As I write this, I should be doing homework. The end of the semester is fast approaching and so are deadlines for portfolios, final projects, and essays. But here I am, writing on a blog I barely look at, talking about something I should be working on instead of doing it.
I’ll try not to talk too much about the problems I’m having while trying to complete one of my final projects, but I will say that the video editing software I’m using won’t work. That’s not the point of this post. The point is to talk about my depression. It’s to talk about how before the program stopped working, before I lost an hour of progress, before I emailed my professor to say that I won’t be completing the project tonight, I stared at the computer for an hour incapable of doing anything.
Before I could start this project, I had to work up the energy to actually do it. Let me tell you, there are so many things that I can do that take less energy than this project. Social media is one. Writing this blog post is another. A depression shower. Drinking another soda. More social media. Staring at the wall. Staring at Adobe Premiere, just hoping I’ll be able to figure it out (I couldn’t). Crying. The list goes on.
It just took so much energy, so much willpower, just to open the project, just to try to start it. I’m sure many of you will think something along the lines of “You sound so lazy. Stop procrastinating and do your work”. I’m sure I do sound lazy, but it isn’t my laziness that’s stopping me from doing my homework. I would give anything to be able to get through this project. I would love to be able to focus on my project, or even start it at all. But it isn’t that easy.
My depression keeps me from doing a lot of things. Sometimes getting out of bed just takes too much energy. Most of the time I can push through. I push through my mental illnesses every single day, but a lot of times I can’t. I just don’t have the energy to do something so simple. Something, that if the stars were aligned and the program was working, would not even take that long. But I just can’t do it.
Trichotillomania is a god awful mental illness. If you haven’t heard of Trich, it’s something called a Body Focused Repetitive Behavior or BFRB where the person who has Trich will compulsively pull out their hair. They often do this to the point of giving themselves bald spots. Look it up. It’s wild.
I’ve had Trich for 12 years. I remember when I pulled out my first hair. I never thought I would and up where I am now. I have no eyebrows, no eyelashes. I have shaved my head. I have huge bald spots on my head and places where the hair will never grow the same. Yet here I am. I love myself more than I ever have, despite the human incarnation of a naked mole rat.
I won’t tell you that this was an easy place to get to. It took years and years for me to love myself. I won’t tell you that this isn’t something I struggle with every single day. I’d be lying to you if I did. But I have never loved myself more.
I think having Trich has put me in the position of self love. I have learned to appreciate my body and my brain for what it is. I’m a mess. But that’s okay. It’s okay to not have it together. Trich helped me learn that. I’ve learned to appreciate the other parts of me that aren’t physical. I’m trying my best to take the bad of my disorder and turn it around, to look at myself in the mirror after the pounds of make up and think “I am just as good without this. I am worthy of self love”.
I think Trich has helped me love others, too. I try my best to have enough self love to share. When I see a girl and I think she looks nice, I tell her. I think that comes from living with this disorder for so long. I used to resent other girls who were more beautiful than me. I try my best not to do that anymore. I am not in competition with these women. They deserve to value themselves just as much as I value myself. I complement them on their looks, their outfits, their successes and they are genuinely surprised and flattered.
So much love has come from such a nasty disorder. Without Trichotillomania, I would never have gotten to where I am. I would never have learned to love others. I would never have learned to value who I am for more than just how I look. I would never have learned to love who I am, no questions asked.
For a very long time I’ve been aspiring to write a novel. I’ve written some short stories (*cough* fanfiction) before, so the idea of writing a novel has been very daunting. I started during NaNoWriMo last November, but I have not made nearly enough progress.
I kept blaming this on my busy schedule, lack of writing time, writer’s block, etc. But I finally realized what the problem was. It’s not the writer’s block, which I have plenty of. It’s not the busy schedule or lack of free time to be devoted to writing. It’s none of the et cetera. It’s the fact that I don’t think my writing is good enough. It’s me writing and thinking every word has to be perfect and that that the continuity has to be perfect the first time around. It’s a rough draft for goodness sake. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.
I realized finally that I should just keep writing. Just put my ideas down in words and then fix it up later. Even force the words to come out even if it doesn’t sound as good as I’d like it to. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It will never be perfect. Hell, there are finished, published, best selling novels that are absolute garbage compared to my first draft (rhymes with smifty blades of spray, we’ve all read at least a few chapters, don’t pretend).
I feel like this is a problem with so many writers and not just a personal problem for me. We should be focusing on the story first and letting the words take us. Maybe if we all stopped being perfectionists, we could all be as rich as the author of Fifty Shades of Gray.