Sunday, March 23, 2014

Writers and Depression

Depression is a serious topic and effects many people, but for the purpose of this article I'm targeting writers.  The reason, I'm talking about this problem is because I'm an author, and this past week I had a serious bout of dejection because of my books.

Here's what happened, I blogged at a St. Patrick's party sponsored by The Romance Studio from March 13 to 17th.  By the end of the party I had received very few comments even though I post blogs every day and multiple times.  I did get three or four comments over the five day period, but it wasn't enough to keep me from feeling discouraged about my work.  There were others, who didn't receive any comments, or there might have been one or two for those authors, but I didn't see them. 

I know for a fact from talking with many authors that this business can beat you down.  First of all, I want to tell you I have always been a very social outgoing person, so I'm not entirely isolated like some authors (hubby steps in here and drags me out of the house). Some of the things that can cause depression in authors are medical, but for many of us; it's introspection, lack of exercise, irregular hours, imperfect diet and for me the lack of face to face communication with others.  Also, the financial and professional insecurity can add to depression.  In my case, the fibromyalgia doesn't help.  Pain can harm you mentally, too. 

There are authors who add alcohol or drugs, which contribute to depression even more.  Hemmingway was one of those authors.  I believe you could sit a normally happy and optimistic person in front of a keyboard for hours a day without outside contact, no exercise and junk food, and that person will become depressed.

Here are pictures of author's who have suffered depression in their lives and there are many more.

J.K. Rowlings
Leo Tolstoy

There are many famous people who have suffered from depression.  I would like to add more pictures, but I don't have the space.

There are ways to combat this problem.  Among them are medications, but for me the best thing in the world is to get out of the house and away from the computer.  When my writing starts to make me feel worthless and I think my books are nothing but shit; I go see friends and talk about anything but writing.  I know author friends that I can talk to about writing, so when I go to lunch with old friends I want to learn about what's going on in their lives, and I want to laugh and have fun. 

 Exercise and eating properly is important, too, for the welfare of your mind, and it is definitely something I need to work on, especially, as I have always loved junk food. 

Just to let you know today, I'm at the New Dinner Theatre, so I won't be on-line until later this afternoon.  Tuesday, I'm having lunch with two long-time friends.  Next week, I'll be refreshed and working again until the next time I fall into depression.  Smile!

Have a great week and I'll see you next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall, author at Eirelander Publishing


Ailyn Koay said...

it is also surviving depression that made the author's work ring true. imho.

Sandy said...

Hi Ailyn,
That is been proven pretty much a myth because so many great authors have written great stories after getting passed their depression. J.K. Rowlings is one of those authors. She went through a bout of depression after her marriage failed, but she came out of it and wrote the Harry Potter series.

Kari Rogers Miller said...

Hi Sandy....I wish I were there and we could go to lunch and laugh!:)

I just heard that all Malls across America will not only close, but never open again...I imagine there are shoppers everywhere who will go into depression! :)(although, I won't be one of them!)

But as you said....this too shall pass...for most! :)

Have a good morning at the dinner theater!

Sandy said...

Thanks for coming by, Kari. I will not be one to mourn the demise of malls either, Kari.

I wish we could have lunch and laugh, too, Kari.

The dinner theater will start at Noon.

The Comeback Kid said...

Nice blog Sandy. You proved that you don't have to be famous to get depressed. But, I wonder why those famous authors got depressed because they had many many readers and thats why authors write, so people can read? Their depression had to come from something other than their writing.
I think people don't leave comments because it takes time and let's face it...everyone these days just doesn't seem to have any extra time in their busy busy day.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog Sandy. I think lack of sunshine also contributes to author/person depression. I know I can be feeling rotten and just getting sun on me is like having my batteries recharged(My doc calls it seasonal affective disorder) but writers miss the sunshine even in summer.(that's why they have special light bulbs that give off the rays that make us happier,(they are similar to plant and aquarium lights.(Ever seen a depressed goldfish-- a grumpy guppy? of course they might be they can't tell us they hate being cooped up in a bowl.
Hemmiway had so many issues--his mom dressed him like a girl for the first so many years of his life and he was the sole survivor of 2 plane crashes--he had a lot of survivor guilt.
But most of us authors live in our heads to begin with--add our characters and their conflicts--yup bound to get it sometime. That's where family and good friends come in and remind us who we are and that were loved.

Marianne Stephens said...

Depression happens to many but the stigma of saying "I'm depressed" stops some from seeking help. As writers, it's part of "the game". You can be depressed when you get writer's block, you can't sell a book, your book doesn't have many sales, a bad review, etc.
There are so many blogs/websites competing for readers' attention that it's hard to accept few comments when you work hard to do promo.
It's all part of a writer's life...the ups and downs...and depression is right "up there" with elevated stress levels!

Melissa Keir said...

I was diagnosed with depression many years before I wrote. In fact the writing was one way to escape the issues in my head. I've been on medication for years and realize that for me, my depression is medical.

Of course, my depression can worsen when I'm feeling horrible about myself and since writing is important to me... when I feel horrible about my writing. I'm my own worst enemy.

Thank you for shining a light on this problem. It helps to know I'm not alone and that others have many of the same feelings. Enjoy your lunch with friends!

Sandy said...

Hey, Comeback Kid, some of those authors weren't famous until after they died. Many members in the Hemmingway family committed suicide. There was a genetic component there.

Yes, I agree people don't always have time to leave comments, but maybe they don't read the blog at all. Thanks for coming by, Tom.

Sandy said...

Dory, thank you for your comment. I know you're right about the lack of sunshine effecting us.

Yes, I had read Hemmingway was dressed as a girl for several years by his mother. He was, also, and alcoholic, which didn't help either.

Sandy said...

Marianne, you're right about depression going along with the business with all the ups and downs we face. Thank you for coming by.

Melissa, I know a lot of depression stems from a medical problem, and I'm so glad the writing helps you along with meds.

K.T. Bishop said...

Hemingway is one of my favorite writers. The world's become too complicated, I can see why people get depressed!

Sandy said...

K.T., I agree with you. Thanks for coming by.