Creative Writers and Depression

I was reading an article in Writing Worlds monthly newsletter (see archives here) where an editor revealed her struggles with depression.

Her symptoms might surprise you.

They also might sound familiar.

Could This Be You?

Dawn wrote: It came as a huge surprise to me. I thought I was suffering from Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I did not think I was depressed. I mean, surely I would notice feeling depressed? Surely I would, well, you know, feel sad, weepy or blue? Apparently not. The fact that my body had slowed down, and weakened, that my concentration had been blown to pieces and my ability to think became clouded in a fog are all textbook symptoms of clinical depression. Feeling sad doesn’t really come into it. I had, in layman’s terms, overloaded my system. I had tried to do too much for too long and something has to give.”

Writer Overload

I applaud Dawn for speaking out on this issue. I see writers (and others) overloading themselves terribly these days. I used to think it was just a “young mom writer” syndrome, but I see it in all ages as writers try to work 40 hours at day jobs, juggle children or grandchildren, do volunteer work, run marathons, do social networking, attend conferences, you name it! (And I’m preaching to myself here too!)

This editor/writer¬†went on to describe how she’d slowly over-crowded her schedule (with good things!), and what that had done to her creativity. Since she didn’t exhibit classic signs of depression (sadness, crying), she didn’t realize her nervous system was basically trying to shut down.

If you recognized yourself in her description, do something now before you have a full-blown depression to address. Trust me–it’s easier to deal with your schedule before than to crash and burn after you’ve overdone it for way too long.

Take steps to deal with it now, while you have more choices.

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2 Responses to Creative Writers and Depression

  1. Vijaya says:

    Kristi, these past six weeks have been overly busy … with many good things, but this is why I really appreciated the snow/ice days. Two sets! It gave us all a chance to just be. Amidst this busyness we had tickets to a Matthew Kelly talk and it was a breath of fresh air. When you realize who you are, what you’re here for, what matters most, and what matters least, you get really good at saying No. I’m working on it.

    • kwpadmin says:

      I find it hard when so MANY things really and truly DO matter to me: the writing, my family, spending time with precious grandkids, exercising, church things, etc. I wish there were things I could give up that are a waste of time, but there aren’t. And when I’m tired, it’s even hard to tell the difference between the “good” and the “best.” I’m working on it too! :-)

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