Confronting My Writer’s Depression

When I decided to write about this topic, I was hesitant because I feel like writer’s depression is something no one talks about. It’s hard to digest, like a piece of lettuce in a meat eater’s gut. Not only do people not want to be sucked into a black hole of negativity, but they don’t want to witness the excruciating process of someone psychoanalyzing and tearing themselves apart. Like the bystander effect, readers are unable to truly place themselves in the shoes of others because they don’t want to agitate their own moods in the process or get involved. Although all these doubts made me want to choose a more positive, on-brand topic, I felt it was necessary to expose this closeted black sheep because it might get through to others who feel the same way I do. 

Courtesy: Steve Johnson

What exactly is writer’s depression?

Writer’s depression is when you reflect some of your own feelings of depression (and maybe even anxiety) onto your writing. The best analogy I can come up with to better explain this is when you are waiting in line for free tickets to a show and the 100th person in line gets backstage passes. You have this feeling that you could be that lucky winner and decide to wait in line to take the chance. You get closer and closer until there is only you and one person in front of you waiting. Just as you are about to go next, the buzzers sound and the person in front of you is awarded the free backstage passes. You can’t help but feel like maybe if you tried harder you wouldn’t fall short of great things so often. That’s how I feel about my writing sometimes. I wonder how all these other writers know the right things to say, at the right place, at the right time. They got the backstage passes, meanwhile, I’m settling for a show in the nosebleeds.

So, Danielle, how do you deal with this?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Whenever I feel like I am hindered by my own insecurities, I like to take a step back and separate my feelings from my work. It helps so much to physically take the assignment out of my line of sight and deal with my feelings first. A practice that I think really helps me clear my mind is 10-minute meditation. Even something as small as lighting a candle and playing my favorite music can make the bubbling thoughts in my head that seem to boil, bubble and burst, go away. Once I get my train of thought back on its tracks, I can then proceed to finish my writing as I originally intended to without a cloud hanging over my head.

Courtesy: Aaron Burden

~Disclaimer~

Above I make it seem as if lighting some scented wax on fire and playing music from your phone will do the trick, but it isn’t always that easy. Depression is like a whining toddler or a jealous ex; they depend on your reaction to perpetuate. If you stop giving depression the ability to mess with your performance, you will find that depression goes away slowly over time.

I am going to try to take my own advice here because I, too, am trying to better myself, not only for the sake of my future but also to be an example for others who have these same issues. Mental health is a journey and I am here to start this trek one article at a time.

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