Depression and Writing

Depression sucks. That might seem a bit of an understatement, but I think it’s the most appropriate description of it. Because depression is like a vampire on your life. It sucks out your energy. It sucks out your joy. Sometimes it hides from you and lets you live peacefully, but it’ll always return to torment you and remind you that it holds the power to cripple you.

I’ve talked about my history with depression before and how it affected my writing, though in a much more optimistic, resilient light. I talked about how writing and the desire of publication got me through some of my darkest times in recent memory. However, as I come off the worst season of depression since I tried to kill myself nine years ago, I write with more anger than anything else. There is still hope, but t doesn’t outweigh the anger.

Last year I wrote about how, in my last relapse, writing was what kept me going forward. It was the reason I got up in the morning. It was the reason I didn’t kill myself. I hadn’t yet fulfilled my life goals, and until that happened, I believed I couldn’t kill myself or else waiting all this time would have been for nothing.
The desire to write stories and share them with others was what encouraged me to live.

But depression can take even that away. Because depression sucks. It can take away all your confidence and convince you that you’ll never do better than what you’ve already done. It can tell you that you’re not worth the dirt beneath your feet. It can take what you used to use as a reason to live and warp it into a reason to die.

If you follow my blog, you know that I haven’t been posting a lot. I’ve talked about getting back on track and how I’ve just been really busy, but let’s be blunt. The reason I wasn’t posting is because I wanted to die. Updating my blog seemed a waste of time. I could barely motivate myself to go to work or see my friends. Writing became more of a chore than anything else.

While I haven’t been this low in eight years, I’ve been on this roller coaster enough times to know I need to go the doctor. So I went, and he told me how my on-and-off history with medication shows that I’m probably one of those people who needs to be on medication for the rest of her life. He prescribed me some Prozac, scheduled a follow-up appointment, and sent me on my way.

And I’ve been feeling a lot better. It happened so quickly I thought maybe it was the placebo effect, but the doctor said the change in my depression score chart was so drastic that it was more than that. I’d gone from a 15 to a 4 in two weeks. My body had been on these drugs before, they’d worked before, and now I was responding well.

But I was a 4, so I still have some symptoms. But with the drastic change in my attitude over the past couple weeks, I’ve just been left angry. I’m angry that I lost so much writing time because of an illness that I thought I had beaten. I’m angry that I got so low. I’m angry that I have to be on medication for the rest of my life. I’m angry that I’ve neglected the presence I’ve been working so hard to build in the writing community. It doesn’t matter that my excuse is legitimate. I understand that, and I can forgive myself. But I’m still furious with depression and what it’s able to so easily take away from me.

Depression sucks, and it can’t be killed, but at least I can keep it at bay. I’m thankful I was able to ask for help. I’m thankful I was able to recognize how low I’d gotten. I’m thankful I never acted on anything i thought about. But I’m angry all the same.

So I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting, and I’m sorry that my presence has been so lackluster recently. Now I should be able to do better.

If you’re struggling with depression, please go to a doctor. Tell someone you trust.

If you’re thinking about killing yourself, go to the emergency room or call a lifeline or even text chat with them or tell at least somebody.

You deserve to be alive. Depression can engulf you. It can convince you that there is no life outside of it. It sucks out any pleasure you experience, any meaning, and convinces you there is nothing else. But depression is a liar, and even if you can’t kill it completely, you can build a fortress against it. Please protect yourself. You’re worth more than you realize.

2 comments on “Depression and Writing

  1. jbgarner58 says:

    I don’t have a personal history with depression, but I helped care for a dear friend who died just a year ago who suffered from severe depression. I’ve seen what it can do and all I can say is that you have my sympathy. I’m glad, though, that you’re recovering and I thank you for giving such sound advice to other people who may suffer.

    I look forward to your renewed vigor here and elsewhere!

  2. jbgarner58 says:

    Reblogged this on J. B. Garner – Musings of a Starving Author and commented:
    I’ve helped care for people with depression in the past, so I am especially interested in this. It has some excellent advice in the end, by the way, if you yourself suffer from depression.

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