It’s been a looong time since I’ve mentioned depression here on the blog. But on Twitter today one of the folks I followed shared a link to a blog post I thought was worth sharing by someone who is struggling to bring themselves out of a bout of depression at the moment.
So check out Moving Forward by Stepping Back by Nena.
It’s interesting to me to think back on those earlier posts I shared about writers and depression. It’s definitely a risk in this field. But what I look back at now is that when I shared them I myself as a beginning writer wasn’t feeling any sort of depression. I shared the articles because I’ve had people close to me struggle with depression–to the point of trying to kill themselves–so I know how hard that struggle can be.
But the longer I’ve walked down this writerly journey the more I’ve found that there are aspects to it that really do challenge me and my own mental health and balance. I still wouldn’t describe myself as depressed, but I would say that at times social media and the influence of the outside world weighs upon me.
It’s so judgemental and opinionated. I see one of those articles like, “The Five Things You Should Never Say To…” and my gut clenches. (The latest was what you should never say to a waiter/waitress like they’re some monolithic whole that all think the same way.) Or I see someone post an opinion and then get attacked and called out and threatened for it. Or, well, politics.
It turns out in my real-life personal world I’m very good at weeding out people who will drag me down emotionally. In fact, I’m almost ruthless about it. But I can’t do the same online. It’s either too visible to try to do so (why’d you unfriend me, why’d you unfollow me) or it just blindsides you (even “safe” people like or share things that can drag me down the rabbit hole).
And I keep thinking, I just need to walk away from social media. But when you’re trying to keep up with an ever-shifting landscape that’s hard to do. Walking away from forums and blogs and FB and Twitter means walking away from knowledge and connection and when you’re trying to make money off of your art, that’s something you don’t want to lose.
But maybe, sometimes, mental health matters more.
So for anyone out there that’s feeling overwhelmed or dragged down or just weighed upon by all those other voices clamoring for your time and energy? It’s okay to turn them off. Yeah, sure, maybe you miss a little here or there, but it won’t be the end of the world. (And if it is the end of the world, well…it’ll be a little too late at that point anyway, right?)
Now to just follow my own advice…I have a novel to write after all.