Writing in the Shadow of Depression

I'm going to be brutally honest right now, and not just because I have "something to say," but because I think this needs to be shared aloud.

Last week was pretty shitty for me. I had a bazillion deadlines. I was a giant grouch with a worry addiction. I lost sleep, my appetite, and my sense of self. I went through the wringer and it sucked, plain and simple, suckola, suckaroo, blah, blah, blah. I kept all of this between myself, my husband, and my sister.

I don't want sympathy, a shoulder, or even a lying consolation saying everything is okay.

Don't give me those things.

As writers we have these weeks. They come. They go.

I'm a writer who knows I have suffered in the past (and probably will suffer in the future) with clinical severe depression brought on from traumatic experiences I'll probably never share publicly. Depression is...well...depression. I can recognize that beast's shadow and I can see him coming from a mile away.

That was last week. A week in the shadow, and now I'm pushing forward again. I've learned to cope. 

This week, the boulder of issues is still resting squarely on my chest, but the cloud has lifted slightly and I'm back to seeing through the darkness instead of being blinded by it. That's me. I didn't write any fiction last week either. That's the truth.

So many of the people online share the ups of the roller coaster and put on a show like they never look down because they're just too busy smiling, but that's not me. I love writing. I love talking about writing and getting better at it. I love helping people with their writing, and helping them improve, but I'm not going to lie to you and say, "You'll never have a bad day so long as you're working on something you love."

That's just not the case.

Now, it's true that not complaining about living your dream is part of The Writer's Code, but I'm not complaining here; I'm laying my heart on the line. I'm exposing the inside of the forbidden fruit so you can recognize the bitter seeds when you bite into them.

I want you to do well and be happy. I want you to write a thousand words and then write a thousand more. I want you to know that when you crash on the side of this dark road and flip your vehicle that I'll come flip it back over with you and tell you, "Yeah, that curve gets everyone," because it does.

If this post offers nothing else, then let it offer this: there are horrible weeks out there waiting for you in front of the sun, some strung together, some waiting alone, but you were constructed to weather those storms. Do not give up. Do not give in. Do not let the beast keep you for longer than you intended to stay.

You have somewhere to be that doesn't involve this address where you currently lay your head.


  1. Fantastic last line. It gets better because it always does. I love remembering the line from Bindy Irwin after her father's death, "All bad things must come to an end." Best twist on a phrase ever and certainly has helped me turn around my own travels to the landscape you've described.

  2. I've wrestled that beast before.

    You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.