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15/03/2023


2023/03/15#p1

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It's been pretty quiet here for the past few days. I've not had anything to write about or felt a compulsion to post. Normally I would see that as a red flag (although probably way too late) that my mental health was on a downwards slide but I genuinely don't feel that is the case right now.

Tracy wrote about "reclaiming intentionality in browsing and blogging, being less passive with consumption and less reactive in her blogging. It's pretty much how I've been feeling about things recently.

I suspect my balance of intake is off: I need a greater amount of what I read to be something I’ve actively sought out … To claim ownership of my attention, I should more proactively choose what I spend time thinking about.

So much this, although the irony of me reacting to that is not lost. 🙃

I realised that a couple of recent posts (wishing I was outside and wanting my UI to get out of the way) were both about feeling trapped in their own ways. I think that's part of my problem – feeling constrained within my limitations and wanting to spread my wings more creatively. I want to do something different or unique with the blog but don't know what.

It's the old excuse: I’ll be able to do X when Y but X isn’t really the problem. I can't match the vision or sound in my head – the old spectre of perfection.

I can't focus on music because I've told myself that the early 90's techno time warp I'm stuck in requires that Roland TR 909 sound so I 'need' a modern clone.

I'm painfully aware that writing about tinkering is just a surrogate for 'proper' posts. Now that I've been regaining my ability to focus I want to put it to good use again but am not sure how. I go back over old posts from my 'very social era’ (2008-2011) and am still amazed at the passion and creativity on display. I need to get back to writing like that. Microposts and writing about code are all well and good but I miss the depth I used to have.

I want to regain that passion.

Part of my depression is a degree of apathy; the more I can focus and get excited about something the more I feel I'm on the right path. I do worry, however, that it's a mask and I'm just distracting myself.

And that's how I feel about all this in a wider context. Treatment and therapy don't magically make you a happy person. Instead, they mask the symptoms or provide better coping strategies, ways to head off the worst of it before it can take hold.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.

On the one hand it's good to know that improvements can be made, that you can feel 'less bad', that you can manage your condition more effectively. But then there's knowing that, no matter how much treatment or therapy you have, the underlying condition is still there, may always be there, just less obvious to others and, maybe, yourself.

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mbkriegh says:Reply to mbkriegh

@colinwalker really enjoyed this post. Very much appreciated the honesty. I have found myself in similar creative wastelands though, thankfully, none of it having to do with being in a depressed state. Usually I just churn. Spin my wheels. Until whatever it is I am trying to give birth to arrives, if it ever does. Sometimes it's just churn. I see your post as that churn having turned a corner for you. I hope that is true. Hope you are feeling better.

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Colin Walker replied:

Thanks Michael. Yep, definitely churn – the old "if you've got nothing to write about write about having nothing to write about and see where it goes" gambit.

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annahavron says:Reply to annahavron

@colinwalker Love this post, both for what you say about writing, and about what depression means for understanding one's own human identity. p.s. Sometimes I feel like my whole life has been a series of coping strategies :-D

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Colin Walker replied:

Tell me about it! 😅

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2023/03/15#p3

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As soon as my head hit the pillow the other night my brain did that thing where it comes up with an idea instead of letting me go to sleep. The idea in question was the start of a story that emerged fully formed, I just had to write it down before it disappeared.

I don't know if I'll write any more but it could be good fun to see where it goes.

Introduction

It was raining. It was always raining.

He sat by the window, nursing the same cup of coffee he'd had for the past half hour. It was a large so would naturally take longer to drink. That was his excuse. That's what he told himself when he knew he was really procrastinating, delaying the inevitable.

Every few minutes he wiped the condensation from the window and peered into the deepening gloom outside until the glass fogged up again.

Not much to see: a couple huddled close under an umbrella; someone running while holding a folded newspaper over their head to ward off the rain. Damn, did people really do that? Read newspapers and use them as umbrellas, he wasn't sure which surprised him more. He didn't even know what he expected to see, just anything to distract him from what he had to do.

The coffee had gone cold about fifteen minutes ago but he still cradled the cup like it would ward off frostbite on an exposed, winter's evening.

Doing 'the job' was the easy bit, you had a target and a desired outcome. Telling the relatives that their precious little darling had been devoured by a Lower Planes demon, now that was the hard part. It never got easier. He didn't even know why it should be him doing it – wasn't that what Customer Relations was for? Since that department had their funding slashed by half it had fallen to the Hunters to do 'family liaison' which mostly involved being the bearer of bad news.

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2023/03/15#p4

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Coincidentally, on the subject of reading ones old writing, Amit compares his in terms of fearless beginner versus more experienced and mindful:

What I gained in correctness, I likely lost in courage.

That's an interesting framing.

I always mention the passion for what I was doing over a decade ago but does that mean I'm not passionate about things now? Of course not but, somehow, that passion does seem to translate as well to the page.

I'm not sure about it being a lack of courage, rather an increased reticence stemming from a low-level, underlying fear that now pervades the web. I have previously referred to the internet of the past as like the old Wild West where people explored uncharted territory and blazed trails. It creates an impression of being a tougher place and time but I think it was easier to hit publish back then without feeling like there was danger around every literary corner.

Just a thought.

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