1. Vegard Pompey
    Offline

    Vegard Pompey New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Distracted by depression

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Vegard Pompey, Oct 7, 2009.

    Good evening.

    Like many aspiring writers I have my fair share of problems. Lately, when I sit down and try to write, I find myself distracted by these problems and end up moping and maybe writing some disjointed angsty poetry.

    What are your tips for pushing these problems aside and focusing on the writing?
     
  2. pinelopikappa
    Offline

    pinelopikappa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Hellas
    Everybody has their share of problems.

    Perhaps you shouldn't push them aside. Perhaps you should wite about them to get them out of your head, even momentarily, and then write stories not directly connected with your life. I've read it as advice somewhere, and it seems to be working for me.
    The thing I always say to me when I am in a mood like yours is "oh, get over yourself". It works because I am making myself guilty about thinking too much about me. Does this make any sense to you?:redface:
     
  3. Where Lunatics Prosper
    Offline

    Where Lunatics Prosper New Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmm. I seem to be having much the same problem as yourself. I even wrote some angsty poetry yesterday. :p I have plenty of ideas, just not so much in the way of how to go about managing them or turning them into something coherent. They're largely a collection of random visions pertaining to some epic fantasy of some description, but they all seem "unique". Aside, my mind drifts back to other projects and even - shock, horror - some fan fiction I've been fretting over for a long while.

    The thing is, I'm just too busy academically at the moment to really employ writing even as catharsis. Too hectic. I haven't even updated my blog for weeks. My life just isn't interesting enough, ironically. As has been previously said, write whatever you wish, even if you don't feel it's of the best quality. What I wrote yesterday wasn't exactly the best - just some mopey, banal emo codswallop from an admittedly depressed mind that wanders into tangents of memento mori, which isn't the best for esteem.

    Though I do certainly wish you luck. We are the type to struggle with ourselves mentally and emotionally. We may agonise over every page, fret that what we write is never good enough - but you're still more likely to find genius in a cracked pot than in a whole one. ;)
     
  4. Sillraaia
    Offline

    Sillraaia Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    Kind of funny how depression tends to lead to poetry. I wrote a bunch of poems when I went through my depression fit at 16. It felt like it helped me, at the time. It was the only thing I could write whenever I sat down with blank paper. And it was good, too. At least, one of them was; the one I spent the most work on.

    I would say to use your depression to fuel your musings, angsty though they might be - but that might make your depression worse. Personally, it was one of my own poems that I felt comfortable enough sharing that got me out of my situation, beginning my road to recovery.

    So personally, I think you need to deal with the depression before you can be in a healthy enough mood for it not to affect your writings.. When I was depressed, I doubt that I could have put myself into any kind of story, and have it separate enough from my own life and views to where they wouldn't come through on the paper.

    Good luck. Depression sux, but for me at least, it was only temporary. :)
     
  5. psyence53
    Offline

    psyence53 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Within The Confines Of My Mind
    Angsty poetry is better than the nothing I end up with from moping over depression. I would only suggest trying to use your feelings and experiences in your writing, i.e. try thinking about things constructively rather than as a problem. Like some musicians write songs from heartbreak or depression. I wont suggest anything else because then i'll be a hypocrite!

    Good luck though. I hope you find a way round or through what you're feeling.
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,885
    Likes Received:
    10,069
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    My tip is never to push problems aside.

    Deal with them. Head on. Problems don't go away because we shut the door or sweep them under the rug.
    I feel that the image of the depressed, alcoholic/drug addict suffering artist is an unfortunately romanticized
    image. I write best when my head is clear.
     
  7. ManhattanMss
    Offline

    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    14
    I don't know if my own experience will help, but I believe that, for me, there was a shift in perception when I discovered that if I "listen" to the writing itself, that very process takes me out of myself (and whatever angst is within me) and into another world altogether.

    I remember times when I sat down to write feeling like there was nothing I could write that would be worthy of anyone's attention—least of all, mine—and especially so in contrast to whatever part of my life seemed most troubling. I was overwhelmed by feeling I had nothing to say that a reader could possibly find engaging (even, for that matter, the reader in me). But when I noticed one day that the words themselves seemed curiously compelling to me, there was a seismic shift in my perception of what writing actually is (or can be).

    Maybe it takes some practice to let the writing become its own compelling "distraction." But it can do that. At least that's been true for me. Some things I do sometimes are to make arbitrary technical choices, like rhyming or “sounding” or length or verb tense, or POV. Or, choosing a word or a phrase that has a peculiar quality and move from there outward till I discover the story or theme. The only conscious effort I make is NOT to write ABOUT my own angst, but to let that angst generate a word or a phrase, or even an image. Then I combine that with some arbitrary paramaters and set out to find where it takes me.

    I guess what I'm saying is that writing as an artform can (at its best, I think) be its own distraction and even the driving force behind your own creativity rather than forcing your own angst onto paper. I'm not saying your personal perceptions won't have a role to play (I believe they undoubtedly will and probably should). But I find that happens of its own accord, sometimes in surprising ways.

    Someone (I think it was Arron, maybe in another thread) mentioned being in control of the effect you have on your reader, and I agree that it's crucial to understand how to do that if your aim is to “be” a writer. But that comes along in the finishing stages and never at the outset (for me). Plus, it's pretty hard to "finish" something that never actually gets started.;)
     
  8. Phantasmal Reality
    Offline

    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    If you're depressed, I recommend coping with whatever's bugging you first, then write. Even if you can manage to shut it out while writing, it'll only come back later. If you have a good friend/family member/partner to talk to, try getting your problems off your chest. It can help. :)
     
  9. Operaghost
    Offline

    Operaghost Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    0
    Already some really good advice here, i myself suffer from depression and sometime also get in these sorts of moods where I just find the whole idea of writing as futile and hate everything i do write but ironically out of thes eperiods i have sometimes written peotry (which i never do) which has actually been published it really depends what you are writing about as to how distractiing it will be but one thing you migth want to try is wrting something new, try a different genre for example or even for a differen tmedu=ium, you may find that this shift in perception to your usal writing may help take your mind off things
     
  10. WMMorgan
    Offline

    WMMorgan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ellisville, Mississippi
    Depression--yeah, been there, done that.

    Drawing out of my current situation, the best I can offer is: Look Forward. Imagine how your written story or stories should end, and launch plot and characters guided by that end.

    I think once you know how the story starts and and how it (generally) ends, motivation becomes that much stronger. The key is to get moving, in terms of both actively improving your craft and hammering actual words on to a page.

    Recently I entered a submission into the short-story contest here. Began it in a half-hearted, who-am-I-kidding fragmented sort of way. Then pieces started popping out of nowhere and falling into place. When I ended up with 4000+ words for a contest rule of 3000 max (+/-10 %), I nearly gave up. But I was amazed at the stuff it didn't need when I took a knife to it, and I got it down to an acceptable word-count. Just being able to do all that and in less than a week has been a big confidence-builder for me.

    As to distractions, well, get rid of them. Stephen King has some good advice for that in his book On Writing.
     
  11. Lmc71775
    Offline

    Lmc71775 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    26
    I deal with this too and I have been following this thread intently...

    I am Bipolar so I know all about depression. IMO, I believe reading and writing are like breathing in and out. If you don't feel the movitation to write because you are depressed and distracted with real life issues, then motivate yourself to READ...breathe in deeply the words written to you, in your book you choose at the bookstore, the poem you choose to read, the story online you choose to click on and so on. Read it as if it was directed to you specifically. Put yourself in that position. Read it as if you are the character itself in the story. Jump in, don't be afraid to envelope yourself in a good interesting read. You speak of distractions. If you are the kinda person I am, give yourself room to think freely without thinking of the REAL problem at hand. Pretend your are something, or someone else for a while and just "listen" to the read...like I think Molly mentioned...which was excellent advice.

    Then when you can spit nails when you are just so frustrated, write it out in a poem or non-fiction story, by breathing out your angst on paper, your loves your lies, your looks, your life...someone else's life, you name it...write it out. Speak with your heart and write with your mind and let the story or poem unfold from there. Don't worry or hesitate on whether it is good or not, just concentrate on the message at hand, the moral you want to convey, the moral and the message of the story or poem idea. Someone else said in this thread, "look foward"....more great advice. Look forward to your finished piece of work...like it was artwork you want to hang on a wall somewhere. Build your wall to the highest power within you. Write your heart out, whatever you feel like writing...then when you feel comfortable enough to do so...post it. And only listen to the good and bad feedback with a grain of salt, it is only one person's opinion and it is NOT the end of the world as we now it, if you get a bad review. It is only the writing, not on the writer itself, but the work you put into it. It is not a reflection of you, or a judgement made upon you, but a judgement made on the piece of work, the story or poem or whatever post. Don't take it too much to heart if it is bad. Everyone needs to read and write good and bad writing...that is the way of the world.

    You know my husband only sends me emails of the news on T.V. because I refuse to know what is truly out there in the world today, truly happening that I can NOT bring myself to terms of reading it? Why? It is too depressing. BUT...sometimes you MUST and NEED to because that is the actual world of today and society....thus creates stories in our own minds...how do we deal with it? Well, write..from the wrongs...and wrong out the rights. Everyone has the freedom of speech, use it and use it wisely. Use you word usage wisely too. Read the dictionary and the thesaurus if you can't figure out a different word to use. WORD POWER...POWER OF WORD...



    Also, motivate yourself to do healthy things in life too, exercise...take a brisk 10 walk outside. Or go to the mall and treat yourself to a mocha latte and seat down and people watch. You can character build there by studying real life forms and figures...read people and their detailed expressions and mannerizms...get your mind off your depression that way...

    Someone else also mentioned go to groups and family and counsilors and therapists and all that too......excellent idea. Try to motivate yourself to visit an emotional anoumyous (spelt wrong i know) but anyway, treat yourself to a group or class at the library for writer's and open your heart out in your work that way. Getting critiqued out in the open, is quite scary I know, but very rewarding in the same right. Go to poetry mic nights too with a couple of friends, or by yourself if ya have to. You make even make new friends there.

    Whatever the case, be strong and forge ahead, look forward to each and everyday of your life. And believe in yourself, you are a good person and a good writer, look forward on becoming a better one, be the best that you can be, in the Army...of life. It will happen eventually. Practice makes perfect, practice on the art of focusing on other things...

    Also too, I would suggest you speak with you doctor, if you have one, if not, get one fast!!! Medication, anti-depressents and all that isn't the be all and end all and certainly isn't the cure either, be it does in fact help greatly. It balances you out, so I do hope you have a doc you can talk to.

    Good Luck with your writing endevers and Take great care of yourself!!! We are all in this boat together. God Bless.

    Lisa
     
  12. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    I would discourage this, unless you're suicidal. Anti-depressants are a means to numb your mind of negative thinking, by drawing a hard line across the entire spectrum of feelings. Feelings you need as a writer and as a personality, are reduced and confined within the bounds of "normality".

    It's symptom treatment and it cures nothing. It's Valium for your soul.

    I tried it myself, once I had a depression, so I don't just speak from prejudice. Anti-depressants made me "normal" and also somewhat indifferent to all the things that otherwise make me tremble in fascination. It turned me into a rational, sociable person who cared about shopping and talkshows on TV. Who, among creative souls, would want to be normal and average like this?

    Luckily, the effects wore off.

    My suggestion is to avoid it, unless in the utmost need, and then stop once you have dealed with your practical problems.

    Of course, letting a professional evaluate you seems reasonable, just keep in mind that they have interests in selling drugs. Drugs of symptom treatment. Drugs that don't do anything a healthy diet and fresh air at regular intervals cannot.

    Personally, what I found to be the best cure of all was to stop feeling sorry for myself. Depression is a self-centered emotion. By that I mean it seeks inwards, wears on you, and in turn makes you more depressed. By focusing your mind on the world and the people outside yourself, the feeling is deprived of sustenance. Keep thinking positively about things that aren't centered in yourself.

    Over time you become better at it and may be able to just laugh at those "big unsolvable problems" that somehow seemed to make your life a living hell. To me, the greatest personalities in history are those who were able to do just that. Give themselves a good laugh.

    "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life"
     
  13. Lmc71775
    Offline

    Lmc71775 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    26
    Haha...good advice. I like that idea. Don't lose your sense of humor, or all is lost.......lost in a story or book or movie...you name it.

    I think that is why my 35,000 word novella sunk like the Titanic....ICEBERG...ICEBURG ahead!!! It was too dull and depressing. I need to work in the humor.

    Horuseye...good eye! Thanks for the good advice, I will try to remember that one too.
     
  14. Vegard Pompey
    Offline

    Vegard Pompey New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all your helpful advice. These aforementioned issues aren't really issues I can ever hope to deal with or get rid of so the best I can do is just ignore them.
     
  15. SayWhatNow?
    Offline

    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    My own little world
    For alot of writers, writing is a kind of therapy to vent their problems out into a healthy medium.

    TRy that.
     
  16. Sillraaia
    Offline

    Sillraaia Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    You have been trying to ignore them thus far, have you not?
    Ignoring most problems in life will not make them go away, they need to be dealt with somehow - or simply vented. Do not allow yourself to dwell on these problems for long though. give them a certain amount of time, with which you either sit and think of solutions, or sit and write, to vent them out, and then move on. Vitally important, that moving on part.
    As someone said, depression feeds on itself. The more you think on it, the worse you will feel about it. Choose to be productive, instead.
    You know, you can play, have fun, go to work, or whatever, but in the grand scheme of things, it all seems pointless at times. Like you are living, but for no reason. GIVE yourself a reason. Perk yourself up, improve peoples days. Choose to impact other peoples lives in positive ways.

    To me, sometimes, it feels like my writing is the only thing that will still be around when I am gone, so making it the best I can is a duty. Write more. Write lots. Keep a diary - keep two of them, and keep all depressing thoughts out of one of them. If you must enter something depressing, pick up the depressing journal and make an entry - but don't let it exceed one page. And then return to your happy one, and write something positive. Anything.

    You control your mind, and your subconscious thoughts will follow, even if it takes them some time to catch up to you.

    You are in control of where you want your mind to be.
    Take care. Be strong.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. Operaghost
    Offline

    Operaghost Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is a lot of good advice here and i think i need to follow some of it myself lol, i disagree with the comments about anti depressants though as in my experience they simply don't work, but then i am pretty depressed at times, one thing that does help though is knowing that depression isn;t neccesarily a barrier, take a look at people like Winston Churchill who was a manic depressive (and dyslexic) and what he achieved
     
  18. Fox Favinger
    Offline

    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Telling someone to just "deal with your problems" doesn't solve jack -. My long running depression and insomnia stems from psychological problems that I can't help, in my case OCD. I can't make it go away. I have to keep doing what I do or I'll go insane. My main issue is actually writing itself which is a learning disorder I've had my whole life. When I'm depressed it becomes even worse. I have countless ideas in my head and I can't get them out.

    Over the past year everything I use to enjoy no longer does. I pushed my guitar aside, I pushed my video games aside, all my various hobbies became null. And now I've recently hit an all time low and writing seems too hard to pick up. I let the thoughts cycle endlessly and it affects my ability to function, even at my job.

    Well here's my take on writing. Completing a piece gives me a huge sense of self satisfaction and self worth. Same with completing a song on guitar. My advice is not to ignore your problems but to just keep writing anyway, because if that is your true passion you shouldn't hold back. I try to relate to my characters to the point where my own problems transcend on to them. It then becomes a sort of therapy for me as my characters become parts of myself.

    This is how I deal with and I know we clearly don't have the same problems, but it drive me nuts when I hear "deal with it" because I CANNOT deal with it. My whole life people have been teaching me how to work through it, and pretty much that' all I can do. My problems are strictly psychological, if I can't learn to work around them, then I am completely screwed and my depression will only get worse.

    EDIT: On antidepressants. I'm actually tempted to go back on them. I had a bad experience too, but remember they affect everyone differently. I've heard from people who said they've really helped them get through hard times. Since I am not a doctor I cannot recommend whether you should try antidepressants, that's between you and your doctor.

    I can say this though, if you try therapy make sure you like your therapist. My first therapist got me no where but my second one really helped me identify my problems and get me through my school year :)
     
  19. Ghosts in Latin
    Offline

    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    2
    Sadness has been the inspiration behind many, many great things.
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page