Why do I struggle to write?
It’s a good question. I’m not sure of the answer. As I write this and think about publishing and writing I feel a sense of unease. My face feels flush, my tear ducts sting. I’m emoting but I’m not sure what I’m feeling. Is it fear? Is it pain? Frustration? Sadness? Overwhlem?
A friend of mine explained to me what she noticed as the difference between sadness and depression. She said that sadness was a clean, clear emotion where are depression had a cloudy, dirty feeling. After taking some time to practice attending to my emotions I’ve experienced a similar difference. It’s in my anger and frustration too. I think my clarity of thought is reduced when I’m experiencing depressive emotions as aposed to normal emotions.
As I continue to write this the emotions feel less present. I’m not sure if they are “normal” or “depressive”. I think it’s more depressive as I am a little paralyzed. I struggle to make a decision, to start, to stop even. They aren’t gone. The sense of flush, or tingling or what ever it is still in my face, just above my left eye actually.
I’m reading a book at the moment called The Body Keeps Score which talks (among other things!) about the impact of PTSD, disassociation and other mental health issues. It introduced me to a new word, Alexithymia, which describes a persons inability to identify and describe emotions in themselves and others. I feel that. Or, well, I think that is something I have experienced. More so in my ability to recognise and describe emotions in my self than in others. Perhaps that helps me explain my inability to express this feeling.
It’s not just that writing is scary though. While I think I am terrified of what other people will say when they read my writing, theres no reason to do the writing. There’s not much of a positive reward that I get from writing. I guess the writing in an of itself isn’t enough to overcome the inertia I feel before I find some time to write. Or enough to get me to block some time in my diary / routine for writing (something I am aware I should do struggle to bring myself to do).
I’ve got no community of people that, when I do some writing, will read it and say “Hey! Well done, I enjoyed reading that”. Even if that is a lie, that positive reinforcement would (I think) help me start developing a feeling of reward from writing.
I could post on my Twitter, Facebook, some SubReddit but few people engage and without that immediate kick of interest and discussion I can’t see how I can build a reward system that helps me do the write.
That said, this is absolutist, black or white thinking and when I attempt to step out of my short, axiety induced panic writing I can ask some pertinent questions:
- When was the last time told people about your writing? The asnwer is, a long time ago. Not in recent years.
- What are you scared of from publish your writing? I’m not certain, is it even fear? I’m almost too overwhelmed to coherently discern what emotional response stops me telling people about my writing. I guess I’m scared of it being bad? But I also know that everyone starts of bad and you only get better by doing it more.
If I were a CBT therapist in a session about writing asking these questions, hearing these answers, I think I would be saying “What small tests have you run that might strech your fear of telling people about your writing?”. Exposure therapy. Do it and learn that it is safe.
So at the end of this free writing session, which was actually prompted by a thought about how to make federated login for single page applications more secure, I guess I should do a couple of things:
- Save this file.
- Put it on my blog.
- Post a link to a close group of friends (Thanks enrolyourself for helping me build one of those).
- See that people respond positvely.