Haig, Matt - Reasons to stay alive - 12 Writing and the useful bite of the black dog
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Matt Haig - Reasons to stay alive
People often use the word 'despite' in the context of mental illness. So-and-so did such-and-such despite having depression/anxiety/OCD / agoraphobia/whatever. But sometimes that 'despite' should be a 'because'.
For instance, I write because of depression. I was not a writer before. The intensity needed - to explore things with relentless curiosity and energy - simply wasn't there. Fear makes us curious. Sadness makes us philosophise. ('To be or not to be' is a daily question for many depressives.)
….For instance, I find that being grimly aware of mortality can make me steadfastly determined to enjoy life where life can be enjoyed. It makes me value precious moments with my children, and with the woman I love. It adds intensity in bad ways, but also good ways.
Art and political vigour are just one spill-over of that intensity, but it can manifest itself in a million other ways, most of which won't make you famous but many of which will, in the long term, add as well as take away.
As the Persian poet Rumi wrote in the twelfth century:
'The wound is the place where the Light enters you.'