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Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Yesterday was a bittersweet celebration.

On the same day my books arrived, I also received my Master’s Degree in the mail. This was the same day the Corona Virus hit. It was a perfect time to feel sorry for myself.

Truth is, it sucks like shit, but things have been worse. While writing Irish Town, I went through a manic depression, and let me tell you, wholly crap depression is for real. I didn’t leave my room for months. There was nothing in the world that had light. With isolation came agoraphobia. I hated the outside.

I spent years writing my debut novel Irish Town and I don’t know how to feel. It was just me and my book for a long time. I’m proud of my work. It got me a Master’s Degree (Irish Town is my thesis). I’m published. I’m winning my fight against my mental illness. Things are great, right?

I understand that we are in a tough situation. Quarantine is shitty. Coming from a person who chooses to isolate, I understand the negative aspects of life right now. It’s just... you’re all now experiencing the life of a writer. Writers live like this. Some of us hide behind our jobs, our families, our friends, but at the end of the day, we still want our words to be heard. Isolation can be a good thing. When was the last time you saw an author on TMZ?

Appreciate your “Now!”

Very rarely, in fact, it’s a cliché nowadays, does one have an opportunity to step back and appreciate life. One thing I learned from the hospital, was how to manage my depression through appreciation of my “Now.” The odds of being in existence are ridiculous, let alone being human. I have finger-painted, color-painted, and even made collages of the things I love about my life. It took months of therapy, but I climbed out of my depression by appreciating my family. I love them. And they have been there for me through everything. I'm happier when I think about them. The cool thing about this mental exercise is that it is unique to yourself. “What do you love about your life?”

Even though you’re physically alone, you’re not mentally alone. Writers like me have been in the darkness for years. Welcome. It’s not that bad. We’re pretty nice. So, in this time where we can wallow in our own self-pity, try the opposite, wallow in your greatness. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

-Matthew John Meagher

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