The balance of making things and mental health

The balance of making things and mental health

This was originally posted to patreon as patron-only content in October 2019.

CW: Negative mental health.

I think when people talk about mental health and making things, it seems to be in a very short-term way. ‘It’s okay to take a day/week off now. You’ll be refreshed and able later.’

But when you have chronic mental health disorders — when your dysfunction lasts years rather than weeks — what do you do then?

This is the reality of my life, and it’s something that I never stop grappling with. Because every time I think I’ve got a handle on it, something changes. Any single mental health disorder is a many headed beast. You just … can’t slay it. You medicate and you try and you hope.

Executive dysfunction has been a serious problem for me for about 3 years now. I’m not as productive as I used to be, in spite of keeping up good habits of writing. When my mental health takes a dive, it doesn’t just make things harder — it makes them impossible. And that’s because my regular state is much worse these last few years than it used to be.

Trying to balance that with deadlines and multiple projects has been challenging, to say the least. Some things have fallen by the wayside, and it’s crushed me to let them go, unsure of when I will go back to them. And the stuff I’m committed to — the stuff I absolutely cannot and will not let go of — is still often late or delayed. And that doesn’t feel good. And that’s hard on the people waiting for them.

But I’m pleased that I’m still working. That this hasn’t been 3 years of nothing. I published BOOKS & BONE this year. I believe I’ll publish another book next year. I’ve dug in my heels and dragged a few projects along with me — microfiction, BLACKWING WITCH, a handful of short stories. Some of which I am very proud of, no less because it was so difficult.

And I’m still telling myself — I really believe — that it will get better. That I will get better, at least for a time. Three years — or four, or five — isn’t forever. And if I’m producing this much now, imagine how much I will make then.

Apologies if this is a bit of a dark post to end the week with. It’s been on my mind, and is definitely a big part of my writing life. And as I said, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in spite of it. And maybe I wanted to celebrate that, just a little.

Thank you for your support, and your understanding, and believing in me. <3

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