1. OurDayBreaks
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    OurDayBreaks Member

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    Writing Depression

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by OurDayBreaks, Mar 26, 2011.

    How do you write it? and if so are you going throught it yourself and if so does it help?
     
  2. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    I find it hard to write if I'm in a slump... Just a lack of motivation on all fronts of life. Not many of my characters become depressed, but maybe that's just me repressing those thoughts lawlz. Anyhow, I'd imagine if i wrote about, I'd illustrate it with a similar lack of motivation and feelings of being overwhelmed. For instance, take the characters favorite interests, hobbies, skills, loved ones, and foil their usual enthusiasm for these cherished things with an almost uncaring attitude stemming from their depression.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have writtren my way out of different kinds of problems, but I have never written my way out of depression. I would think that writing about depression in any compelling way (i.e. in a way worth reading) would take a strong sense of detachment on the part of the writer.
     
  4. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    Writing can help.

    Talking to a family member, friend, teacher, or acquaintance about it will help more. Trust me. Having someone that knows what you're going through helps a lot.
     
  5. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Writing prose helps me out of depression, but have not had that with writing a SS or book.

    Writing about depression? I don't highlight a quality very much. The person is upset because a friend died or was hurt, and I write about that. I write the personality not the diagnosis.

    I did include in a kidnap victim all the symptoms of PTSD, making it unclear if the sadistic clown was real or not. (She had caulrophobia and the kidnapper wore a clown mask.)
     
  6. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    The problem with this question is, it neglects the nuance of emotions that people experience. Real depression is never just depression per se. If your mother dies and you just can't come to terms with the fact that she's gone because you were closer to her than anyone in the world, your experience of depression is going to be different than if you were severely injured in a car accident and you're never going to walk again. When we look at it clinically, depression has identifiable symptoms, but the actual emotions you experience when you're depressed have shades of nuance rooted in what's causing you to be depressed to begin with. "How" you write about it depends on a lot of different things.

    The way to spot a fake character is a lack of emotional nuance. You can tell it's made up if all their emotions are like something out of a Hollywood movie, and not grounded in anything real. Real depression is rooted in real experience.

    Does it help to write if I'm depressed? In my experience, no. But I seem to do it anyway.
     
  7. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Writing about depression, especially while depressed, usually makes for pretty depressing fiction. A lot of writers are depressed, which is why we see it so often (character wakes up, curses alarm clock, mopes around their messy apartment, yawn). The irony is that one of the biggest reasons a writer doesn't write, or doesn't produce quality drafts, is depression.

    My advice, if you really want to write a character that's depressed and you yourself are depressed, is to first get help. Depressed writers are common, certainly, but depression is also one of the biggest killers (sometimes literally) of a writer's ability to produce successful work.

    And don't feel bad about it. There are a lot of studies linking intelligence, creativity and depression. That ability to empathize and ruminate on things in life, even the bad or depressing things, is what can drive an artist to create. It can also drive an artist to not create. So it's important to balance and support what gives one insight, with what gives them a healthy, happy life and the motivation to continue creating.
     
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  8. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Such a good point, popsicledeath. It's in my darkest, most troubling times that I find fodder for most of my creative writing, but when I've been depressed, the stuff I've turned out has usually been garbage. If there was anything good in it, I had to get myself together enough to have some critical distance from it and revise it.
     
  9. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Interesting quesiton. I have a feeling you're asking about how to depict depression in your writing, but it could be interpreted as writing when you're depressed as well. An answer in either camp works out.

    For the most part, I try to remember times when I've been depressed. Depression can be a natural response to the very real pressures and challenges in your life. If a character has run into a wall and sees no way around it, then try going through a list of why this is "bad" for your character and describe his or her feelings about it.

    As for clinical depression, I've seen people who have it, but I don't know how to depict it. For the most part, my reactions to people who are perpetually depressed is annoyance. Mostly because while I know the day can definitely suck at times, I don't need people reminding me of it. That's just me though.
     
  10. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I didn't realize it, but being a closeted gay with lots of pressure to get married (from everybody I know), I was going through depression. I went about doing my normal things ignoring my problems. Then one day I decided to blog about my life, sort of a personal diary where I write everything about my past (because I didn't know then that people read blogs). Many people started reading my blog and we shared about our similar problems. I felt a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and that was when I realized how depressed I had been all those years. So, sharing helps.

    As for depression writing, my blog led me to the wonderful world of writing. I am still a closeted gay (not because I am afraid to come out as before, but because I don't feel the need to) and I admit there is remnants of my depression still lurking nearby, and writing fiction is kind of an escape. I also have to admit my stories tend to be poignant and sad, but that doesn't mean those are bad stories.
     
  11. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    As with everything else writing a character's depression needs to be an act of showing not telling....catalouging what you do, what bad habits you fall into while depressed can be used as 'show' action as opposed to rambling 'tell' inner monouluge....A great non fiction template on the subject matter is Lauren Slater's 'Prozac Diary'... Use the surrounding character to expose the depression.

    an example:

    How Katrina felt about religion had grown convoluted. Widowed before her twenty second birthday, challenged her belief system, and skewed her spirituality. Katrina had not yet reached the point of proclaiming herself an agnostic ,but she held no shame confessing she was now a protesting Catholic. Although it broke her grandfather’s devout heart, Paul Concepion was astute enough not to take the child to task over attendance at Mass.

    Her knew the wound of depression was killing her ; a gaping, festering hole where her moxie, her self-worth; her passion, had once resided. He practically recognized the individual bite marks where the event had eaten her alive. As a solution alluded the pro-active Paul, he relied on prayer more. He hoped a power greater than himself would intercede of Katrina’s behalf.
     
  12. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    I went through diagnosed depression for two years. It was, for lack of a better word, consuming. As some people said above, when you're depressed you're not quite able to do much. You don't have the will to do so. Nothing seems appealing enough, the world loses its colors. You want to get out of that situation and with some great amounts of therapy you may even discover what got you depressed and what you have to do to get out of that situation but you just... can't.

    That depression is incapacitating. You probably can’t even talk about it, imagine writing. Now, the said depression – when you’re just deeply sad and people call frivolously as depression – you may be able to write and that will probably help. When I got to the state where I could see I was depressed and was in therapy, I could eventually write and find comfort in that. I wrote about myself at first, then made up a fictional character that had a depressed way of seeing things. He went through a different sort of situations always seeing things from the “down” side (Is that how is that said? When you only see how the things that went wrong, the bad things that you got from a given situation?) while another character made the counterpoint, seeing things from the bright side. It was like therapy. I was telling myself through fiction that everything in life had two sides and the way you look at them that makes the real difference.


    Now getting to your question… How do I write depression? Well, basically putting my guts out spread on the paper. Now that I know how’s it like and am not going through it anymore, I can look at it from outside and actually write. If you want to write about it, I advise that you do some research on the symptoms and such before actually doing it. If you’re going through it, I tell you it has an end. Find help, that’ll make you see your strengths and speed the process to recovery.
    Best wishes and good luck :)
     

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