Friday, 19 February 2016

Blog Entry 19-2-16 - Why I Write and How My Mental Health Affects That


A Dark Pond Creations Blog Entry By
Patrick Scattergood

One of the things that I struggle with the most is my extreme bouts of depression and my manic nature when my moods are swinging up and down quicker than a yo-yo given to a hyperactive child.  One of the things that I do to counteract that is my writing.  I find it cathartic, almost calming in fact.

That said, my foray in to being a comic book writer has shone a light on the simple fact that my mind doesn't work the way a normal persons mind would.  I hate to use the word normal.  Detest it in fact yet there are times when I wish, I yearn, to have a normal mind but if that were true, would I be able to write?

However, when the high of the moods hit, I can find myself working on multiple projects at once.  I never just have one story on the go.  Take how I'm working at the moment.  I have three short form scripts, two ongoing series, I'm working on two art commissions, mapping out a bit of writing to go for the half an hour speech that I'm giving at the Atomicon 2016 convention in March and then also trying to make greetings cards to sell on the Dark Pond Etsy site.

Then there's the opposite end of my mental spectrum.  The lows.  The suffocating, mind numbing, spirit destroying lows.  The sorts of lows where a win for the day will be the simple act of getting out of bed without crying.  Or getting up to make myself something to eat that wasn't within touching distance.  When I get those types of low there is no shifting my mind no matter how much I try or how hard I try to get my work down on paper.

You can see that in my work but in a good way I hope.  I like to write characters that are deeply flawed like myself.  People that see themselves as a failure or a screw up.  There will be no picture perfect superheroes that always know what to do.  No spies that go through their missions getting every single clue correct on the first attempt.  I'm just, quite simply, unable to write a character like that because I've never felt that way myself and the writing would just come across as false and paper thin.

I suppose you could say that my writing and my illustration is a bit of a comfort blanket for me.  Something to hide behind and I have been massively guilty of hiding away from everything until it all goes away by practically chaining myself to my lap top.  I suppose this is why I'm writing a blog entry like this one.  I want you, the reader, to know that depression, mental issues or anything like that shouldn't be seen as a stigma.  As a thing to be swept under the carpet until it goes away and you can all breathe easily again.  My way around all of that is, despite my crippling anxiety issues and social problems, I literally force myself to exhibit at conventions, at art fairs, at signings.  The simple thing of getting out of my house, and my comfort zone, is wildly scary to me.  There are times when I am behind the table and someone comes up to look at the work that I do with my DPC cohorts that I just wanted to pull the metaphorical shutters closed until they have left but I can't.  Instead I stumble through the most simple of words, maybe crack a joke at my own expense and then hope that they either buy a comic or art print or leave.  So am I the best person to be embarking on this as a career?  Well, yes.  Just because something is a struggle doesn't mean that it's not worth doing.  Is going to events like this a scary thing?  Very much so.  But it's also a positive thing.  I may see myself as a failure, as someone that is near impossible to be around, I won't let it beat me in to hiding away.  I won't let it take away something, my writing, that I see as an integral part of me.

The one thing that I hope comes out of writing this isn't that I hope gets my work more attention.  That would be selfish and self serving.  The one thing that I hope comes out of writing this is the simple fact that I hope someone who maybe struggling in the same ways that I do will read this and think that maybe, just maybe, they can get the strength to get out of bed.  That they can see that just because the 'black dog' will arrive from time to time to try to bite them that it doesn't mean that they can't follow through with their dreams or with the things they want to do from day to do.  I also hope that one day, it probably won't be in my lifetime sadly, that there will be no stigma to the issues of mental health anymore.

So, if you ever see me at a convention, don't be too shy to pop on over and say hi.  I may stammer over my words, I may come across like a deer in the headlights but at the same time, it's something that can completely light up the world.  Even if it's just for five minutes.

Peace and blessings to you all.