Writers and Depression (Take 3?)

I ran across another good post by a writer about his struggles with depression.  You can check it out here: Philip Athans on Depression and Writer’s Block.  It’s a good post and it links in to a few other writers discussing their issues with depression.

This one’s a little different from the prior ones (you can find them here and here), because it explores a potential link between writer’s block and depression.  So, if you’re writing and you keep slamming into writer’s block and all the usual tricks to snap out of it aren’t working, then maybe it’s time to look at whether you’re actually depressed.

I’ll keep sharing these posts as I come across them because I think it’s important that people know they’re not alone when struggling with depression issues and that the writer’s life can trigger depression.  It’s ok to feel down and it’s ok to acknowledge that you need outside help to make it through sometimes.  Better that than to turn inward and spiral down.

As writers I think we have to be ultra-vigilant about our mental health.  It’s like an athlete taking care of their body.  So, if you’re a writer and you feel yourself going down that negative path, take steps to stop that progression.  It may be as simple as getting out of your head and interacting with real life people and it may be as complicated as therapy and medication.  But whatever it is, do it as soon as you start to feel those twinges.

Ultimately, we’re all responsible for our mental health.  You may be fortunate to have people in your life who know you well and can see when you need a helping hand, but we live in a frenetic world where people seldom have the time and space to really stop and check in with one another.  Which means you have to look out for you.  By the time others notice and start to ask questions, chances are you’re at a point where it’s going to take a lot more work to recover.

So, look out for yourselves out there.  And learn to recognize the early warning signs.

(And thanks to writingatmidnight for the link to Athans’ site)

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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5 Responses to Writers and Depression (Take 3?)

  1. I feel like I read somewhere that people who live in more community oriented societies have fewer instances of depression, schizophrenia, and other mental imbalances that we have in the more developed places. The theory was that this was due to the fact that people were really connected with one another, so if someone was even barely starting to feel depressed or have psychotic experiences, there were a lot of people there to offer support at the first instance, which sometimes helped prevent the imbalance from becoming worse. Not sure how much truth there is to that, since obviously there would be thousands of other differences as well.
    I find that sometimes all it takes is one good friend. A person you talk to regularly who can say things like “wow, you sound a little down.” or, “Are you feeling stressed out about something?” before you even realize it yourself. It is great that you are spreading awareness about this so that people can know they are not alone. Community, friendships, and connection are all very important, I feel, for our mental health.

    • mhleewriter says:

      That would make sense to me. I would think the very existence of those social connections (where someone knows you well enough to see the early signs) might be part of it, too.

      I think they’ve done some studies about the number of social connections and longevity or mental health, too. There’s definitely something to be said for having “real” friends in your life (as opposed to a bunch of facebook friends you barely know, for example).

  2. lynxchild says:

    You’re welcome! Thanks for linking me back. Great post! Depression is an issue I’ve struggled with myself, and a lot of times it comes through in my writing and how I feel about my writing. The more knowledge is spread about it, the better.

  3. Pingback: Writers and Depression (Part IV) | M.H. Lee

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