Status report: I’ve finished Chapters 1 and 3. Chapter 2 needs some more footnotes, for which I’ll need to read some sources. But since I’ve come back from New York, I’ve been working on the introduction. I have about twenty pages written, meaning most of it. Now I just need to add a section on how my argument fits into scholarship on the Gothic. So I’m reading some books, trying to get that section written.
Once I have the introduction and those footnotes to Chapter 2, the dissertation will be done. And then it will go to the committee.
I know I’ve skipped a few days of posting. I’m so tired nowadays that I get to the end of a day and I just don’t have the energy. Part of that is depression, although right now it’s a depression I’m working through, because I know the only way to deal with it is to go through. The only way is forward.
I don’t know how people with chronic depression deal with it. They have my utmost admiration and respect, because even the few times I’ve had to deal with it, it’s been incredibly difficult. For me, it’s a condition that happens when I’m under extreme stress, the way I’ve been this year. Finishing the dissertation had been difficult, but it’s been more than that – physically difficult circumstances, being out of the city with a long commute, and all sorts of other things. Just a lot of things all piled on top of each other.
So what does it feel like? Sort of like living in darkness. And when you’re out of it but it’s still there, it feels like being followed around by a dark cloud. I read in an article that J.K. Rowling was depressed while she was writing the first Harry Potter novel. The Dementors are representations of that depression. That makes sense, doesn’t it? They suck out all the light and hope.
For me, right now, the most difficult part is the tiredness. I deal with it by doing what I have to do, but all sorts of other things are left undone. There are emails I haven’t had a chance to respond to, for example. But the introduction is getting written. That’s the most important thing, right now. And I try to give myself permission to rest. And I try to eat well. And I buy books.
I will write about the Alexander McQueen exhibit, and I will try to get back to posting daily. But just so you know: I’m going to have a difficult month, so bear with me. I’ll do what I can.
And I think I’m going to try to write about the depression at least a little, because I know I’m not the only one who deals with it. And writing about it might help other people. I do remember what it’s like to be out of it, and that’s my natural state: calm, interested in and excited about life. Happy. That’s what I’m usually like, and this is an anomaly for me. But it does happen, and when it does, I just need to deal with it.
On the way back from New York, I had two seats to myself. The bus was driving through countryside, so I saw trees all around. It was quiet and calm. And I suddenly realized that I felt exactly right, exactly myself – the person I was meant to be, the person I think I’ve been trying to become this year. And you know what I did? I wrote a story. I still need to type it up, but I’m going to do that by the end of the month. And then I’ll send it to a magazine that requested a story from me. I remember what that felt like, sitting on the bus writing, being myself. I want to get back to that. The only way is through . . .