This time last year I was lost in my head, just a little. We were busy welcoming our first brand new filly, Defiant, and saying goodbye to my tiny hairless Chinese Crested named Fidget. It was a terribly bittersweet moment - I'd come home, full of joy over something silly the new foal had done, only to find my two year-old toy dog couldn't keep his body temperature regulated. Fully dressed I staggered into the shower, holding my little dog while my husband called the vet-tech we used for the horses. She didn't live far away, but it didn't matter. He started seizures and died before we could do anything. A new life comes and one is taken away. Call it childish, but that moment ruined my desire to spend time with the new foal. See, Fidget was my writing buddy. He was young and intelligent, listened far better than my aging, grumpy Chihuahua, Maximus did. He sat on my lap as I typed, watching the screen, huffing almost instinctively when I had a misspelling or grammar error. Even better, when the story or plot sucked, he would yawn and nose the keyboard in a bid to take over. Max, well, that grumpy old dog just wanted to bite me and pee on the computer. He wasn't a writer's helper, more my muse.
In the middle of the stress of pet misfortune there were other, far more serious things going on; anything and everything but writing. Looking back, I felt like the character from Edvard Munch's "The Scream."
In a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image thus:
"I was walking along a path with two friends —the sun was setting— suddenly the sky turned blood red —I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."
For an entire year, I felt like that. It made perfect sense to me, watching scenes from Jurassic Park where scientists drilled into amber to retrieve DNA from a preserved insect - I was that captured creature. And for one whole year, it never occurred to me to tell anyone about feeling trapped inside my own mind, my own body a prison.
By why would it? When a person with an unseen disability withdraws from society, they do their best to put on a good facade for those who do come into contact with them. After a while it becomes second nature, like donning clothes. But, if you look at a person with depression, the clothing shows inattention. My withdrawal was complete - even online I had faded to nothingness, as my writing proved - no books from 12/08 until 10/09 when I finally managed to wrangle free of the morass.
It wasn't until I began writing this post, looking back on history, lest it repeat itself unnecessarily, that I made a sort of discovery. For far too long I've been locked in my own small world, the one between my ears. A world created of my own imagining, populated by people who have no expectations, exact no judgements and make no demands. In short, it's time to get out and start living for real. Off of the page, out of the cage, and 'once more into the breach dear friends!'
Hopefully, this time I'll get it write.