I don’t quite know how to start this post. Only two weeks ago, I shipped the first copies of The Art(s) of Slow Cinema – The 10th Anniversary Anthology (2022) to their new owners. It was in October 2012 that I began to write on this blog about slow films. I noticed early on that those films put a particular spell on me. Those films were not films to be analysed. Instead, they led me deeper and deeper into my soul. Every film that I saw, every article that I wrote helped me to get a little closer to the core of a kind of pain that I have been carrying around my entire life. Slow films helped to investigate this nagging feeling, this burden that weighed me down.
Perhaps it was written somewhere that I would be diagnosed with burnout almost exactly ten years after my first article. Perhaps this is what I had been working towards all the time. Not as something to look forward to, but something to reach to finally break this painful core and allow me to heal. To allow me to live because all I have been doing was surviving.
My PTSD diagnosis, which I had received in summer 2010, was adjusted to C-PTSD, complex post-traumatic stress disorder which is the result of chronic trauma.
Where am I right now and why am I writing this?
Every day is a struggle. Every day I have a little less energy. I have been fighting this for almost two months now but I have to accept the fact that I can’t stop my body emptying itself completely off its energy. Everything is exhausting. The words ‘fatigue’ and ‘exhaustion’ cannot adequately describe what it feels like to be burnt out. I’ve been exhausted for years. This is different. This is heavy. It’s frightening, but also soothing in a way because I tell myself that it can’t get any worse any more.
As I struggle to survive every day, I realise that I have nothing more to say. Not right now. Writing always puts me into an alternative state, it feels like diving. I don’t have the breath for diving at the moment. My oxygen bottle is empty.
I also have to consider the future. The Art(s) of Slow Cinema took a strong hit when I left Facebook and Instagram for reasons that should be clear. I lost on average ten to fifteen thousand readers. Monthly. The audience for my writing is a fraction today of what it used to be because I no longer have the platforms to advertise it. As Elon Musk takes over Twitter, I’m beginning to migrate away from it and will lose the last couple of thousand readers a month. As a freelance writer, I’m dependent on social media, but social media becomes more and more toxic, radical and dangerous. Of course, I move into safer waters.
I’m not sure where to go from here. Do I want to write into a void? Do I want to exhaust myself bringing films to life with very few people reading it in the end? Moving fully into book publishing makes little sense because, again, I don’t have the audience to advertise it and, at least for now, publishing the anthology earlier this year was a financial disaster. People are occupied with more important things, just like I am. They’re tired, concerned, perhaps even frightened of what may come.
This morning, I was on my way to the city centre. I had to turn back after ten minutes. I had no energy left and needed to lay down. This is what I will do with my writing, too. I will let it rest until the end of this year. I will reflect, I will debate with myself of where to go from here. My priority is my physical and mental health. Maybe this bleak period shuts one door but opens another.
Thank you to all my readers who stayed with me for ten years. Thank you for supporting me, thank you for your understanding. Let’s meet again in 2023.