Writing Through Depression via In the Powder Room

Writing Through Depression

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I was bullied throughout elementary school all the way into high school because I was fat. I remember the girl from my gym class who spit on my shirt once. She called me “ugly,” and said I didn’t deserve a clean shirt . . . because what’s the point if you’re so unattractive, right?

I was beyond miserable. I was an island.

Each day at lunch, in the back lot of my high school in Wayne, NJ, I sat in my parked white 1989 Honda Accord. Inside the warm metal frame, I wrote. The windows cracked, the breeze was a reminder I was alive.

I wrote anything and everything: poetry, short stories, even an obituary (for myself). I was depressed, and it wasn’t the result of typical teen angst.

Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the car was home. It was a retreat and the paper tucked into my bag, another world, a home of love and forgiveness and release.

Writing empowered me and provided a safe outlet for my negative energies. I fought my sadness on the page and the girls and boys who tormented me. I gave them a second chance to redeem themselves in my stories through love.

After high school, I fell in love with a foreign student. We fell madly in love. It was disastrous and riveting. Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos I continued to struggle with depression, and for once, writing didn’t help.

Years went by before I did anything, and two years ago was my lowest point. I wasn’t writing. My social life faded, and the thing that fulfilled me the most (writing) couldn’t rescue me.

I was tired of letting an illness control me, and I went to the doctor. “I’m ashamed,” I cried to the physician. The burden of resistance was on my back.

Awareness was the first step to betterment and little by little I returned to myself. I’ve been on a regimen of weekly therapy, medication, and exercise. I never miss a therapy session. I never miss a dosage of my medication. It’s about self-care. I learned that while I might not ever kill depression, I could manage it.

Getting better helped me return to my first love—writing. Since then, I’ve published two books, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs and Indie Authors Naked. Secret: I’m writing two more—another poetry book, Breakable Things, and a literary romance novel, This Way to Forever, which will be out April 2015.

I’m grateful, but I know that if I don’t take care of myself or make a daily commitment to wellness my writing (and life) will suffer. I see now I can’t afford to go backwards. I know I have a mental illness. I’m not ashamed. I accept the sadness. It doesn’t define who I am or make me a weak person. If anything, it showed me I’m strong and that I’m a whole human being full of faults and green grass.

 

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Loren Kleinman’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Drunken Boat, Nimrod, Wilderness House Literary Review, Paterson Literary Review, Narrative Northeast and Journal of New Jersey Poets. Her interviews appeared in IndieReader, USA Today, and The Huffington Post. She is the author of Flamenco Sketches and Indie Authors Naked, which was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller in Journalism in the UK and USA. Her second poetry collection The Dark Cave Between My Ribs released in 2014 (Winter Goose Publishing) and was named the best poetry book of the first half of 2014 by Entropy Magazine. Her third collection Breakable Things comes out March 2015 via Winter Goose Publishing. She is currently working on a literary romance novel, This Way to Forever. Loren’s website is lorenkleinman.com.

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