Writing With Depression

I go through periods where I live and breathe writing. From the moment I wake up to the second I fall asleep, ideas flow through my mind. They can be distracting while I’m working, but I love it. I feel the passion and the thrill that remind me why I want to be a writer.

But then there are the dark days when my mind is so clouded with doubt and self-loathing, I can’t hear the ideas. This is what it’s like to write with depression. One day I’m fine, and then for the next five weeks, I stare blankly at a white screen. That only serves to make me feel worse about myself. How can I call myself a writer if I can’t even put a word on a page

I’m going through one of those periods right now. I thought I had climbed out of that pit of hell I’d dug for myself, but I’m lingering in purgatory now. I exist, but I’m not living. Each day goes by in a partial haze, and it’s not due to medication I’m taking. I find little pleasure in anything, though I may smile and laugh at the small things. Coming up with ideas is as easy and desirable as smashing my hand with a hammer.

I’m, by nature, a pessimistic person when it comes to my own life. I can cheer others on and see their value, but I don’t often see it in myself. So when I get in this state, I tend to attack the things I love most, and that’s my passion for writing. Nasty words creep into my mind, “Why are you such a failure? Why aren’t you writing? How can you call yourself a writer? You’re terrible. You’ll never amount to anything.”

Pretty mean, right? That’s how my mind works sometimes. It’s like I don’t feel like I’m allowed to enjoy anything good in my life because I’m unworthy of it. And unfortunately my writing tends to suffer because of that. How long this period will last is unclear, but for those of you who go through this, just realize you’re not alone. Others feel the same way and it sucks…but you’ll get through it.

The thing that helps carry me on is I know that flame, that passion, is still burning deep inside of me. One day I’m going to open my eyes and I’ll feel the ideas warming my mind, reminding me why I want to do this for a living. It won’t be perfect. And maybe the feeling will only last for a day, but I’m happy to cling to that hope. I’m happy to wait for the light to come and the darkness to fade.

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