and i am nothing of a builder

When you really want to write something — anything at all — but your goddamn depression is sitting on your chest, making it really really hard to even reach the keyboard, so you end up with a folder of abandoned drafts.

And you feel like shit because you aren’t making anything, or creating anything, or actually doing anything.  And you desperately want to make something, but whenever you start, depression wraps itself around you and whispers in your ear, “Why bother? You know how much you suck.”

And you know that depression lies, but you listen to it anyway, and you don’t even know why, but you do. It’s like you can’t tune it out and ignore it, even though it’s getting in between you and the thing you love to do more than anything else.

And that folder of abandoned drafts starts to feel like a monument to your own failure, and even though you could just delete it, you don’t because you know there’s something decent in there, and you just have to find it somehow.

Because you know that you have a good life, and you know that you do some cool things, and you know that you can make things, that you have made things, you decide to stand up, even with the weight of depression doing everything it can to hold you down.

And you struggle. And you push. And you struggle some more.

And finally you stand up. And you take a deep breath, and then you fall down again.

And then you try to stand up again, and you start to wonder if you’re just feeling sorry for yourself, but then depression reminds you that you’re not feeling sorry for yourself, you’re just acknowledging that you’re the least talented of all your friends and everyone knows it but you.

And then you remember that depression lies, so you keep trying to stand up and push it off, and believe in yourself.

And it’s really fucking hard.

226 thoughts on “and i am nothing of a builder”

  1. Hm. My twitter permission seems to not function today. It’s me, Melissa, aka: mimi.
    I’m sorry you’re having a rough go. Chin up, babies are smiling for you.

  2. Oof. Yeah I know that one. All too well.

    Also, thanks for writing posts like this. It sucks and it’s hard (even harder to hit that damn publish button) but it’s nice to know you’re not alone. One of the reasons I like you and the Bloggess so much, you don’t pretend it’s not there in your blogging. You acknowledge it and share it, helping us not feel like we’re alone in this crap. Hope that lying prick pisses off soon.

  3. Depression is one of the most misunderstood illnesses. Because not only does it affect the mind, it affects the body. The sleeplessness, undetermined pains, increased appetite followed by complete loss of apetite, etc. None of these physical symptoms help with the mental symptoms. And everything is dark. If not dark, then just dull grey.
    I struggled with serious depression and anxiety for years. After three years of active therapy and some occasional bouts of medication everything is under control about 90 % of the time which is a relief. It didn’t come easy and I didn’t just “snap out of it” (the most useless piece of advice anyone can give to a depressed person). I think I was just lucky. I still get those “can’t sleep, can’t feel, can’t eat, pains everywhere” episodes, usually in autumn and spring.
    Keep on getting up. Because you only need to read these comments to notice that you are not alone and there are a lot of people who want to help you stay up and will extend a hand when you need it. None of us think the less of you for having these issues, I think it makes us think you’re awesome because you’re still here and you have brought us all joy.

  4. Near my computer, on the wall, where I see it a lot, I keep a note that Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes originally sent to her followers on FB. It goes:

    “Dear Brave soul: Finish one thing, dammit. With Love, Dr E.”

    For some reason that little note keeps me going, doing small creative projects that my energy levels can manage, putting one foot in front of the other, giving me creations to be proud of that never existed before I did them.

    Any form of creativity is a kind of magic. Something from nothing. Something only that one person can do or say in just that way. No-one said it would be easy, but, from one Brave Soul to another, keep making the magic, Wil!

  5. OK, Mr Wheaton, Wil: with more than two hundred comments before mine, I cannot hope to read them all or expect you to read mine, but I’d like you to know this: I’ve recently undertaken certain creative activities just because I felt like it. I have finished some and some others are lying around, not abandoned and as a testament to my being a bad writer, but just waiting for me to pick them up. And it’s all been because of you, Wil Wheaton, encouraging us people to be creative (and, truth be told, a little hekp from your equally encouraging friend Neil Gaiman, too). For that, Mr Wheaton, I thank you.

    I guess what I mean is: you actually accomplish much more than you know, than we all let you know. Your life is full of successes you are not even aware of. So, once again, thanks, Wil.

  6. You’re definitely not the least talented of your friends.

    Because I think I’m your friend.

    And I’m a lot less talented than you.

    I know, because my depression tells me so.

  7. When I struggle through a day, I usually work through a checklist.
    Have I killed anyone today? No. I’m doing ok.
    Have I robbed a bank or welfare office? No. I’m doing ok.
    Have I poisoned any rivers or cut down any forests? No. I’m doing ok.
    Big hugs for you Mr Wheaton.
    When I had depression in high school because I was interested in science when everyone else believed the bible literally, Wesley Crusher was my shining ray of hope.
    Keep trucking, things will improve.

  8. Wil, I have missed seeing you on the television in the Star Trek series, which is a great coup for you. There is no doubt that you have what it takes. I too suffer from depression, and have for years. Thank God I found a good psychiatrist that prescribed an antidepressant. The first type didn’t work, but I stuck with it and on the second med (Paraxatene) not sure of spelling… but either way, it saved my life and evened me out so that were no extremes. My creativity is able to flourish because I am medicated. And there is no shame associated with medical assistance with a disease! If there is someone who disagrees, I say #$%^&*() ’em.

    Keep up the contact, and wish you good health. We are two of a kind, with the nasty D word, and debilitating sadness and hopelessness.

  9. The best coping mechanism I’ve found for depression is to stay busy with low-stakes activity. If you can’t write at the moment, do the dishes. If the dishes feel overwhelming, wash one single dish. If you can’t wash one dish, walk the dog. Or walk yourself. Just don’t lie on the couch. The couch perpetuates depression.

  10. Amen, Wil. Take some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. I think the most aggravating part certainly is when you’ve dealt with it for so long that the Depression becomes its own entity, a self-aware, evil little demon that mocks your every thought, every feeling, every perception. You start to question reality itself and it only gets worse as Depression eventually begins to rob you of your escapes, your requiems, those little activities or pursuits you delve into in an attempt to isolate yourself, not necessarily from other people or the outside world, but from the demon inside; and yet somehow the little bastard even manages to invade your deepest, most private and sacred sanctuaries. Fighting back is a bitch and its exhausting, seemingly leaving your mind too fatigued, even in those times when the demon lets up or hibernates for a spell, to pursue things you know you should enjoy at the most profound and the most primal levels. As an artist, it’s been that way for me with my creative pursuits and goals my whole life, with my career as a game developer, and my status as a husband and a father, even my faith and every other aspect of my existence. I don’t know any tricks, I don’t have any magic bullet solutions (pretty certain there’s no such thing). I just know to keep fighting, to stand back up and ask the demon, “Is that all you got?” and keep limping towards my goals. Standing back up is really hard, especially when you never can seem to predict where the next blow will come from. And I’m not going to lie: there have been times when I’m pretty sure I was having to crawl because I couldn’t even limp (feels like I’ve been in one of those for the last few months, actually). Just keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep hoping. Keep believing.

  11. I am absolutely living this right now. You just put down words to define the massive amount of heavy frakking bricks I feel on top of me. I forget so easily that depression lies, and every night for a while now I’ve gone to bed thinking, “I’ll deal with it better tomorrow.” Reading this makes that feel more real.

  12. You just summed up six years of my life in this whole entry. I was looking at the screen and saying to my writing assistant and friends, “Yup, that’s me. That too. Yup, that’s me again.”
    Thank you.

  13. I find it interesting that you exhibit what I think is your greatest gift when you struggle the most; the ability to connect with others and elicit a visceral response. Depression does lie and it fails miserably in suppressing your talents. Having spent most of my 51 years fighting this battle, you have no idea the difference it makes to know that I truly don’t have to go alone. Thanks.

  14. It is hard to overcome your inner demons, but you’ve done it and now others can look at you, Wil Wheaton and be inspired.

    Have you given any thought to my “interview” request? (My 5×5 series)
    You’re eternal optimism and childlike sense of wonder would be a perfect fir for my blog.

  15. I thought i was the only one who feels that way. Thank you for being able to put into words what some of us can’t and for making the world seem less lonely. Be well.

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