Thank you to everyone who has noticed something a little “off” about me in the past couple of weeks.
I didn’t know it showed.
“Is everything all right?”
“You just seem, I don’t know, kind of tired?”
“You seem quiet lately.”
The unspoken questions: Are you all right? Is there anything I can do to help?
I’m Ok. Really. Just fine.
I’m more in my head these days, working on a challenging project: A teen experiencing trauma. To write her story, I have to experience what she experiences. I’m living with her and through her, embodying her, feeling her emotions deeper than if they were my own.
I’m feeling less jovial than I usually am. Less playful. Less joyful.
An appetite for strange things. Disturbed sleep. More or less reclusive.
Ready to cry on cue.
“Am I depressed?” I asked myself a few days ago.
I don’t think so. I know this is a passing thing. A transference.
Is my character depressed? I don’t think she is either – she is exhausted and too busy trying to survive to experience depression. I can see where she is headed and I’m so afraid for her. I’m confident she’ll get through it but her path is far from straight.
My friends, I am grateful for your concern and for noticing something different in me. It’s what we need to do with each other: Notice. Take note. Ask.
You’ve also shown me something I had missed: that people around her – teachers, schoolmates, even acquaintances – will recognize something is wrong. Will they intervene? Will she tell what she’s hiding?
I’ll be this way for a few more weeks, learning from her, as she works to resolve her anxiety and sadness.
So, don’t worry. I’m still me.
What I’m feeling will resolve once the story is down on paper. I’m sure my character will be OK too.
But for now, we’re in this together, entwined tightly. She is with me.
And I am with her.