When you feel like the world is about to end

explosion-123690_640If you pay any attention to the news, you’ll know that the developed world seems to be on a catastrophic and awfully fast-moving downward spiral. The UK is run by an extremely conservative party bent on leaving the EU, no matter how much it screws up their country. America is run by a tyrant with the temper of a four year old boy, and even though both parties spoke openly about what a bigoted asshole he is during the election, the vast majority of American politicians are meekly bowing their heads and accepting the destruction of the democracy they claim to love so much.

Here in Canada, things are marginally better. Our government doesn’t resemble a dumpster fire. Our prime minister isn’t trying to turn this country into a dictatorship. Funding for the arts has actually increased, and the free press remains free.

Unfortunately we’ve reached a point where global politics are so awful that Trudeau, who in all reality is a very average politician, is being treated like a bloody saint. When you’re standing next to Trump, you can do no wrong. But Trudeau has failed to keep many of his promises–most importantly the promise of election reform, which is the best way to keep our country from following in America’s footsteps–and I’m not confident that he has the courage to stand up to Darth Orange.

To be honest, I’m not confident about much right now. When the last leader of the Soviet Union says it looks like we’re on the brink of another world war, and I am intimately familiar with the number of nuclear bombs available, it’s hard to believe in much. Some days it’s hard to believe we’ll even reach the end of 2017 without causing a nuclear winter.

This reminds me of something an older relative said to me a few years ago: “we laugh at those old bomb drills now, but in the 60’s, we really thought the bombs could drop on our head at any moment–it’s no wonder we fell in love with drugs and rock and roll”.

Now, I’ve been in love with rock and roll as long as I can remember(not so much the drugs though), but only in the past few months have I really believed the end is nigh. I try to keep hope, to tell myself humanity will survive this challenging time, that this downward spiral is a temporary backslide on the road to progress. Some days I even manage to believe it. Most days, though, I end up thinking humanity will probably destroy itself–and being angry that it’s happening now, when my career is finally taking off.

Staying the course when everything is awful

I’ve struggled through a lot in the past. I kept writing when my parents split up, when my dad grew sick with cancer and died, when we moved out of the neighbourhood I grew up in, when I went through a series of messy relationships with even worse break ups. Through all of it I held on to my dream, and bit by bit, I grew closer to achieving it. My first novella, Keeper of the Dawn, got signed last year and is supposed to come out this April.

But I am struggling now. My depression is no longer primarily about my own circumstance; the entire world is aggravating my depression and giving me the most intense anxiety I’ve ever suffered from. Everything feels pointless now. Some days I consider giving up all the hard work, getting some terrible minimum wage job, and spending all my free time partying instead. Other than Keeper of the Dawn and another novella I wrote last year, I’m not sure any of my projects will be publishable before world war three breaks out.

Staying the course has never been so difficult, even though I know sharing my stories has never been as important as it is right now. After all, my stories–both the personal and the fictional–are about strong women changing the world, and right now we need to be those women, fighting for what we believe in. So I am pushing through the dread, one sentence at a time, and filling every spare hour with self care activities to give me strength. And I will keep telling my stories, no matter how much it hurts.

Have you struggled with your creativity in recent weeks? Tell me about it–and how you’re getting through the struggle–in the comments below or on Twitter @DiannaLGunn!

2 thoughts on “When you feel like the world is about to end

  • I’ve actually found it easier to write poetry over the last few weeks. I guess poets are sort of like scavengers — we thrive off of distress. lol. That said, I’ve totally been through a long period of depression where I gave up writing entirely. In a lot of ways, the fact that I didn’t want to write was a big flashing warning sign that I was headed towards a mental health crisis. It should have been a klaxon, but I ignored it.

    • dlgunn

      Hi Gabriel, thanks for stopping by! I completely understand this, actually. I only write poetry when I’m extremely depressed, and when I’m at my worst I’ll completely stop writing everything else. Which is part of why I don’t share my poetry much, because it’s so close to my pain.

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