1. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    Deep Depression Diagnozed - keep writing or not?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by IlaridaArch, Nov 29, 2015.

    Hey,

    I've been writing one story over a year now. I recently visited doctors / psychiatrist and they diagnozed depression, which has been there for couple of years (quickly evaluated).

    Should I keep writing or not? Are there any other writers, who have suffered from depression? Did you write, or did you put your work to a side?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What do your doctors and psychiatrists say? What sort of therapy are you undergoing for your depression, and how would writing help/hinder your treatment?

    There are lots of writers who've struggled with depression, and a fair number who've lost the fight. You need to do what's best for you, not what's best for some other writer.
     
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  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Plenty of writers have depression. There are folks here on this forum who have depression. Should you write? Well, if it's helping you then I say you should.
     
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  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    As long as it isn't a suicide note, keep writing!
     
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  5. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Sometimes, when my depression was worse, my writing would make me feel bad, but I'm mainly a political writer, in exile, seeking asylum here at WF. When I'd write aggressive things I'd feel guilt and not be able to see that I wasn't a total asshole for what I did, instead of just an average asshole. What I'm saying is that if you're going to share your work with others, that might be a trigger for feeling bad if the focus becomes what people might think of you or what your story might mean -- some themes and content might be safer than others. If the depression keeps you from writing, there's nothing wrong with viewing it as you would a job, where you are too ill to "go in." I wish you all the best in your recovery, it is possible, I know personally.
     
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  6. SilentDreamer
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    SilentDreamer Member

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    Plenty of writers battle depression. Like a previous poster said - as long as it's not a suicide note, keep writing. Though, I'd put a extra bit on that - as long as it helps, and isn't making your depression worse - keep writing.

    For some writing can help. Even if you are writing down what you are feeling and not showing anyone, sometimes its helps to just have the space to get your thoughts out of your head.

    I was never diagnosed formally, but I'm pretty sure I should have been on medication for depression in my teens - I wrote poetry that became darker than dark...but it helped me through what I was going through at the time - and now, I can't write poetry for grass!

    Do what is safest and most helpful for you. And know that you are not alone - any time it gets too rough, you can always reach out to us.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    To learn a bit about this issue, I just googled writing through depression and was astonished at what came up. This is apparently a very very common issue, and has lots of different kinds of responses. Take a look at some of these and see what makes sense to you.
     
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  8. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    Thanks for all the responses!

    @BayView - I have my first proper treatment meeting with the psychiatrist tomorrow, where I wish she could give me some insight. I think it's really regular form of therapy, it's all just starting so I'm not completely sure how things works out.

    @BrianIff & @SilentDreamer - thanks for sharing your own experience with this. What I am afraid is that the depression will take a hold of me and changes my work. Influences the theme and emotions the writing delivers and that is something I want to avoid. Then on the other hand, if the psychiatrist who made the evaluation of my mental state is right, it's been there quite a while so it already has affected my work. I believe writer's state of mind has a huge influence, in the end, we can't control our mind 100% (which I find scary).

    I experienced an odd moment a few days ago, when I wrote a short story in a day. When it was done (the first draft), I read through it and all I could say was; 'wow, this is horse shit'. Then I had a sudden urge to delete all of it which thank the god I did not do. Whenever I have finished something like a chapter, I have never experienced such a strong reaction to my own work. That was something really disturbing, hence I started to suspect should I be writing at the moment.

    @jannert - thanks for the tip. I google'd it as well and found some interesting articles about this. Some of them also seemed to have the approach of "heal the depression by writing" and had couple of ideas which could be used. Such as, writing a dialogue between you and the depression. Or writing a small amount after waking up, venting everything out to the paper so those thoughts won't growing during the day. I think I'm gonna give it a go with the dialogue one, because it had very good reasons to do so. It sets up the idea that the depression isn't part of you, but rather its own individual. I've read some psychology books in schools and this is something those taught as well.
     
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  9. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    How do you feel when you are writing? Not the after part when you read but the actual writing part? For me, when i go through dark moments writing is like a saving grace. Since you experience bad feelings about your own work, i suggest writing and not reviewing it until you are completely done. I am half way done with my 70,000 goal for my YA novel and I have yet to read any of what I have written so far.
     
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  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a surprisingly common issue not just among writers but among all artists. So, definitely keep writing, and you're in good company. We "Creatives" have a tendency to be wired in non-standard ways - the upside being that we can dream up whole worlds in our head, the downside being that we tend to over-think and over-emotionalize the actual world outside our head.

    So, personally I'd just say embrace that you have been given such a mind and keep creating. Of course, seek appropriate help for whatever issues and pain you experience (I see a therapist), but don't reject the parts of that nature that produce good things. And at some level, I've only half-jokingly accepted that I'm the type of eccentric chap who spends way too much time with his imaginary friends and then writes about them...which if you think about it is pretty awesome.
     
  11. David Nixon
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    David Nixon New Member

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    Hi, this is my first post. I have floated around the forum for a while and wanted to sign up just to post my response to your question.

    Firstly, I implore you to not give up your writing. As someone who has suffered and beat depression over the past few years I can understand that its rare you will ever experience a time of your life when your emotions are so powerful. Writing down your feelings can really help.

    Secondly, it may seem like strange advice, but don't take your "diagnosis" as a definite answer to how you have been feeling. There are SO many different reasons that your depression has manifested and yet a doctor will happily slap the title "depression" to it without further investigation. Lack of self esteem, tiredness, self loathing, difficulty getting up in the morning, anxiety and all other symptoms of depression can be linked to so many other problems. Whats worst is doctors can often prescribe the same medicine for multiple people who have the same symptoms yet all have completely different causes.

    depression is a physical illness, not a mental one. The body and the brain's chemistry and internal wiring getting muddled and out of whack (it will take time but through trial and error you can actually discover what is causing how your feeling.

    I want you to watch this video below, it helps explain things and may help you. my favorite quote in the video is. "a psychiatrist is the only doctor who doesnt actually look inside at what he is trying to cure."



    its a video that really helped me.
     
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  12. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    @AASmith - well I have now met the psychiatrist for two times and we chatted about this. We came to a conclusion that my bad feelings on my work are most likely caused by the general lack of self-confidence, not by the writing act itself. Based on that, I guess there's no reason to stop writing for now. I do the mistake that once I have written a chapter, I immediately start to edit and improve it, rather than moving on...

    I also decided to not take any prescriptions after listening to the doctor and couple of my classmates who have gone through depression as well. They made it sound pretty bad, told me how the meds made their emotional reactions much more 'weak', wheather it was good or bad. Then once dropping the meds, for couple of weeks the emotions were very extreme. Laughing suddenly for simple joy and in a minute, crying for something really odd. Didn't want to go through that kind of a rollercoaster...

    In the end, every time I leave the doc's office, I feel good so guess there is some improvement going on.
     
  13. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I'm glad you have been able to figure it out! Whether you like your work or not keep at it because if anything it will help you to improve. A lot of writers/artists go through depression so you are certainly not the only one.
     
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  14. Alstroemeria
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    Alstroemeria Member

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    Definitely keep writing! In my depressive episodes, I often cannot write, but, when I push/drink (ahem) myself into it, my affect always lifts with the feeling of accomplishment, even if I've only managed to churn out a couple of lines. :)
     
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  15. Genghis McCann
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    Genghis McCann Member

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    I don't think depression takes away from the creative process. People still have the same creative ability, but depression does take away the drive and initiative to act on the creative process. I can't write when I'm depressed. I just sit around like a bump on a log.
    There are several different types of depression. The first is when there is an obvious cause - money, relationships, career problems. The answer here is to work on the problems. Medication may not be the best answer and may not help at all. But there is a second type where everything can be going right, yet you still feel down. If you can't pinpoint a reason why you are feeling down, medication sometimes does help. At least it has for my daughter who has been on her "happy pills" for some years and is doing really well. And I've been on them from time to time too (they did help). There is also a third type of depression that alternates with periods of intense drive and activity, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. It used to be called manic-depression. If you have this, it is a serious (but treatable) mental illness and you definitely need medication or your life will fall apart.
    Your psychiatrist will be trying to decide with you which kind of depression you have and where the best likelihood of success lies. Stick with it. And don't automatically dismiss medication if he/she advises it. There will be a reason they are suggesting it.
     
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  16. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I have found that writing actually lessened the symptoms of depression. For me it was a form of escape. When this world really sucked, I could always open the laptop and immerse myself in another world where people were treating each other with dignity and respect. Or I could just kill someone off. (You'd be surprised how gratifying that can be!)

    Sometime I just flat out write about the things that were making me sad. My editor loves those, he says they are some of my best works.
     
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  17. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depression is very common among writers.

    Read Page Fright to find out how prevalent.

    Keep writing. I find it helps keep my depression under control.
     
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  18. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    Thank you for your input all. I have had 6 meetings in my therapy and I have noticed clear, positive impact afterwards. Also I've started to understand lot more about the true issue, which already relieves me quite a bit. The therapist couldn't be better than she already is.

    I have been writing and it was the right thing to do. I'm glad I started this thread here, also nice to read your replies. I strongly recommend and encourage to see therapist with depression, it really does help.
     
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