I’ve talked many times before about wanting to rediscover my creativity. That necessarily implies I need to go back and find where I left it. For me, that seems to back in my childhood, back to the younger Judi. One of my biggest laments, as a person with depression, is the tendency to forget. A dark cloud descends, blanketing the mind and dulling the senses. I can literally forget what I thought or wanted yesterday because all that exists today is the dark cloud. Using my metaphor,Winston, all I can sense is him, nipping at my heels or sitting on my chest. When the cloud lifts, a little bit remains, casting a hazy veil over whatever happened before. The past becomes indistinct, unfocused.
This haziness causes time to become vaguely disjointed, not consciously, but subsconsciously. That doesn’t mean I have memory gaps. When goaded, I can generally describe what I did yesterday or last week, but I have difficulty tracking the flow of subconsious thoughts: what are my goals, how do I feel about X, what do I like to do, what do I want for myself, what drives me – all of these questions with answers that lie right below conscious thought and propel our actions. I imagine, Dear Reader, when you are questioned, you pause to collect your thoughts and call to the surface conclusions you decided yesterday, or last week, or last year. For me, it’s as if I’m hearing the questions for the first time, every time. Whenever, I’m asked one of these questions, I feel like a deer caught in the headlights, my mind frozen into a perfect blank and I reflexively think: “I don’t know.” Of course my mind goes into overdrive, reminding me I *do* know, like I knew and should have known when asked before and the time before that. My mind leaps into the breach to stitch my thoughts back together into something plausible. Then the moment passes and I’m left with that sinking feeling of having forgotten myself. Again.
So each time I must ask myself the same questions so I can hopefully remember the same answers. Some sessions are not as clear as others and all the navel gazing and introspection doesn’t help. Then I take medication to keep Winston at bay and another drug induced wall rises. I emailed a friend complaining of my woes and an inability to penetrate my blogger’s block. She suggested, “write about what drives you.” Over thousands of virtual miles, that question nailed me. “I don’t know.” I’d forgotten. I have exchanged the dark cloud for a wall of placid blankness. It’s simply a different haziness.
But lately, just before I drift off to sleep at night, memories come, unbidden. My mind plays it’s own home movies. Here you are holding your squeaky giraffe as you grin up at your brother, waiting for him to take your picture. He’s in his ROTC uniform. You are four years old. See, you do remember being small. Here you are watching as you your family stands around a figure lying peaceful on the sofa. You are two. See, you do remember your grandmother. Images move across the placid blankness of my mind like movie shorts from an old projector. I’m older, then younger, then older. Some memories are sad, some are happy.
At first I resented this insistence in dredging up old memories, but now I suspect there is a purpose. This is me, remembering, piecing half-forgotten memories back together, looking for myself. I hope one day to actually find the younger Judi, the creative one, the authentic me and hold onto her tight. She can help me remember myself. Then I will be able to answer those questions.