What Depression Feels Like for a Writer Like Me

What Depression Feels Like for a Writer Like Me

My Stars, this is a very honest post. I hope you can handle my honesty because I want you to be able to know me, all of me. I don’t want to hold or hide anything back, so if you’re the kind of person who is uncomfortable around real people, stay away from this post.

I’ve decided to up my blogging to twice a day, in case you haven’t noticed. One blog post will be personal, and another will be purely writing related. This one I’m writing because I’m feeling the depression puppeteer pulling on my strings and trying to make me do its bidding.

I use American McGee's Alice a lot because I feel like her a good majority of the time--not abused by an external force, but my own mind.
I use American McGee’s Alice a lot because I feel like her a good majority of the time–not abused by an external force, but my own mind.

I hate the way I feel right now. I’m irritable and exhausted and feeling a little hopeless. I finished chapter one in my new novel and am 1/3 of the way through chapter two. I know I can finish chapter two by dance class tonight–well, rather, I should–but I’m exhausted and don’t have it in me.

It honestly sucks breathing right now. I just want to stop. I just want to sleep. But I can’t. Not without meds. It’s terrible. It really is. I feel like my brain has given up on me. It doesn’t want to function right without meds. It hates me, and I hate it. It’s a terrifying thought knowing my moods are at the whim of chemicals in my mind. Certainly I can control the way I think, but not the way I feel. And I’m trying to remind myself that I can become better again, but it’s hard when you’re at war with your mind and your mind is telling you that it’s hopeless, how can you feel better when you feel this way.

Right now, I feel like I’m not good enough, as a human being and a writer. I feel like this new novel will turn to crap because of my traitorous mind. I feel so dispassionate right now, about everything. I don’t want to go to dance tonight. I don’t want to be around people. I just want to take my meds and go to bed and wake up hoping for a better life, a better day.

I shouldn’t be feeling this way. My website, my blog, is finally kicking off. I’m getting lots of likes on posts. I’m finally getting followers. I should be proud I was able to outline 37 chapters plus an epilogue last week, that I finally imagined a story that can rival When Stars Die. I have so many ideas of what I’m going to do to market When Stars Die that I should be bursting with motivation to hunker down and pound out the chapters for my new novel (I already have a freaking cover design in mind for this novel!).

But I can’t feel anything but apathy and seething hatred for feeling this way. My therapist tells me I need to accept the feelings, but it’s hard when these feelings prevent you from doing what you want to do–because you don’t want to do it at the time but you know you normally would.

I honestly hate cliché gifs like this, but there is no other way to describe how I feel at the moment.
I honestly hate cliché gifs like this, but there is no other way to describe how I feel at the moment.

Depression does this. You are its puppet. You cannot break the strings. Some days you can control what the strings do, and other days you cannot. This is one of those days for me. I pray during work tomorrow I’m not so run over that I can’t work on my novel during the lulls at work. I’m a freaking writer. It’s what I do, what I need to do.

I’m on a new medication though. Abilify. My therapist thinks I’ll like it. Unfortunately, I’m on a child’s dosage, so I probably won’t feel any improvements. Another torturous month, I suppose. But Stars, I’m not giving up. I might be giving in, but I know things aren’t always this way.

6 thoughts on “What Depression Feels Like for a Writer Like Me

  1. “Depression does this. You are its puppet. You cannot break the strings. Some days you can control what the strings do, and other days you cannot.”

    Today has been one of those days for me today. I have just blogged about it (I would love if you could read it). Sharing is caring. Hope you feel better x

  2. Don’t take this the wrong way – I truly mean it as a compliment. Your writing is significantly better when you’re writing your feelings; it is easy to tell when you’re writing from your heart. I am expecting that, while writing your novel, you’ll truly become the characters and pour your heart out through them! 🙂

    It’s a gift – not many people can be so honest and raw on paper.

    1. This new novel I’m writing is definitely coming from my feelings. I just have to be in a motivated mindset to be able to take anything I’ve ever felt and inject it into a character who is just as psychologically troubled as I am. But I’m learning how to write when I’m depressed because all I need is motivation. I don’t have to be happy, I don’t have to be feeling my best, or even hopeful–just motivation and I can concentrate and make certain my feelings aren’t too much into my character but just enough that readers can love what I’ve written.

  3. The other day, I was talking with my wife about probably the lowest point in my adult life. I wasn’t teaching what I wanted or how I wanted and was getting used by the system, I wasn’t writing anymore, and I wasn’t publishing what I had written. I was pretty miserable, and I knew it, and after talking about it with my wife, we decided I needed to take the then-drastic measure of stepping away from one part of my career to focus on the other. It was absolutely the right thing to do, and I’m in a better place professionally, across the board, because I did it, but at the time it was soul-quaking to make a change like that, and I was as depressed about making that change as I was by the circumstances that necessitated that change.

    But here’s the thing: not once in all that time did I ever think to myself, “Wow, I’m really depressed.” In fact, it wasn’t until this conversation with my wife the other day that I realized I had been depressed. I knew I was miserable, but I also was really adept at telling myself I wasn’t, or at least at telling myself it wasn’t that big a deal.

    That’s what makes this post so brave and so important. It’s impressive enough to be able to manage and live with depression. But to be able to confront it, let alone publicly? That’s just plain heroic.

    So, thanks for posting this!

    1. Thanks so much for telling me this. It makes me want to get out of bed (literally) to hear that what I did was heroic. I just don’t think we should have to hold anything back. Let’s be attention seekers. Let’s be loud. Let’s demand to be heard. I don’t believe there is any shame in admitting what we feel. Holding it in is what gets us in trouble. Letting it out can save us. I just want people to know all of my, especially potential fans. They deserve that so they can see me as a source who can help them with whatever problems they have.

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