Swimming Upstream

Some cliches are cliches for a reason.

I reflect on this occasionally as I write, as one should be aware of cliches and avoid them, but at other times I can’t help noticing that they occasionally ring true.

Of late I’ve been acutely aware of the cliche of the tortured artist.

How often is the old story trotted out, of the writer or painter or what have you that is a troubled soul, mired in depression, eventually succumbing to suicide or romantically wasting away from a fashionable disease?

Yeah, that one.

The thing is, how many writers rather famously suffered from, specifically, depression?

It’s a bit galling to find yourself playing out the cliche, but such is life.

Annoyingly, depression seems common amongst our ilk, and it rather rudely often has no “reason” for its intrusion. Life is good, life is great, everything is falling into a nice rhythm, there’s plans in the works, places to go, people to see, parties to attend and I just don’t want to get out of bed this week.

Having been on this particular ride all too often, I’ve learned to recognize and deal with the signs when I start circling the drain, and have been, as I told a friend, trying to “swim upstream.”

It’s not easy. It’s an active process of making myself go out, get moving, get up, eat, be social, and in general forcing myself to do something other than what I’m inclined to do–lay on the couch drinking and letting myself go with the flow on down the spiral.

Fortunately I’m blessed with a spouse who doesn’t take my morose nature personally, and friends who are greatly supportive in my efforts to stymie the slide.

Counting my blessings isn’t a thing that always helps, but it doesn’t hurt either.