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On July 31st, 2015, minutes before midnight, I decided to set myself a challenge: to write 2000 words every day for the next 31 days.
As a writer who hadn’t written anything in a very long time, it would be a way to reconnect with the one activity that had consistently brought me a sense of meaning, purpose and inner contentment to my life. Writing had always helped me make sense of a world that often confused me. The act of putting pen to page had a calming effect on my sometimes-errant mind. The challenge became a kind of ‘creative pilgrimage’ in the sense that I was writing my way back to the meaning and purpose I’d lost.
This creative challenge came off the back of another decision I’d made five months earlier, a decision that left me in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for three days followed by another week in the mental health ward. There wasn’t one particular event that led to my decision to end my life, but a growing sense of loneliness and disconnection definitely played a part.
During the two weeks I spent in hospital I met with three doctors, one of whom asked if I was doing anything differently that contributed to my decision to end my life. At the time, I couldn’t give him an answer and simply shook my head.
It was only once I had embarked on the creative challenge to write every day that the answer to his question arose. Although it wasn’t what I was doing differently, rather it was what I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t creating anything. As a result, I asking dangerous questions like ‘What’s the point?’