Once again, my writing dream forced its way to the front of my mind. This time there was no stopping it and nothing to get in its way. The fleeting thoughts of retirement while helping FWA was just that: fleeting.
I was a writer. I was an author. I needed to write.
Writing became my passion. I wrote my next two books and both were published. In the meantime, ideas flowed faster than I could write them down. I filled several 4-inch binders with newspaper clippings, scraps of paper, and the beginnings of stories.
Short stories poured from my fingers like flowers bursting forth into springtime. Two novellas were born.
Ideas tumbled from my mind at all hours of the day and night. More short stories trailed along. Each bloomed from the fruits of my writing fervor.
My writing passion consumed me.
Later, looking back, I was under a severe manic episode brought on by having undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder. My energy burned bright.
Then it happened. What goes up, must come down. And, I landed hard. Depression.
Bleak and without hope, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I struggled to find words to complete sentences to complete stories that no longer held any meaning for me. I foundered without direction. I no longer slept.
Dangerous thoughts invaded my psyche. My one fragile life became an target for my dark musings. Scared and uncertain, I begged my doctor to help me. The diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder I.
Once again, my life was turned upside down by an illness. One I wasn’t sure I could handle. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks were the new normal for me.
No longer able to write, I sunk deeper into the blackness while I spent hours researching Bipolar Disorder. I joined online therapy groups. I read books. I asked questions. All the while, my body rejecting medication after medication the doctor prescribed to stabilize my illness. After a year of living on the edge, with my soul suffering and my passion dead, I still could not write.
I didn’t know if there was ever going to be another chance for me and writing again.
Retirement loomed large. For real this time. I would find hobbies. I’d garden. I’d spend more time with my family. No longer tethered to my desk and computer I could do anything I wanted. The problem was, I was so depressed I didn’t want to do anything.
Two years into my illness, I found the courage to try writing again. It was slow going at first. Just a few sentences. Some random thoughts written in my journal.
I had become so depressed and lifeless, I’d nearly become agoraphobic. I needed to change. A spark lit inside of me. I started walking my dog. First just down the street, then I started walking myself up and down the street. Too afraid to leave my immediate neighborhood but eager to change my physical and mental problems.
I began re-reading all the notes and newspaper clippings in the binders I’d saved. I needed to find a connection to a story. A long dried up seed of an idea that with tender treatment would bloom once again.
I found it. A story from a very vivid dream I’d written down long ago. Tentatively, hope flickered.