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Writer’s Block

I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for the past few days, wanting to post something but unable to settle on a topic or focus on the writing process. Finally, today, I gave up on trying to express myself in words and decided to draw with oil pastels instead. Here is what I drew:

I colored with the oil pastels, then smeared the colors from left to right with a tissue. The shadow in the lower left corner was cast by me as I took the picture.

I colored with the oil pastels, then smeared the colors from left to right with a tissue. The shadow in the lower left corner was cast by me as I took the picture.

It is interesting to note that, like the sculpture I made a couple weeks ago, the face in the image doesn’t have a mouth. Fitting, seen as I’m having so much trouble expressing myself. I even had a hard time trying to answer Wakana when she asked how things have been for me. I had trouble forming complete sentences.

Worse, as I was drawing, The Critic kept bombarding me with some really mean thoughts. Some of them might be triggers:

  • You’re crazy
  • You’re decompensating
  • People are going to think you’re insane
  • People won’t get what you’re trying to say – are you even trying to say anything?
  • It’s rubbish
  • It sucks
  • An immature level of artwork
  • You should destroy it
  • You should kill yourself
  • It would be better if you used your own blood
  • Those eyes are too haunting. Make it stop.
  • You’re a failure and you’ll never amount to anything
  • Nobody cares about you
  • Why are you still breathing?

I showed the list to Fox and he said, “The one that stands out the most is this: ‘Those eyes are too haunting. Make it stop.'” The Critic is scared. It’s trying to keep me from expressing myself. All those horrible thoughts, lies*, to keep me from the truth.

What could I possibly have inside me that’s that terrifying?

* I tell myself they’re lies, echoing Fox’s Mom, but I’m not entirely convinced at least some of them aren’t at least partially true.


6 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. I also find that my writer’s block has a lot to do with self-deprecating thoughts. Thank you for sharing yours, in that I realize I’m not alone in this struggle.


    • It also helps me to know I’m not alone. Thanks for your comment. I hope you’ll be able to push past or work around the self-deprecating thoughts and write what you want/need to.


  2. Thank you for sharing this picture, it’s fascinating. Our definition of colors, express different meanings and are completely subjective. Could those “Bright” colors (yellow, blue, purple & green) symbolize hope or just a convincing mask? Can the eyes be haunting or have a private meaning? The list of possible triggers raises many questions. As always, thanks for sharing the real conflicts we experience. It made me look inside my mind and reconsider my definitions. Love your honesty.


    • I specifically chose those colors because they were the ones I wanted to see and color with. They’re beautiful – and a nice change from the red and black I used the last time I colored with oil pastels (Bloody Arms Project). Part of it was wanting to break out of the stereotype that people with depression don’t use bright colors in their artwork – there’s nothing to stop us from doing so.

      But you’re right in that they don’t necessarily communicate hope. A mask? Perhaps. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m wearing the mask or expressing genuine happiness when I’m interacting with others; I think there’s a little bit of both in there. The eyes peering out from behind the mask make a lot of sense.

      But it could be that it’s not a mask. It could be that it just is. It could be that everything is rushing past and I’m just watching it, powerless to do anything. Some wind is blowing everything away; I’m kind of reminded of whatever force was destroying the world in Never Ending Story. The eyes are how I feel. They’re watching. But they can’t do anything.

      That’s what the Critic keeps asking me: “Why can’t you do anything?”

      When it asks that question I feel hurt, sad, betrayed.

      What questions does the list raise?


  3. Your worries may well be true, but is that really such a terrible thing? Decompensation at various points throughout life is normal, to be expected when one is undergoing a great deal of stress or transition. It is a coping skill your brain has to keep you alive; if there are things going on in your life that take a lot of your concentration, so much concentration that you cannot focus on both them and on more everyday things, your brain will shut down your ability to focus on some things (like forming sentences) to allow your full focus for those other, currently more important things. As you can tell from this beautiful drawing you created, words are merely one way to communicate; it is not always necessary to speak (or write). Words are not superior to art, to music, to movement.

    What could be going on right now that could be forcing your brain to shut down certain parts of it at this moment? It doesn’t have to be something going on externally in the present; it could be that you’re only just now getting around to dealing with strong, negative emotions that you had pushed down deep inside of you up until now. It could be that some trigger is bringing up traumatic memories. It could simply be stress, or some combination of the above, but whatever it is, there is nothing wrong with taking the time you need to deal with it and to put that emotional work above all else for now. Emotional work is not any less worthy, valuable, important work than any other kind of work you could be doing. When the critic makes you feel silly about doing stuff like this, just try to remember that.


  4. Pingback: Second 3-Month Review | a day with depression

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