1. neverendingstory
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    neverendingstory New Member

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    Looking to bring depth to a deepley depressed character.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by neverendingstory, May 25, 2012.

    whats up folk?

    so im looking to bring depth to a depressed character that im writing. I want her to be more than sad and more than upset, rather, hopless and unable to be repaired. i want to project a deep sense of internal sadness. Maybe things like scenarios that would emphasize her sadness. im thinking of one scene where she is sitting in the rain thinking to her self. Any one written a depressed character before?. im not sure if ive explained this properly but any ideas would be good.

    thanks
    NE.S
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but I wouldn't portray the sadness. I'd portray the wistfulness, the longing to enjoy what others do and knowing it isn't going to happen, can't happen, not now, maybe never. Remembering how it used to be, before the depression.
     
  3. 33percent
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    33percent Member

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    Give her a personality disorder or she is a narcissistic type. She is obessed herself and never satisfied with anything. Her social life is bad etc..Something happaned in her life that led her down a path being depressed. Like the butterfly effect movie. People not just sad for no reason.
     
  4. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    Staring. Blankly. At the ground. The rain is ice cold but it doesn't phase her. She feels nothing. Dead. Alive. She feels the world would go on either way. It's almost midnight. No one has even come looking for her. Alone. Numb. The only thing she feels is hatred towards the occasional car that drives by and disrupts the darkness her emotions are currently bathing in. One car pulls into a house across the street. It's a family. The father goes to the backseat and carries in his child that has fallen asleep. Anger. Jealousy. She has a family by definition. Etc. I like the short sentences and the isolated words that could be used to drescibe someone that is suffering from depression.
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've written lots of characters who are depressed. I've ranged from the wildly showy about their sadness to the more subtle types. IMO, my favorite depressed character was one of my villains who was even able to crack jokes through it all. IMO, if you wanna go for a deep depressed character, try portraying them in a way that might jolt the audience. Make them seem almost not depressed but show that this is only indicative of just how deep their depression runs. That's one option anyway. What works best for your story?
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that would depend on what the OP means by depressed - is the character depressed because of some event or is it clinical depression? That would make a definite difference in the portrayal.
     
  7. Lumipon
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    Lumipon Member

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    Giving your character self-destructive tendenciescan be very effective, as it goes against basic human nature: survival.

    This might manifest as alcohol or drug abuse, sleeping around for no particular reason, general disregard for safety and hygiene.

    But physical harm is not the only way to be self destructive. Not seeing friends or family, not going to work/school, ignoring other duties...

    Physical harm is more effective, but can come out as tasteless if mishandled, as there are many real life tragedies which have resulted from depression.

    EDIT: I just realized that I made a broad statement without backing it with anything.

    As I said before, acting self-destructive goes against the human nature itself. So exploring why the character might act in this way can be very effective as characterization.

    Also, having the character being conscious of this kind of behavior makes all the difference. Is s/he abusing alchohol because s/he just can't get through the day without? Or is s/he cutting himself/herself a cry for attention or help? These examples portray two very different people with very different ways of coping with their depression.
     
  8. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    To the poster who said:
    This is exactly what clinical depression is. Sometimes it's spurred by an event, but for most people it just sort of creeps up on them and sinks them in utter and total hopelessness. So my question to the OP is:

    Do you mean depressed in the clinical sense or simply sad? There is a big difference and clinical depression has particular symptoms. I would recommend googling depression to get a good idea of what it means to suffer from depression. And honestly, I think the character may be ridiculously boring because the main feature of depression is lethargy. It's a lethargy that results in taking an entire day just to brush your teeth, if you can be bothered to do so at all. The second most important symptom, which plays into the lethargy, is utter hopelessness. Using the above example, a depressed person may think, "Why bother brush my teeth because they're just going to get dirty again and besides who cares if I have nasty breath, just another reason why I suck." (Obviously this sounds overly dramatic, but it's closer to reality than you would think).

    Second, please be wary of giving your character a designer personality disorder just for the hell of it. If it has a place in the book, do it, but if it's just to have a popular disease to give your character some cachet, please don't. The diagnosis of personality disorders are very contentious. Many psychiatrists and therapists refuse to treat people with Borderline Personality Disorder because they feel they can't be helped. And, also who defines whether or not someone's personality is disordered? These types of "diseases" are extremely gendered (i.e. promiscuity, how many guys or girls does someone have to have sex with to be considered promiscuous? And whose business is it if someone wants to have one-night stands every night?)

    ^This was a bit of a rant, but regardless PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think carefully about whether or not you are talking psychiatric disorders or sadness. Sadness is something most people can shake off, depression is a heavy blanket that consumed you.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even a deeply, clinically depressed person need not be dragging all the time. They can fight back against the lethargy, and can even have spontaneous episodes of unalloyed joy.

    Let your reader see some of these moments. They will like your character all the more for them.
     
  10. Igor
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    Igor Member

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    This and Show's reply offer the best advice so far. I do suffer from depression. I battle against it constantly.
     
  11. neverendingstory
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    neverendingstory New Member

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    thats gold indy5live thanks for the post. i was thinking the same sorta thing, as in being uneffected by the cold of the rain.

    cheers
     
  12. neverendingstory
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    neverendingstory New Member

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    THANKS EVEYONE FOR THERE POSTS.

    There is some golden ideas that will bring my character to life (or lack there of it, if you know what i mean)

    Appreciate it people thanks again

    NE.S
     
  13. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    If anxiety can be equated to joy....? I dunno, in my own bouts with deep depressions I have never felt this joy that you speak of. Sometimes I was overcome with anxiety that was more debilitating than the depression (I left a grocery store in tears after having a full blown panic attack over which napkins to buy....) But that's just me.
     
  14. Lumipon
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    Lumipon Member

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    It is more a matter of pacing than straight up realism. If there is no "hope" in sight, the bleakness will lose its meaning.

    When you sprinkle a bit of light and joy into the text, you create a contrast. That contrast accents the melancholic parts of the book and makes them that much more effective.

    So by giving the story lighter elements, you make it darker as a whole.
     
  15. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I second the comment that depressed people aren't always depressed. In my experience, depression typically means your emotional range gets shifted down a bit, so you vary from feeling OK to feeling terrible instead of ranging from happy to sad. A lot of times you may just feel like you don't have any energy. Every so often the depression lifts briefly and you have moments when you feel good (often doing the same things you feel too tired to do most of the time - depression has a nasty way of undermining your ability to help yourself). And when something upsetting happens, you get a desperate, frantic kind of sadness that is often the driving force behind self-destructive actions (regular depression lends more to inaction).

    One book that I thought portrayed depression well, without meaning to, was the book Thirsty. The protagonist, Chris, is turning into a vampire, and has very few options for dealing with it effectively (in this setting, vampires can't just drink small amounts of blood or whatever - survival as a vampire pretty much requires killing people). At the same time, he's sleep-deprived because his thirst is keeping him up at night. The author did a great job of getting into his exhausted, hopeless mindset, and the overall feel of the narrative is very much what depression is like.
     

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