Why Do I Write?
I write now a short testament as to why I write and what influences me to lift the pen. I write not only for my adoration for creative writing, but as a form of therapy to help me cope with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The emotional paralysis inflicted by this dreaded affliction is profound and has to significant extent inhibit my ability to socialize verbally and to interact with others. Networking with other writers has proven to be successfully therapeutic. Currently in my life, I have been working on my first book with a literary genre I have invented: Gothic-Surrealism. My love of reading the Gothic and the surreal influenced me to write my own creative material. So, why not combine my two favorite genres into something very special? This new literary genre, Gothic-Surrealism, can be simply explained: Deep emotionality, horror and suspense integrated between the disordered realms of imagination and reality by using the irrational juxtaposition of imagery. Now for a diagnosed schizophrenic, this is the perfect style of writing. The capability of expression to not only myself but to any reader who can relate with psychosis, anxiety and depression, which many who would read my work could suffer from, is an exhilarating feeling.
I write to find a truth which I know has been buried within me for too long, surrealistic thoughts and beliefs. It’s been screaming deeply within, even sprouting recently to taste the quenching air of normalcy it has so longed. Feeding it with my taboo thoughts, which I’ve chosen to keep hidden out of paranoia until now. I cannot stop feeding it with words and stories. It’s another stomach needing to be filled and stretched, its acid dissolving the negative thoughts and beliefs that enter, absorbing what I can make creatively out of all this. If I hold these truths to be self-vindictive, then maybe my perception of reality truly is distorted! How could you possibly explain something like this face to face with someone without unsettling them? Or having them attach all the stigma and stereotypes associated with this horrible mental disease.
I feel, see and hear the full extent of this psychological catastrophe. Thoughts of worthlessness reinforced by the scolding of others around me. Much of the world has proven time and again that it is not able to understand or, even willing to. The times I have found that certain someone who cares, whether they held a doctorate or not, came immediately after the emotional canister of gasoline had been tipped, the earth around me scorched by my frustrations and sorrow. I don’t want others to only listen after I’ve had a breakdown, no, I want the world to find me through my words and know me as a great poet and writer!
What drives me the most to write is the fight against suicidal thoughts. I contemplated suicide when the first signs and symptoms of schizophrenia appeared in the latter years of high school. Many young people with suicidal ideation carry the weight of concrete in their minds, when they were meant to carry the weightlessness of youth.
The reasons for the world’s rejections pin pricks my mind constantly, however, I understand the power of a stigma. Who wants to sit beside a stranger who speaks out loud and makes eye contact to someone who isn’t there? But I can’t change it. I cannot go through a day without thinking of the frowning faces, and what mine must look to them. The images wither and the cold returns to my skin. The face of one man staring at me, a rigid stone carving of a glare.
The ‘dream state' as I call it, that I fall into or, ‘episode’ will return unexpectedly. My physical being left as a corpse in this world as my soulful dreams leave such a stagnate thing behind. The Wall, a piece I wrote using a ‘wall’ as a metaphor for the threshold between realism (reality) and surrealism (delusions). In this piece I’ve followed the warmth back to the land stigma and sorrow never invaded. One side of the ‘wall’ is the world I can thrive in as me, not as a repulsive psychiatric patient.
My writing is generated by the combination of high-level emotions and surrealistic imagery constantly reacting within, giving us Gothic-Surrealism. It’s guiding me over ‘the wall,’ seeing me off into an artist’s paradise. I know I’m mentally ill, but at least I’ve learned to embrace it as a strength, not run from it as a weakness! Step up after fall is how I’ll persevere.
Daniel Long, Gothic-Surrealist Author