I have to learn how to live with depression every single day, it changes all the time and that’s taken its toll on my writing. As a writer, I can become so focused on my next project that I get stressed about doing it, I forget all of the characters I’ve already put work into and nothing gets done so I become convinced that I’ll never get to writing. It becomes another thing to be disappointed in along with my personality, creativity, physicality, etc, etc…
Over the years I had to find new ways to use my writing to claw my way back up from a downwards spiral. So here’s how I did it:
- Writing for my mood. This is probably my favourite method because when I’m depressed I have a hard time feeling anything and I need a way to ground myself. If I can list a few things that I’m sure I am feeling then the next step is to let it out. I don’t like to talk about things and I can’t when I’m not 100% sure on what I’m feeling or why I’m feeling it so I write a short story or paragraph aimed at making the reader understand what I’m feeling. Yesterday for disgust, I wrote a short paragraph where a woman was taking her son to his father’s grave. The woman misses her husband so much it hurt to look at their son’s eyes and be reminded of him. She hates that he is like him but not him. This method is brilliant for my creativity!
- My tragic backstory. Yes, I’m being dramatic but we all have things in our past that are hard to get over so trying to put them into words makes things appear clearer and a whole lot simpler. It sorts out the mess in my head. I’ve written memories I have like I’m in a book and I’m the main character. It works for me!
- My future. This I like to do in a third person narrative. I write where I can see myself in the future (which can be good or bad) and I write where I want to be (which is always great!).It’s like writing the epilogue to the longest series in the freaking world before I’ve finished book one. When I’m just getting back up from being really depressed it helps; It’s the future and sometimes you can do nothing but simply just be relieved you plan on being there.
- Poetry. Even as a writer, I’m still very suspicious of poetry. Especially when it’s aimed at being an emotional poem. I’ve written poems so bad I couldn’t even let them stay in my notebook nevermind let anyone read them! It was something that started in high school when I usually sat alone, I liked to write poems and they’d usually be set in the places I like to escape to e.g. the benches on the second floor or any other places in the world where I’ve felt safe.They would always be in my voice and in first person rather than a character I’d made up. Sometimes you just need to vent and poetry is how I did that.
- Dear As***le! I don’t dislike people easily but everyone has a limit and a list of people they’d be glad never to see again. I’ve only used this technique once in my life but I cannot tell you how relieved it made me feel to have the words there on paper! I wrote a letter I had no intention of sending or letting anyone else read because no one can or should keep things locked up. I had to let go of what I was feeling and what I had to say but couldn’t say. Out of all of these 5 method’s this one helped me the most.
I know it’s hard to write sometimes, that a lot of writers will tell you to write every day and that can make feel guilty and more depressed when you feel you can’t. That happens to me all the time. I have to take care of myself and whether I get writing done every day or not I couldn’t escape my stories even if I tried. Mentally and creatively I’m always trying to get better and to anyone out there that’s in the same place as I am I only hope they are too.