Idle Hands, Busy Work and Fighting Off Depression

As a writer, the most important thing I can do every day is, well, write. After all, they say a writer is someone who wrote today, and by that measure I’m more of an ass-sitter than a writer.

Most days.

It isn’t to say I don’t write; even if it takes months – or in the case of 22ย Scars, years – I will eventually get things out. But on a day-to-day basis, I more often sleep and procrastinate. I’ll often lie in bed, daydreaming about where I want my writing to go, or thinking of what to write for the evening’s blog, but in the end nothing gets done.

Depression’s a bitch.

The thing is, the less I do, the more I feel depressed, and the more I feel depressed, the less I do. It’s a cycle I’m sure many of you are familiar with. And that cycle, for me, breaks when my bipolar upswing takes effect, and I write feverishly for perhaps a week or two, before sliding back into a period of low mood that might last for another four months.

I wrote 22 Scars – as in, time spent daily writing words for the story – in about two months. Yet I spent the previous twelve years pretending I was going to write it. A bit of planning here, half a chapter there โ€ฆ but nothing ever really happened.

And herein lies the biggest problem. If I aim to use writing as a method of working through depression – after all, the whole point of 22 Scars was to be an ode to my teenage despair – then I need to actually write, because otherwise I know I’ll just fall into despair.

It takes a great deal of personal and emotional effort to make yourself do anything – never mind something creative, like writing – when you don’t feel like doing anything at all. When you hate yourself, and hate your work, and want to just lie in bed all day. I love sleep, because it’s an escape from the drear of the everyday.

And most days, the energy to break through that wall just isn’t there. I just can’t see past the dark veil that clouds my mind, my judgement, and my desires.

Around this time every year I make plans and commitments to better myself, to keep writing more and more frequently, and to actually make something of myself. And in around a month or so, I’ll give up on those plans, because fuck that shit.

But I can’t say it’s all for nought; two years ago I decided I would finally sit down and make my young adult novel come to life, and lo and behold – I did it. It took a few months of very, very hard work – during which time I nearly imploded with the weight of the depression that the story brought out of me – but I made it happen. I published it in late 2017.

Last year, I made the same commitment for my fantasy work, and got my third novel out there a few months ago.

So what does 2019 hold?

I have plans for a new novel, one that takes on mental illness again, but in a slightly different tone. It focuses on several characters, and their journey through a life of music, misery and angst. I really, really want to make it happen this year – as in, write it in the early months, publish it in the later months.

But it’ll take more than just a commitment to writing the novel. If I want to keep myself well, if I want to vainly prevent the dark slide into the abyss, I’ll need to write here, too.

Because writing, ultimately, is about communicating. And whilst writing a novel is one way of doing so, it’s a lonely, solitary process. And if I can reach out to a community of people who believe in and support what I do on a regular basis, it might just provide me with the motivation I would otherwise be missing.

So here’s to 2019, and here’s to all of you – because without you, I would be nothing.

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14 Replies to “Idle Hands, Busy Work and Fighting Off Depression”

  1. I have found that my followers have much more faith in my abilities than I do but their words of encouragement truly make me believe I can accomplish anything. This WordPress community is one for the keeping. They have exceeded any idea I held toward blogging. I didn’t think I would be as well received but it turns out they accept me for me.

  2. I agree with you about the amazing community of people here on WP. For me, what has helped is the writing here, even if it was garbage, it was writing and that helped. Good luck to you in your efforts! We’ll be here to cheer you on! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you! I feel the same – I haven’t always written things worth reading, but I’ve nonetheless been able to connect with other, real people through here, and it keeps me going.

  3. This is wonderful to hear. Motivating and inspiring to keep plucking away at those goals. Writing and showing the public my writing has me wracked with fear and angst, not knowing if it’ll be good enough bla bla. But you’re right, even though my following is small – like 10 people – it’s still inspiring. It takes a lot to push through that depression, so good on ya for the book, and I look forward to those updates regarding progress on another! Cheers to the new year!

    1. Thank you! And keep going – I started my first blog in 2011 and ended up with thousands of followers. You can only gain more, and not everything you write has to be poetry – just write, and get it out there!

  4. Depression and anxiety have been my companions for many years, but 2018 was the first year I had such anger issues as a result. It has been a struggle trying to create new coping strategies to deal with the anger, as I’m a pretty easy going person. I love the WordPress community for the support. And just not feeling so alone. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you! I went through a long period of boiling, furious anger associated with my depression; it eventually became an apparent cycle. In the end I was diagnosed with bipolar type 2, and the medications made a world of difference with the anger.

      1. I have been considering that it may be time to get a new diagnosis. It’s been a while since I have been evaluated and I know these things tend to progress over time. I believe I’ve noticed some manic moments for sure this last year. I never really considered it until recently, and your response kind of solidifies the suspicion. It could just be postpartum though, so I’m trying to make it until I can take medication again. I know it’s something I need, but it’s hard balancing your needs vs your child’s needs for sustenance. LOL. Thanks for responding.

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