A Personal Statement

Depresion porque la Fiesta termino
Depresion porque la Fiesta termino (Photo credit: El Hermano Pila)

The first time I blogged, it was because I thought I had something to say about being in a woman’s circle and I wanted to share how important that felt to my life, but after a short while, I ran out of things to say.

The second time I blogged, I wrote about the incarcerated women to whom I taught creative writing.  Those stories also had a limit and often felt too weighty to even record.  After some of my classes at the jail, I just soaked all the stories away in a hot bath.  Even a summer of writing a book proposal about that, became an unraveling without hope of a final form.

From there my blog went into the slice of life stuff that sometimes felt significant and other times felt like fluff.  I am not a good judge of my writing.  I really can’t tell if something is good or not.  I am not a good judge of anyone’s writing–I know what I like and I respect anyone who attempts to write their life on the cliff of white computer screen and then share it in the world.

My last blog up until now ran into a wall of sadness.  Sadness is a matter-of-fact thing that I have dealt with on and off my whole life.  I have learned to maintain good mental health for long stretches of time through diet, exercise and mindfulness.  It works really well, but sometimes sorrow surprises me with its deep, regret. The last bout was not pleasant, but as with times before–I learned something.  May Sarton wrote in her book, “Journal of a Solitude,” that she needed to be with her anger long enough for it to teach her something.  I feel that way about sadness, you have to be with it long enough for it to teach you something.  What I learned this time was this:  sadness is unexpressed grief.  No, I didn’t get that from a therapist or a self-help book.  What I mean is that life assails us with sorrows, both personal challenges and the suffering of the world.  In our culture, we do not have a container for that–we don’t have a ritual or a ceremony or a tribe that helps us through the process of feeling our pain and the world’s pain.  So we crawl off into our corners and cradle our hearts to the extent that we are able, praying for relief and healing.

Some may say, medication is the answer, but honestly you can give a diagnosis to just about any feeling and what good does that do? I think medication should be a last resort treatment, and I would rather do the ride than just make it all okay with a daily dose.  Some may say, that I should just keep a good attitude, but I have at times exhausted myself with good attitude.  And some may say, “get over it,” and to them I would say how long have you been numb?  What I know is that I’m constantly awakening to life again and again with no destination point in sight.

I have been with my depression long enough for it to teach me something and now I am pouring what I’ve learned about life and being human into writing novels and stories.  Creativity is born of chaos and grief in the dark muddy places of heart and mind. Depression/Celebration–it is all just the fullness of a life lived with courage, and now gratitude.

97 thoughts on “A Personal Statement

  1. I love what you’ve written here, and how honest it is. Thank you Stephanie, for sharing your world and gifts with us again!

  2. Moving concept. The best way to deal with the troubles of life, to release yourself from negativity, is to soak it up and appreciate it. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Release sometimes comes with some sand in the shell…but if you stick with it, eventually you get the pearl! πŸ˜‰ I appreciate your comment.

  3. Brilliant post. So deeply honest and provides us with a close-in-sight to the actual and not the perceptual. Only the one who is the container for grief and other expressions of self, can truly convey the depth within the cup. Your blog is providing a clear reference for others and through the lens of the one who is living and being whatever it is that wants to express we benefit. At one time I served the population you wrote about and sitting across the table from women who are so courageous beyond words had a tremendous impact on me. Thank you Stephanie for teaching creative writing is like encouraging the intake of the best possible medicine.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I don’t meet too many people who have served a prison population, so it’s wonderful to meet a kindred spirit. Yes, that life experience in transforming. Sending love and good will. . .;-)

  4. Blogs change by necessity over time since we change by necessity over time (and if you aren’t changing, you are dead). I can relate to changing blogs, since my current is not my first. It’s why I decided to simply start a blog with my name, since everything I write, even if it is not my current state, is a reflection of who I was, am, and will be.

    Perhaps this time, just keep the blog and see where it goes? Just a thought.

    (Btw, I think myself to be a fair critic of good writing, and you are a good writer. Never stop putting your heart into your words and it will remain so. πŸ™‚ )

  5. I can connect with a couple of the feelings you write about. I was very critical of what I wrote, so I’d pass it off to some friends who were published authors. They’d love my work much of the time, but I still struggled to judge things for myself.

    Grammar is not the problem. That’s learned. But plotting, organizing, and injecting heart into a piece…that’s what sets a writer apart from a “tactician.” It takes time to develop into a writer, and you have an ability from what I read here. Just keep reading others and studying the various styles. It’s what I do; it’s what most aspiring writers do.

    Also, I fight with anxiety and depression which I have learned to manage…for the most part. Like you, I get surprised by my feelings sometimes. But that too is a life-long lesson. Keep doing what you do and listen to your heart!

    Thank you for visiting my site today. Let me know what you think…

    Take care,

    1. What a kind and supportive comment. Thank you. Good advice. I read your blog about Looking Back to 1963—I was 11 years old. The next year I would swoon to the Beatles! Change and growth. . .the common theme in all of our lives, regardless of age.

      1. We are then about the same age, as I believe I was in 6th grade…(about 10-11 years old) myself! I remember our teacher stopping class, and turning on a radio to listen to the reports of President Kennedy’s tragedy as they came in.

        Yes, it is said the very definition of life is change. Everything in life moves on. I’m not sure if people change life or if life changes people. Either way, few things remain the same.

        Thank you for your comment, (compliment too), it is always appreciated! We will be talking often I think…at least I hope we will. I wish you continued success!

        Take care,
        Skip πŸ™‚

  6. You have such a smiling face .It seems like depression would put you last on its list.
    What is that…something about face being the index of the mind??!!

  7. Hi Stephanie, thanks for visiting my blog! And I share your view on medication too, it should always be the last resort.

  8. Nice reflection, and interesting that you came upon a post of mine that is uncharacteristic of my usual stuff. I try to give myself permission to be where I am–even if it doesn’t match a certain topic or persona with which I spend a lot of time. Thanks for the like.

  9. Thank you for checking out my Blog and the like on my post Artistic Licence.
    Having a read a few of your posts I think you may enjoy my post Support your local food bank. I do mention health and well being from time to time as well.
    Good luck with your blog – i hope this one turns out as you hope it will.

  10. I like your gentle take on mental health –staying with your anger/sadness/affliction until it teaches you something, that I can relate to. I have cradled, hated, ignored, neglected, been burned and wallowed in my own anger for a while, and I hope that I have learned enough, now, to set myself on the path to recovery.
    PS: thanks for the Like on my blog.

  11. Hi there,
I nominated your blog for the Liebster Award! Congratulations! If you hate me for that just ignore this. It means I enjoy reading your blog and you have under 200 followers and someone nominated me so I’m paying it forward! So now the request is that you do the same – answer the following 11 questions, nominate 11 (I only had 6) blogs under 200 followers you like, and relish in the glow of the Liebster.
    AND Your Questions Are (answer long or short, one word or fifty, I don’t care)…
    1)What was the last thing you said?
    2) What are you doing after 5pm today?
    3) What would you do for a profession (anything) if you knew you would succeed?
    4) Favorite quote?
    5) Do you search forever to find a close parking spot or just park and walk?
    6) How do you deal with anger?
    7) Have you ever had shark?
    8) Gold or silver?
    9) What is your primary responsibility?
    10) What’s one thing you want to know about me (not that I’ll answer)?
    11) Pet peeve?

  12. Hi, thank you for starting to follow my blog, which lead me to yours – I enjoyed reading some of your posts and then read this page. Wow, I like what you have wrote and “to be with your anger/sadness long enough that you can learn it’s lessons. Beautiful and true! Thank you, Stephanie!

  13. You had liked one of my blogs The Art of Imperfection, thank you for that. As I start to read your blog I can tell I’m going to very much enjoy reading more.

  14. Thank you for visiting me, I am fairly new to all this and appreciate it. Sending warm wishes to you from Manchester, UK.

  15. Hey Stephanie,
    Thanks for liking one of my poems. Yours is a great blog! This life is better for having you be a part of it!

  16. Raw, unrestrained truth… it sets us free every.single.time. I’m new to the blogging world and your words bring me comfort. Life is moveable, pliable, dynamic, ever-changing… I’m so glad you didn’t give up after your last attempts. Your blog is awesome! Don’t change a thing! Peace as you travel onward!

  17. What you wrote: ” What I say is that I am dancing a dance of un-felt grief, inviting the stars and moon to join me. I am constantly awakening to life again and again with no destination point in sight.”

    Reminded me of my favourite quote: “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain…”

  18. Thank you so much for stopping by our blog. Very pleased to have found you. Every day, hundreds of people stop by our deli/bakery to refuel. 99% of them smile and we smile back. Some stop by for the comfort of food, but also because stopping by is a ritual that brings joy to their day. We say this because they have told us. We say this because their smiles bring joy to our days more often than they will ever know. It has nothing to do with their purchases (which are quite appreciated of course). It has a lot to do with the fact that in each brief encounter sorrows are left behind for a moment (we all carry sorrow) and we uplift each other. Again, thank you for stopping by our blog. Enjoy the week.

  19. They say writing is a journey of discovery and of healing, It is one of the reasons I write too. thank you for following my blog. πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the LIKE. You share some deep and brave thoughts here, so awesome and appreciated. May you continue to grow and learn. πŸ™‚ Karen

  21. Thank you for reading my blog. It’s the second one as I start my new life. The first was the changes I had to go through after my husband passed away. Words are so calming and I hope to write full time one day.

    Bye for now

    South Africa

  22. Hi Stephanie, thanks for visiting my site. I appreciate your honest & soulful perspective. We do need containers and processes to handle our sorrows. Even though I write about good news, I accept my feelings and the cycles of life. Thanks, brad

  23. Oh this has hit home like a huge and heavy 2 by 4! Maybe even a 2 by 12! I so appreciate your openness and real words for my heart and mind and soul, Stephanie. I read May Sarton years ago and need to refind her. I loved her then because her words were real for me then. Looks like hers and yours are right for me now! I live with sorrows of personal loss and of the many sorrows of this world too, as you wrote. I also get those same responses from caring people but they do not know what is going on inside. May we find our ways to process and live through them each and all. Thank you for visiting me @ Being Woven for I came here. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  24. Communication is a way of dealing with sorrow, sadness, grief or feeling lost. Finding a way of expressing your thoughts is one way of dealing with it and it can be good path and treatment for the troubled person.

  25. Hi Stephanie, thank you for following my new little blog. I have been moved by your words. I have been sad for many years… before some big change of direction in my life took me out of it. I wish you the same luck. I ll come and read you again.

  26. Life happens and while it shapes us we feel sad. For me sadness is the transition time, while the muddy water settles. I also go with it, embrace it and release it. I’ve found in life that the wisest people have been through a lot of hard times. While those who’ve lived easy, gentle lives are completely unprepared for hardship. I can see through your writing you are a wise person and that makes you valuable in our world.

  27. I just noticed the badge, ‘Featured on Freshly Pressed’. Congrats on that. After reading your about page, I can see why you would have a post picked for it. Very articulate writing πŸ˜‰

  28. Medication is not the answer! AGREED! I always turn to meds LAST! There is so many natural cures out there, and so many of them have been forgotten.

  29. maybe you and I could collaborate. you are a terrific writer. i have enjoyed your blog. mine has been hit and miss due to life… but time has made its way into my life. πŸ™‚

  30. So happy to have found your blog, Stephanie, and thanks for visiting mine. We have a lot in common. Very much looking forward to reading more of your work.

  31. Wonderful post. I, too, lived with sadness as my constant companion for many, many years. In spiritual terms my question was: is it possible to be joyful regardless of the circumstances? Life answered me in strong terms: I developed extremely painful rheumatoid arthritis and then my older son died of cancer. These griefs finally led me to the other side of sadness which is surrender. Now I am joyful nearly everyday. I can’t quite explain it – only be grateful for it. Bless you in your journey. Marie

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