Writing Through Depression
From Warrior to Hermit and Back Again: It’s Only Tuesday
“I have depression. But I prefer to say “I battle” depression instead of ‘I suffer’ with it. Because depression hits, but I hit back. Battle on.”
Did You Know?
- Affects over 18 million adults (one in ten) in any given year
- Is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44
- Is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 13 minutes. – over 41,000 people a year
- In comparison: homicide claims less than 16,000 lives each year, according to 2013 CDC statistics.
Throughout history, we’ve become to idolize the “starving artist” in all its forms. A popular form is that of the writer. Writers, like those throughout history labeled as a “starving artist”, subject themselves to global statistics whether they realize it or not. Long before I knew what depression was, I subjected myself escaping into far-off worlds that only existed within the text in the pages of a book. Some saw this as someone with an overactive imagination, a nerd, someone with a love for reading. In some ways, this was true, however. As I came to understand in my late 20’s, there was more at play all along.
When I was first diagnosed at the age of 26, I noticed a sharp decline in my love for writing and other things that once brought joy into my life. Looking back at my previous writings, short stories, poetry, etc… pre-depression era, if you will, I couldn’t but help to feel ashamed for “abandoning” that which once brought me joy.
For the first time in my life the warrior I was trained to become, now all but vanished.
Enter The Hermit
Following the next four years saw zero content written, zero short stories, poetry, zero events entered including flash fiction. The dream of becoming a full-time writer had vanished into thin air. Hell, even my love for reading waned over the same four years.
In the same four years, I worked various odd jobs – none working towards my dream job as a full-time writer. And on August 27th, 2017, my world would be shattered into thousands more tiny pieces. My middle brother took his own life – leaving behind his wife and two children.
Just over a year later, the depression continued, reasonably so anyways.
And Back Again
Full disclaimer: I haven’t fully recovered. Sorry, I didn’t want to lead you on to believe there was some miraculous turnaround. Although, it would be wonderful if there were such a turnaround.
To the point, I’ve learned there can be miracles in the mundane. There are miracles in the smallest things we do each and every day. Keeping a ritual or even a small writing ritual can help – it is helped me over the last two months so far.
Something as meaningless, and maybe even minorly tedious, as making my bed every day leaves me with a sense of being able to accomplish a task. And that meaningless task grew into being able to confidently complete more and more tasks throughout the day.
Beginning next week, I’ll be writing as something as little 300 words per day – attempting to keep up a writing ritual, if only I can accomplish something as little as making my bed every single morning.
The greatest thing about writing through depression is each and every one of us has our own way of handling how we accomplish just that. Took me four years after being diagnosed to accept that fact.
And what you’re seeing here, with this blog, is a revitalization effort of sorts.
Through the mundane…
…I have found my way back.