I rediscovered writing.com last night, I just logged in and reminded myself how great it was. But why did I log in? I hadn’t been on here since August 2011, that’s quite a while, so why would I feel the need to return? It obviously didn’t work for me the last time I was here. Or did it?
The truth is, yesterday, via twitter, I was invited to a seminar about professional speakers and book writing. That’s what I do you see, I am a speaker. Well, no, that’s one of my jobs but I’ll get to that another time, I digress! Anyway, the invitation came because the guy thought I had a great book “in me”. To be honest, this comes with no surprise – I love writing and I have had a rather unique life that I enjoy sharing with people, hence the speaking jobs. So, because of one 140 character tweet, my brain went into overdrive about my need to get back into writing. So here I am, after 6 months of not writing a word (other than two chapters of my MA thesis – yawn), trying to get myself writing again.
To start, I have chosen to write about the last year. Once I have done this, it may become clear as to why one month I can fill a journal and a half with thoughts and ideas but write nothing at all for the next six months. I opened my journal for the first time in ages today and discovered that my last entry was on 14/01/12 … far too long ago!
So, a year ago I was depressed. I don’t just mean a little down in the dumps, I genuinely mean clinically depressed. You see, I was a swimmer, I swam for Great Britain for ten years – I have several international medals to my name. It was an amazing job, I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunities I was, and yet I was still depressed. A year ago today I was attempting to pack for the European Championships, not knowing exactly whether or not I would be able to go due to the situation I was in with my depression. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I still wanted to go. The whole time I was there, training and competing, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be there, but I was and, like the professional I was, I just got on with it and hid my feelings from the world.
I won’t lie; the meet didn’t go to plan – at all. But I’m not sure what I expected – miracles? Whilst I was there, I found myself saying goodbye to the world of competitive swimming (from an athletes perspective). I knew I had given all I could to my sport and now it was making me unhappy. I had to wait months to make my official announcement, but in October 2011 I retired from swimming and my entire life shifted – for the better.
It took a while for it to sink in that my life was entirely my own. I’d been living a World Class athlete’s lifestyle since I was 14 years old. So to be completely free of rules, regulations and a rigorous time table was an entirely new concept. But I soon got used to it and I think it is safe to say that retirement pretty much cured my depression. I had to find a new job and money from somewhere, but that was ok. I didn’t exactly have a plan, but that was ok. I was just extremely grateful to myself that I’d decided to go to university when I did. I still don’t have a plan, but that IS ok.
However, what is not ok is my apparent need to do everything, all the time, at exactly the same time! During my depression, I had some counselling. I cant say I enjoyed it, but I did learn a few bits and pieces about myself along the way.
Due to my competitive background, I have a tendency to put myself under huge amounts of pressure with everything I do. Also, I make mental lists of all the things I need (or think I need) to do and if I don’t do the things on such lists I will come down on myself really hard. It’s even worse if I would like to be doing all the things at once. So, for example, say I am reading a book: I will want to be reading 4 other books at the same time, doing some writing, baking, studying, preparing a speech for the next week and watching an entire series of House – all at the same time!! To be fair, its not always that severe, but it can be exhausting.
It gets to the point, sometimes, that my brain is so full of things I want/need to do that I run out of energy just thinking about it so I cant do any of it. Then, I get annoyed at myself! I feel I ought to point out here that I am a Gemini… apparently this is obvious!
So basically, in order to start writing more, I have to clear my head, prioritise and work on my time management. This, I promise you, is far easier said than done!
I’m not quite sure I have done what I set out to do in this entry, but life cannot always be about structure! I had much much more to say, but I’m figuring smaller chunks might be the way forward.
Any comments/suggestions/reviews are gratefully received!