s dreadful and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I don’t feel better from realising I have it better than someone else – that’s not how I operate. What I have gained from their story is the reassurance it’s not worth giving up, a message that was and is a constant companion of depression.

If there’s something worth fighting for, then fight for it. Everyone out there in the world has their own fight, even those seeming to have it all. Life is about fighting. Some have a fight far greater than others, but everyone’s fight is no less valid than anyone else’s. The wisdom? Don’t judge others until you come to understand their fight, and in the process learn something of your own.

That’s the true value of stories, and the great wealth that is writing.

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