Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The Oil Slick, by Dorothy Donald


This is another guest post by Dorothy Donald.

The good news: the sertraline seems to have quieted The Voice In My Head That Hates Me. The bad news: instead of A Voice In My Head That Likes Me, what’s replaced The Voice In My Head That Hates Me is nothingness.

This means I haven’t been writing. I haven’t really been doing anything much. Mostly I’m in an endless Netflix/Twitter loop. I go to the shop sometimes because I’m told it’s important to leave the house. My kitchen cupboards are embarrassingly well stocked.

I miss writing. I miss the feeling I used to get when an idea rattled around inside my head – no – grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and marched me to my computer and wouldn’t let me leave until it had received some sort of words-in-the-right-order justice.

I miss feeling like I had something to write that people might want to read. I’ve got nothing.

If the inside of my mind had a colour, it would be grey. A texture, cheap scratchy cotton wool. A sound, somewhere between radio static and tinnitus. Smell and taste, a stale fucking rice cake.

I used to laugh and make other people laugh. I used to be capable of excitement, anger, desire – maybe all at once if it was a really interesting day. I used to make plans. I used to look forward to things.

I also used to worry a lot, so I guess it’s not all bad that I’m basically cardboard now.

“But do you think this is the medication, or the condition?” asks my GP.

How the fuck would I know? We have a sample size of one and a lot of uncontrolled –

I sigh and say “I suppose it could be the condition.” That’s what he wants, and it seems easiest to go that way.

But in my previous, unmedicated episodes, I still wrote. I don’t think I wrote especially well – please, nobody ever give me that ‘oh but doesn’t mental illness produce such great art?’ line – but the fact that I sat down and typed something gave me hope that there had been something inside me. Even if it was a twisted and miserable, self-loathing hot mess. There was something.

I’m not saying I regret choosing to take the meds. I just –

I miss writing, that’s all.

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