I’ve started blogging a bit again after a long absence and one abortive attempt to do so last year. I originally began my blog back in 2012, and it would become a much needed outlet for my bookishness during the 18 months I spent not working in a bookshop. I blogged pretty regularly for a while, then a whole lot of life stuff meant I had less time and brainpower to devote to it. I never gave up on the idea completely, and last Autumn I made the decision to move to WordPress and get going again. That didn’t entirely work out.
I got depressed. I get depression. Not always, but sometimes. This time it was a slow creep, a crawl of exhaustion briefly buoyed by the adrenaline of Christmas in retail, a gradual withdrawal from the world, a greyness, an emptiness and dislocation from myself. I think it started in the Autumn, I know it peaked (or troughed) at the beginning of this year. I finally talked to the people I needed to talk to to get the help I needed. I told work what was going on, I went to the doctor, I let my family know. That was as much as I could engage with the world for a while. I stayed home a lot, stayed off social media, took my medication and did as many simple, everyday tasks as I could. Got out of bed? Well done. Made some attempt to get dressed? Pretty impressive. Walked to the top shops? Top marks.
It felt like a waiting game; I knew (hoped) things would get better even though day after day felt the same. But then there was a day, walking by the sea with the wind battering me from all directions that I realised I was spontaneously smiling, maybe even laughing a little at the weather, and I felt genuine happiness. Obviously then I cried because it was overwhelming, to feel something good and true after seemingly endless nothingness. But I’d felt it and I knew I’d feel it again. And so it proved. Here I am, in June, feeling pretty OK most of the time, my toe starting to dip back into life. I’ve been to an exhibition for the first time this year just a couple of weeks ago. I’ve met up with some friends. I’ve posted pictures on Instagram and tweeted a bit. I’ve even been able to start reading the news again.
With the exception of my worst week back in January, the one thing I have been able to cling onto is reading. I’ve read 80-something books this year so far because they have been the one place I could safely go to give my brain a break. The literal lifeline they’ve given me has only served to reinforce how vital books are to my well-being. They’re not an optional extra, they are the thing I rely on. This isn’t news, of course, books have been my sustenance my whole life, but it has given me the motivation to start writing about them again. Writing about books and reading is satisfying, I enjoy it, and I want to do it. So I am.