depression

Take back your life one thing at a time

It is T-17 days until I turn 40, and I am surprised at how that base 10 number is affecting me.  It is not that I feel old, it is more that I am looking back on my life to this point and wondering what (if anything) I have done with it.

This is a self portrait I made May 13, 2014, I think you can see how I felt.

I would never say that I have wasted my life, but the last several years have been empty and devoid of meaning and purpose.  I lost myself.  This isn't a midlife crisis or anything of the sort. A couple years ago I fell into the deepest depression I have ever experienced.  Through it, I disconnected from everything and everyone I ever loved.  I lost almost all of my friends, and I don't blame them. I was not a good person to be around.

Nothing made me laugh. Everything made me cry.  I couldn't feel anything at all.  I didn't/couldn't care about any aspect of my or anyone else's life.  It is hard for me to explain to someone who hasn't gone there what a black hole my life was.  I hope no one reading this has ever been in a place like that.  It was a vacuous pain no one ever needs to feel.

Since I came back, it has been really hard for me to reconnect to my life. Everything seems distant. Those connections didn't magically reform, and I don't expect them to.  I have to do the work, and that is what this series is about.

11 Years ago was my first Book Launch Party...

My Book Launch Party at the Wine Rack/Java Stop for Liquid Sky.

My first and only Book Launch Party was 11 years ago today...  When I think about it, it was my only book launch party.  Liquid Sky, my first novel had just come out.  You can see how happy I am in the picture.

If the depression I just talked about was the lowest I have ever felt, this was probably the best.  After years of writing, the fourth book I had written was right there in print for anyone to read.  Even now, when I think about it, I can't help but smile.

I don't know why I didn't celebrate the release of any of my other books. In fact, I hadn't realized that I hadn't until I started writing this.  That is something that has to change.

8 years after this, we bought the Wine Rack... Everything should have been great, but by January the next year I tweeted:

By July, I had completely fallen off the cliff.  It's not like everything was all good before that.  All this had built up for years, and the collapse took years away from me.  

Stopping Everything Stops Everything

Leading up to this depression, I had stopped podcasting, because I didn't enjoy doing it by myself.  I stopped blogging because I couldn't see the point of it.  I stopped writing because the stories weren't perfect.  I stopped going out because it felt pointless.  I stopped everything then everything stopped.

I am not saying my depression was my fault.  Depression isn't something that can be blamed on its victim.  What I am saying is that the problems mounted one on another until I was buried so deep I couldn't breathe.  I didn't see it coming. I couldn't see it from the inside.

Now that I am on the other side, putting my life back together has been more of a challenge than I want it to be.  Not like life cares.  Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Starting One thing at a time.

To get my life back, I realize that I am going to have to start up one thing at a time.

For me that means I have to start with my first love, writing.

I love to tell stories.  I don't care if they are books, short stories, podcasts, or prose poems.  I just love to tell stories.  Even in my darkest moments, I tried to write, but I allowed the perfect to be the enemy of the good.  I wrote nothing because the stories weren't the greatest thing ever.  How stupid is that?!

My stories are my stories.  They are my heart.  Whether or not anyone likes them other than me, they are my stories.  I don't have to care what anyone else thinks about them.  All that matters is that I like them.

That is where I have to start.  You might have a different starting point, and you probably will, but each and every one of us has something in our lives that gives us a sense of purpose or meaning. I have to write something, anything every day until that connection comes back strong in my life.

Every day, leading up to my 40th birthday, I am going to find one thing to celebrate or reconnect to.  I hope you join me on my journey.  I am taking my life back, and I urge you to do the same.

Please share your journey with me.  Let's walk this road together.

A Look forward to 2015: There and Never Going Back

2014 was a crazy year, and I mean that literally.  I spent most of the last quarter in deep depression, and I am glad to say that I am doing a lot better now.

I started out the year working on a Zine, technically a micropub magazine (dashPunk).  I wish things would have gone that way.  I was really excited about the project, even though I knew it would have been a lot of work. 

On January 29, I brought Project: Shadow back and started working on changing the nature of my work.  I wish I would have stuck with it, but more about that in a minute.

I didn't go ahead with the Zine because I felt like it wasn't a good fit for what I was trying to do.  It cost so much to do something that should be a lot easier, and I wasn't willing to charge people enough money to make it profitable.  I didn't want to loose money on the project, so I abandoned it.

I should have seen what was coming before I did.  On July 14, I noted in my journal that certain things were starting to freak me out.  On September 22, the depression hit.  It held on like nothing I have ever experienced before.  It smothered me in its embrace until December 16. 

I learned a lot while living under those shadows, important things.  I learned who my real friends are, and just how many people included me in their life as someone who could be useful to them.  My friends weathered the storm with me.  I am grateful to them.

As you know, I like to give names to important parts of my life.  I think I will remember this period as The Pruning.  I learned what was really important to me, and I cut away everything else.

On my Social Media life and Business

I want to start looking back by looking at the numbers starting with those from ThinkUp.

Number of Posts

  • In 2014, @cedorsett posted a total of 829 tweets. At 15 seconds per tweet, that amounts to 3 hours and 27 minutes. @cedorsett's followers probably appreciated it (ThinkUp).
  • This year, I posted a grand total of 963 times on Facebook. If each status update and comment took about 15 seconds, that's over 4 hours dedicated to keeping in touch with friends (ThinkUp).

I feel like I haven't been social and open enough about what is going on and what I have been up to.  While it sounds like I spent a lot of time posting, that came in fits and spurts. 

  • My longest tweeting streak lasted for 26 days, from August 4th to August 29th (ThinkUp).
  • I posted at least one status update or comment to Facebook for 57 days in a row, from January 1st to February 26th (ThinkUp).

Words per Month on Twitter

Words per Month on Facebook

As you can see from the graph, I started out the year strong, and had a increase around Shore Leave, but the general trend line was down.

Part of that was my disillusionment with social media, and part of that was the depression that crept up on me throughout the year.  I need to be more open, and I am looking for ways to share more and to be more helpful to you all.  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

  • I entered a grand total of 10,071 words into the Twitter data entry box, reaching peak wordage in January, with 2,650 words. If @cedorsett were writing a book, that would be about 37 pages (ThinkUp).
  • I tapped 17,031 words into Facebook's status update or comment box, topping out with 5,520 words in January. If Eric Dorsett were writing a book, that would be about 62 pages (ThinkUp).

The most interesting thing to me is that I talked more about writing on twitter and my books and books in general on Facebook.  I also talked more about movies on Twitter.

Moving forward

I need to go back to what I had originally intended to do.  I need to "think out loud" on the blogs and through my social posts.

On that front, I set up a Known site and I plan on making that my social hub, but I will repost from their to my other accounts.  I don't enjoy Facebook, and I really never have.  After 8 years on Twitter, I don't feel like I am getting out of it what I used to.  I am not leaving those services, but I feel like I need to build out a site has the social qualities I want it to have.  That is what I hope the Known site will become.

For now, I am the only one that can post there, anyone can comment and like.  Early on, I will invite others to post individually.  Hopefully, once it is up and running, I will open up the registration to everyone.  The reason is, when I first set up the site it was open, and it was flooded by spammers.  I locked it down, and am now looking for ways to fix that problem.

I want to get the podcast up and running again, but I need your help with that.  I need to know what you want to talk about, and how it can be of service to you.

This year will hopefully be a turning point in my life and my work.  I hope it is for you too.  I can't wait to see what we can do together.