The Darkest Days – Writing in a Depressive Episode

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So let’s delve into something that will resonate with a lot of you, and also help to explain where I’ve been the last week or so.  


We’re going to be talking about Depression.  


But not in a “You’re so awesome, this is why you shouldn’t be depressed!” kind of way, or a “The world is so dark and gloomy, why are things even happening?” kind of way.  We’re going to approach it from a practical way, with the lense of a writer.


I’m Bipolar, and rapid cycle like a mother fucker.  It’s just a thing.  I’ve been in treatment for a few years now, and things are manageable, but never far away.  Unfortunately, the way my life works doesn’t lend itself to picking and choosing when I want to be active and writing.  So I irritate people.  I’ll be having too much fun one day and forget about the work I need to do and then flip and be unable to get out of bed for a day or two at a time.  


When I’m there in that place, over-complicating my life and thinking about how stupid I am for being depressed in the first place, then criticising myself for judging myself that harshly, the last thing on my mind is writing.


I just don’t do it.  I don’t even try most days.  Which is a shame honestly.  When I do try, the beauty in my state of mind begins to come out.  


Not only do you have to consider the idea of writing every day for practice and habit, but the content you create can be wonderous regardless of where your mood is.  


When you’re feeling like the world is rejecting you, and you can’t breath without a struggle, the thoughts in your head racing by faster than you can catch them to think, you’re writing changes.  


Writing about beauty can have a sense of longing in the words.


Writing about sorrow can convey tragedy and pain.


Writing about loneliness can  make a reader cry.


When you’re not in a place like that, or currently experiencing pain, writing about negativity much of the time comes from our memory.  Which is phenomenal for being relateable and honest with your content.  But in the throws of pain, or emotional turmoil, you can create some truly beautiful works.  

If you write poetry, I urge you to put together a few lines.  Explore the emotions you’re dealing with in verse.


If you write prose, I urge you to make your characters suffer.  Figure out why later, just put the pain in the words and put them on paper.   


If you draw, pick a color palette and a medium.  


You don’t have to do the difficult stuff.  Words to paper.  Wrap it into the story later.  Build the verse around the lines another time.  Finish the picture tomorrow.  Just do something.  A small piece of anguish can make any creative work just that much more realistic to a consumer.  And it acts as a type of therapy for you (Art and Writing are often times called “outlets” are they not?).


Now I’m bad about this.  I know it.  When I don’t wanna get to work, it’s insanely difficult to get me to do much of anything.  


But when I do, It just works.  


I don’t always keep what I write, and I don’t always feel better afterward.  But it helps.  And at worst, it takes away time that you would have spent sitting there.  


I understand all too well that weight just bearing down.  That nothing is working out and nothing is worth it.  And it’s not my place to get involved in your shit.  But if you can kill two birds with one stone, do it.  If you can find the energy or the time, I recommend you get up and put some words on paper.  Ruin your character’s lives if you have to. You can always undo it.


This is more for me, when I reread this the next time I’m there.  


But it gets better, and it gets easier.  Just for the love of god remember why you write.  Don’t let that passion be a victim of your mental gymnastics.  The only one who benefits from your writing is you.  The only one who suffers from you not is you.  


Thanks guys.  Bear with me a bit and I’ll be back on track soon!



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