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A Promise to Do Better

do-betterI don’t “do” New Year Resolutions. I have almost always failed at them, and frankly, I don’t need to add to my list of shortcomings.

My one “resolution”, if you want to call it that, I mentioned in my comment on Katie’s New Year post: Do Better.

I’ve been in a slump, professionally and personally, for about two months now. I won’t go into specifics, because it’s boring, but I’ve had incredible anxiety and worries, and it’s all lead to me falling into that dark pit called Depression. I’ve mentioned my struggle with the Big D before. I never claimed to have it whipped, but for two years now, I’ve felt even. I’ve been coping. I’ve been happy. But all it takes is a series of unfortunate events to push you right back down.

I’m slowly but steadily finding my feet on level ground again. I’m re-engaging, both in real life and online. Anyone that knows me would have noticed that I’ve been unusually quiet on Twitter, not just on our blog account, but on my personal one, as well. I spent most of the Christmas break avoiding the laptop. I would check-in online via my phone, but to open the lid of the laptop and engage—well, that was just not appealing to me. The worst thing about that is that it also meant I wasn’t writing. That’s one of the ways you know you’re in a depression—you can’t bring yourself to do the thing you love.

It’s a new year and like Katie, I love to look at a blank slate. It’s a baptism, wiping away all the sins and the letdowns and failures of the past year. Truth be told, you can start fresh anytime you want to—you just have to be willing to do it. But there’s something to be said about having a set date on the calendar or some tangible milestone to give you that impetus. January 1st is as good as it gets.

So starting on Tuesday, I resolved to Do Better. So far it’s working. I feel more at peace. I’ve gotten a handle on the depression. As a result, I’m being a better mother and wife than I was. The anxieties haven’t gone away, nor has the situation that brought on the anxiety, but I am coping with it more productively than I was. (Then again, anything is more productive than laying in bed sleepless every night, spending all day cranky, and squeezing in cat naps when you should be cleaning or writing or cooking or anything else.)

And I am writing again. It’s a little forced, but I’m doing it. You would think that after winning NaNoWriMo two years in a row, it would all just come easy. Not so. I’m afraid. Afraid I don’t know what to write, afraid that I just don’t have the talent to sustain any kind of writing career, afraid of not being able to live up to my own exceedingly high expectations, afraid of letting everyone down. That’s one of the other signs of depression—it robs you of your confidence.

Thank God for Stephen King, then. I keep these two quotes (extracted from On Writing) nearby and I turn to them when I’m feeling unsure:

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

…You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.

Thank you for sticking with us here at A Common Sea. King also said, “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”  If you’re here, reading this, I take it as a sign that you believe in us. I can’t promise too much, but I can promise that as long as you continue to believe in us—in me—I will continue to Do Better.

Happy New Year!

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About Cate Tayler

Mom, Wife, Writer, Catholic, Thinker, Reader, Amateur Gourmand, 'Phins Fan, Superwoman--not always in that order. Fueled by passion and too much caffeine. Lost my cape--it's buried somewhere under that mountain of laundry. Once I find it, look out world!

Discussion

5 thoughts on “A Promise to Do Better

  1. The black dog seems to thrive at this time of year. Don’t worry or try to make excuses to others, you’d be surprised at how many of us have been there or have a permanent mailing address in the dog house.
    I am certainly in no position to prescribe an antidote nor would I as that just makes things worse. I get all prickly when someone says, you need to get out in the sunshine or I was blue but after a few hours in the garden…blah blah blah.
    It isn’t a passing thing, it isn’t a mood, my dear, it’s chemistry and, like a diabetic or haemophiliac, all the bootstrap pulling in the world ain’t gonna change it. Ya just gotta get through it and know there are days when the sun will shine and the dog will be somewhere else.
    And know there are others out here who are on your side.

    peace

    Posted by VB | January 4, 2013, 12:09
    • You are so right, it is chemistry. It took me a long time to come to terms with that and get the help I need to get me through. Some don’t really get it, and do think it’s all in your attitude. I had someone once tell me I just need to choose to be happy. Well, duh, I DO choose it! Sometimes my brain just won’t cooperate! Thank you for being one of the ones who get it. 🙂

      ~Lynn

      Posted by A Common Sea | January 5, 2013, 10:08
  2. Whoa, my friend , you are way too hard on yourself!!! “failure” “wiping away sins” , Cut yourself some slack. It’s ok to go for a period of time and not me on top of everything. Get yourself slightly above “level” before you try to give of yourself to others through your writing.
    It’s good that you can talk about your feelings, though, and hopefully it has/will help. { hugs }

    Pat

    Posted by Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice | January 4, 2013, 12:26

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