My writing efforts lately have been pretty dismal. Personal issues, coupled with a bad beta review and BAM there it is, that hag in the attic has crept down out of her hole, through the webs of my mind to come and tell me how shit I am.
Writing can be hard enough as it is, but couple it with a mental illness and it can be near impossible. I feel sometimes that it seems to be the curse of the creative. We are sensitive, we see the world differently to non-creative folk. We take in more than any normal person should and this can be a kind of catalyst for bad mental health.
Of course, there are many different reasons for mental illness: family history, brain chemistry, the fact that I am not a doctor. There are so many factors and so many triggers, it can be difficult to determine when you should seek professional help and when you are just having crappy time.
I once posted on social media “If you don’t or never have experienced either of these things (anxiety and depression) then you are a very lucky person. Depression is the vampire that sucks all that you are out. And anxiety is the bugs that crawl under your skin to take what is left…” I stick to my guns on this description.
Anxiety and depression are not just problems that can be cured by drugs, they are not something that you should try to deal with on your own. But the trick is recognizing this before it is too late and then doing something about it.
Depression is serious. It can and will affect more than just yourself.
If you know someone with depression and anxiety issues, please reach out to them. Don’t try to fix them. Just make sure that they know you are there. And stay there… This is way more difficult than it seems. People with depression can have sudden mood swings and staying around when it seems like you are not wanted is very difficult. Even more so if you both have mental health problems.
And if you have depression or anxiety yourself then stay strong. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Let people help you back up the spiral. If you feel that you don’t have anyone to turn to there are lifelines to contact in most countries. Utilize them.
Now, getting back to the writing part. I do have a sense of … ease with my anxiety and depression. That sounds a little fucked up, but hear me out. I have an insight into a world a lot of people don’t. I see things differently, I have unique experiences that my fucked up brain gives me… so I use them. Most of my stories seem to circle around some sort of mental illness. I use these things because it is what I know. I’m not saying that I have DID (what my protagonist has in Dead Bunnies) but I have had poor experiences with doctors like she has and I have been given the wrong medication and panic attacks are something of an old family friend that I know too well.
Also, about the hag in the attic. And no, I don’t have an elderly tenant that lives upstairs, this is my name for the doubt and fear and self-doubt and poor self-esteem that comes creeping down from my mind. She comes down and tells me how shitty my writing is, how no one likes it, that I’ll never be a REAL writer and that I like terrible in my swimming costume.
She can be a real bitch sometimes and what she says can really affect my writing and life in general. It is important to recognize these thoughts for what they are. Bull shit.
When these thoughts come to you try not to make any big decisions. Just keep going with your routine and politely tell her to go fuck herself. Your writing is awesome. Your art is awesome. You are awesome.