If you’ve been writing for quite some time now, then you have experienced rejection just like me. Customers have passed me by as I stand beside my books in the library. My agents left me for other clients. Been refused by publishers and editors. And mind you, I did feel how you feel now – frustrated, lonely, and lousy.
What do you call how you feel? The blues, perhaps? Whatever it is, you are going through a bumpy road that seems to run forever. Well, it’s more than that. You may be having an onset of depression or struggling with another kind of mental health condition. As stated by Kristen Fuller, M.D. “Major depressive disorder is a mood disorder that affects more than 15 million adults in the United States.” When you’re a writer, you tend to over-contemplate your world, and it may even destroy you instead of clarifying things for you.
Moving Towards Depression
I’ve been working for five years as a writer for a rehabilitation facility. It was such a fulfilling job for me, and I didn’t mind writing more than a thousand articles for them. But then, after the fifth year, I realized that I was mostly alone for the past five years. I eventually felt isolated and then depressed.
As I share this experience, I would not want you to assume that all loners get depressed sooner or later. I’m just saying that you are more vulnerable to suffer from it. Additionally, if you’ve had depression before, you may not notice that you have it now. When I had it, it felt like my normal state.
If you think you’re depressed, try asking yourself these questions:
- Do you feel a little more sad than usual, and you have overwhelming feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and devastation?
- Are you pessimistic today than the rest of the days and you can’t seem to see anything hopeful in your life?
- Do you get frustrated and mad easily?
- Do you feel so tired that you don’t want to do your regular routines like exercise and to go to work?
- Are you having trouble focusing, or are you getting forgetful?
- Are you over-sensitive and sometimes cry so hard about something so small?
If you answered mostly yes to the above questions, it would be wise for you to talk to your doctor or visit a therapist. The stigma may still be rampant but believe me; it does help big time. I didn’t think it would help me but talking it out and opening up to someone who was just there to listen and not judge was truly therapeutic.
Writing As Therapy
My therapist advised me to try writing as a form of therapy in conjunction with the talk and the cognitive techniques that he taught me to handle my depressive symptoms better.
What I did, which you also could certainly do, is to remember that writing should bring you happiness. You should delve deep within you and recall how much passion you had for your job and for the art itself. You will have a hard time writing about happiness and love and hope if you don’t for the slightest bit feel these emotions. Discover what you like about what you do and concentrate on that. When you look forward to writing something good, you will feel better, and this will be cultivated into other aspects of your life.
Writing can also aid with other mental illnesses as stated by Robert T Muller Ph.D. “Mental health professionals have observed the therapeutic effects of writing on patients with schizophrenia—finding that the creative process assists these individuals with managing their symptoms.”
Aside from therapy, I was invited by small groups in my community to talk and open up about my love for writing, how it led me to depression, and ultimately helped me heal. Do you have friend writers in your community? Have coffee with them. Sometimes, you just need someone else’s company and perspective to realize that you are not alone. Because according to professionals like Deborah Serani, PsyD, “The best thing you can do for someone with depression is to be there.”