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The Challenge of Being Daring While Depression Lurks

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“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” — Ernest Hemingway

While writing this piece I find myself at an event I planned weeks ago, after carefully initiating suggestions, drafting evaluations, marketing according to guru guidelines and expecting friends and fellow creative philanthropist to show up; no shows galore. An hour into what I hoped would be a gathering of those wanting to formulate change; the anxiety of networking has met the anxiety of feeling unsupported. My hopes turn into fear and my expectations squashed as I look at the decorations and event set-up I meticulous prepared for 20 community connectors.

Happenstance, I decided to look to the “why am I here” outside of my predisposed ideas on what the outcomes should be. Thankfully the aforementioned Ernest Hemingway quote has given me a much needed writing prompt and an aversion from my typical solemn response to fall into the whirlwind depressive melancholy of emotions.

When do you call it quits, when is it time to hang up the towel so to speak? For over a year, I have been in the process of building a literary healing arts business to support healing through writing, poetry and the power of words.

As an introvert with high-functioning depression and seasonal affective disorder, I may come across as being put together more than I feel I really am. Moreover at the height of symptoms, it is almost impossible to thrive through transitions of life. I realize that working full-time, starting a business, practicing my art and reaching out for creative jobs wouldn’t happen without a support system and medical interventions.

However, I still have that impending dark place that I am occasionally propelled back into where self-doubt and isolation begin to call my name. When I plan an event, put myself out there for a job, submit my work and receive rejection after rejection or no one shows up I feel like it is an assault on my identity. “No one is showing up for me again,” sending me down the rabbit hole of imperfection and the desolation of the thought I am not good enough.

With the never-ending mantras of hustle, grind, never stop until you reach your goals how does this affect the physical, emotional and mental health of many?

Professionally, I practice business discourse, activate feedback surveys, network strategically, support others in their endeavors, research new trends and the like. After the distribution of flyers and invites, constituents vying that they will be there and two hours later bummed, left tribeless, my energy for future plans wan. The response of wanting to curl up in bed under the covers and never try again, backed into the room of invisibility and hibernation becomes my initial reaction to moving out of my usual comfort zone. Has success eluding yet once again?

The truth is its challenging for me to be daring while depression lurks. I don’t want any pity or anyone feeling sorry for me, as I try nor do I want special treatment. I honestly want feedback and friendship and a tribe that supports my work as much as I support theirs. People to be there when they say they will. To not hear, don’t take it personal from people who say they are interested in being personally vested in my life and work.

What I am finding is that I want to flourish with writing/poetry, make a name for myself as a creative healer in this domain and foster business principles that exact transformation, so I do my best to do the work to see this happen.

Finding confidence in the awareness of the triggers that once kept me on the couch are still there threatening to keep me from following my dreams is a win/win.

The quote from Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorites and what hurts for me tends to change daily — which means I must continually write daily, offering to be a voice for those who go or have gone unheard. I remain hopeful in the midst of depression and angst that the process is refining me rather than defining that I am some how unworthy.

I choose to do the risky thing and believe even when the circumstances look or seem isolating and non-beneficial it is progression.

To the world I am a writer, poet and creative literary healing arts business owner who writes to heal and desires to encourage others to do so. Factually, I know that there may be days where quitting seems like a viable option. But I have decided to show up for myself and waiver the goodness and sadness that may arise.

To others, I admonish, be daring even when it hurts, forge ahead with your vision and plans, knowing people may or may not show up thus recognizing either could be a trigger. Write your submission pitches, accepting where you are right now is OK, and never quit — decide to rest to regain momentum. When the seats are empty and your tribe is low, fill your own heart with praise.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: February 6, 2017
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