I haven’t written much lately.

I haven’t felt like writing much lately.

I could beat around the bush, throw out any number of excuses about my enduring lack of productivity, but they’d all be exactly that – excuses. I’m not all that comfortable with this particular depth of honesty, but because I’m working on rejecting shame and embracing truth, I want to be honest with myself. And with whoever happens to read this, if anyone.

I’ve been struggling, recently, with depression and anxiety, and a touch of OCD. I’ve been working on this, with all the accompanying ups and downs, for about 10 years now, but I’ve been in a down swing lately, one I’m still trying to crawl out of.

Anyone who’s experienced it, whether directly or through a loved one, will know how these conditions most often manifest. Beyond the obvious constant lowness and unshakeable, paralysing fear, there’s the headaches, the aches and pains, the exhaustion and inability to focus, the feeling of dread and disconnection, the loss of interest in the things you used to love.

I love writing. It’s one thing I know I can do, one thing that always made me happy, but for the past 6 months or so, I’ve struggled to write a word.

Things are better now then they were last month, or 3 months ago, or late last year, but putting words on paper is still proving a challenge. These words are especially challenging – it is, understandably, not something I enjoy talking about. Perhaps I’m hoping by forcing myself to express it, I’ll be more able to overcome the problem. I’m not quite sure. But I know that keeping things to myself, bottling them up, doesn’t work.

I don’t like talking about those things – it’s a vulnerability I’m not accustomed to and not at ease with – but my belief in the importance of dialogue is stronger than my discomfort. There’s a stigma attached to mental illness. People don’t want to talk about it, and this in turn makes it harder for people to seek help. It’s a cycle that needs to stop. If for every person that rejects shame and speaks out, another finds the strength to ask for help, then I’ll happily embrace the discomfort.

I’m more than my illness. This post is proof enough for me. Some days it may beat me, but right now, more often than not, I’m okay – and I’m hoping, just maybe, I might be ready to start writing again.