Dealing with Depression as a Writer

Ever since I started this blog back in 2006, it’s been my pledge to be totally honest about the writer’s life and what’s going on in mine. And so it’s time to talk about the dark side that happens to some of us.

I’ve been struggling with a bout of depression for the past ten days or so. Depression is something I’ve dealt with my entire adult life, and resolved with varying degrees of success. I suspect that there is a direct correlation between creative people and depression, and there are many examples of writers, painters, actors, musicians and other creatives over the years who have dealt with depression. And even though many people try to find a logical, rational reason for depression–what’s going on in your life, for example–at least in my case, it’s more biochemical than anything else.

Mine is not to the point where it is debilitating, where it happens all the time, or where I think I need medication. I seem to really struggle about once or twice a year, which I guess is not bad. I really have more problems with migraines than I do with depression. But when you’re stuck in depression, it’s easy to feel helpless and can’t do anything about it, even when you know what it is that can help you.

In the past, what I have done is: (1) try to become detached emotionally and focus on things that need the logical part of my brain; (2) get busy with said logical tasks, such as physical work at home, getting back work done in the office, editing on book projects; (3) exercise in various forms. This time, I feel the need for exercise, but I’ve been sick, so it’s been hard to exercise. After struggling for ten days, yesterday I finally picked up my latest book project and started the editing process. Immediately I felt relief. Strange how that works for me.

There are a lot of forms of depression, and mine is just one of them. I’m not totally out of woods yet, but I’m getting better. Not everyone is comfortable hearing about other people’s problems, but I hope that some people can learn from what I’ve done.