More and more people tell me to do what makes me happy. Writing makes me happy. Whether I’m writing a poem, a short story, a novel, or blog journal post; writing makes me happy. Lately it doesn’t feel like anything else makes me happy. Nothing really. Sometimes coworkers make work fun but it’s not something that makes me happy. I mean truly happy like this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Something I feel within my soul reminding me why I’m alive and why I was born. Writing is the only thing that has given me that feeling.
I look back on things I’ve done and things I thought I enjoyed. I feel everything led me to this point. Everything made me who I am; who I’m supposed to be. This realization comes with one fear. I believe I’m supposed to be alone on this journey. Every experience, every encounter, every person I’ve met; it feels like it all is telling me to let go of everything and pursue this adventure alone. I don’t want to be alone. I’ve always felt alone. Why would the Universe tell me my journey is a lonely one?
I’ve heard people say writing is a lonely craft. That’s not true for everyone. Most writers have an editor. Sometimes it’s a close friend. Sometimes it’s a professional who becomes a friend. Some writers have a core group of people they trust to read the early drafts of their work. I’ve tried and failed to find this. People express interest but not much else. When I approach them with my work, I think they’re surprised like they didn’t expect me to follow through. So, I write five different drafts until I feel satisfied and either self-publish or submit to online magazines. I get many rejection letters.
Everyone says that is the life of the writer. Even the great writers had many rejections. Add those rejections to the personal rejections in life. I mean finding the courage to talk to your crush and getting rejected. I mean trying to make new friends and then they disappear and ignore all your attempts at communication. I mean the rejection one feels everyday added to rejections that say your writing isn’t good enough. All those hours you spent improving your story didn’t improve it enough. Rejection on top of rejection on top of more rejections. Not including rejections from childhood that stay with you.
Many writers struggle but most have a support system to help them keep going. Family and friends who tell them not to give up and keep at it. Never give up; never surrender. I don’t have that support. I share my writing and most people ignore it. I share a cat video, and everyone loves it. How do I keep going? The only answer I can think of is writing makes me happy. Nothing else in the world brings me that kind of joy so the rejections don’t break my resolve. I know I’m depressed when I’m not writing.
Writing gets my emotions out. Writing releases my thoughts so they don’t bottle up. It’s therapeutic. But it’s not enough. I’m seeking help but I still need a support system. I need friends and family. I gave up on my family years ago. I keep trying to find new friends, but I don’t think they want to put them time in on me. Maybe I’m too much for them. Maybe they think I’m a basket case. Maybe they don’t care about my writing or if I’m alive or dead. I’d have given up by now if not for writing. Sadly, writing has yet to help me pay the bills. I guess I’ll keep writing until it does.
Don’t you think that you need somebody? Don’t you think that you need someone? Everybody needs somebody You’re not the only one
Guns N’ Roses – November Rain
Loneliness – the dreadful, gnawing sense of abandonment and despair that comes from knowing that no one in the world suffers as you do – can be devastating. Worse still, you often feel as though you deserve it, because you’re somehow less than other people – less capable, less valid, less … human.
I used to feel this way a lot. I still do, sometimes, although as I’ve gotten older and weathered the storms of depression I’ve learned that even despair passes with time, and that even the loneliest among us aren’t really alone. It doesn’t change the feeling itself – in the moment, when the black closes in around you, you know beyond any doubt that you are utterly, completely alone.
It isn’t true, though. Not really.
Humans, by nature, need companionship. We crave it. We want it with every fiber of our being, and yet … sometimes we reject it. Sometimes, even when a friend comes knocking, we fail to answer the door. When a hand reaches out in the dark, we see it – and turn the other way.
I used to wonder about this. I used to think that loneliness could be a kind of strength, a measure of how deep my depression ran. That, somehow, being alone meant I was validated in my despair, that it was … okay, I guess, to feel so miserable. And I would see overtures from friends and family, and I would actively push them away, driving them off like rats with a stick.
I used to wonder why I was like this. Why on earth did I reject others’ attempts to help me? Why did I want to be alone?
The answer, I believe, lies in the belief of self-worth. Many of us, especially here on this blog, struggle with feeling valid, with believing that we’re worth something. Something deep inside triggers us into feeling that, no matter what, we don’t deserve the love of friends, family, colleagues … that, simply put, we aren’t worth the effort.
I know this feeling all too well. It once was bad enough that I remember thinking that I was punishing the world simply by being alive – that the air I was breathing would be better suited to someone else. I wanted to die, not only because of the depth of my misery, but because it somehow felt that it would be fairer to those around me to just not have to worry about me anymore.
But here’s what I’ve learned over the years. What you feel doesn’t change how others feel. Your beliefs don’t affect those of the people around you. And it’s possible to be wrong.
You see, from the moment you’re born to the moment you die, there are people who care about you. And the don’t care because they must – they care because they want to. There are, of course, varying levels of care, based on the feelings of sadness and hurt when you suffer, but there are so many, many more people in the world that care about you than you know.
Because every single word you utter, every sentence you type, every glance you give, affects the people you know – and sometimes the people you don’t. I don’t know you – we’ve never met – but I care. James here at The Bipolar Writer cares – for crying out loud, he’s even offered his phone number publicly! And believe me that the people who do know you care even more.
I attended a funeral last year for a friend of mine. If I’m honest (I hope he forgives me), he was no one special. He didn’t write books; he didn’t make movies. He wasn’t famous. Sometimes he was depressed; sometimes he didn’t want to carry on, especially towards the end. But he did; he powered through his cancer until the bitter end, because he wasn’t alone. And nowhere was this more evident than at the outpouring of love at his funeral. Yes, there were tears – but more than that, there were laughs, and good memories, and a sense of companionship between the rest of us who live: brought together by one person.
So what I’m trying to say here is simple: you’re not the only one to suffer. And you aren’t alone in your suffering. Every one of us here at The Bipolar Writer has, in one fashion or another, been in your shoes; we know what it’s like. We care. So do many. And the community James has built here should help you understand this simple idea: