Coping When You Really Don’t Want To by Karen Fainges

Last year I suffered a mental breakdown and a bout of depression. It meant that merely getting out of bed took every ounce of gumption I had. But there were still pets to feed, uniforms to wash and socks to find. So I went on. Sort of.

My writing sputtered out completely, it still really hasn’t gotten back on track. So how do you get back on the horse? Well, unfortunately, there is no easy way. Writing buddies and groups are a fantastic way to start but when you can’t stand being around others, or they can’t stand being around you (face it, depression is depressing), what else is there?

Well, basically there is writing. I found, the only way to get back into writing was to write about how I wasn’t coping. It sounds very Zen, but it worked. For me, writing is a way of showing others the worlds behind your eyes. Each of us see reality in a unique way and communicating those differences is what helps make life so interesting. Expressing my fears, hopes and boring day-to-day challenges (like, where did the dog put my other shoe this time), allowed me to get used to being in front of a keyboard again.

It did something else too. I found others that went, “wow, I so get what you are saying, I did that too”. Knowing you are not the only one that has written a note to the teacher with an eyebrow pencil sharpened on the edge of a chipped bit of counter top, really does make it better.

One of my favourite authors is Erma Bombeck. Her book, The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, really says it all for me. She laughs, yells, cries and grumps, and through it all, you can only really admire a woman that keeps a dog near the sink to dry her hands on because her husband won’t let her hang up a towel rack. It shows a soul that has learned to accept it all and make the best of it. She is my hero in many ways and if I ever do get my tales of real life anarchy written, I will probably dedicate it to her (and my Mum).  I was thinking, “Can you smell burning?” as a title. What do you think?


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