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Tackling Depression!

Cheryl's Musings: Tackling Depression!

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Tackling Depression!


In my post yesterday, I listed four challenges we face as writers:

  1. Susceptibility to depression
  2. Isolation
  3. Lack of positive feedback
  4. Busy-ness caused by working two jobs

Lest I leave you with these boulders hanging over your collective heads, I want to talk about each of these challenges—and how we can move past them—starting with DEPRESSION.

On her website, Holly Lisle writes an impassioned plea for writers to recognize the dangers of depression and get help. Here’s a tidbit:

Psychologists note that writers suffer from a higher-than-normal incidence of depression, that the same qualities that make us writers tend to make us more sensitive to the ups and downs of daily life.

She writes about depression so eloquently, you should jump over there and read the entire article. Creativity is the proverbial dual-edged sword: it gives us the joy of creating, but also the pain of feeling too much sometimes.

In fact, scientists have found that even healthy artists are “more similar in personality to individuals with manic depression than to healthy people in the general population”. Stanford researcher Connie Strong says, “My hunch is that emotional range, having an emotional broadband, is the bipolar patient's advantage…something gives people with manic depression an edge, and I think it's emotional range.”

If you write, chances are good that you’ll face a mood swing that becomes more of a downhill slide ending in all-out depression. If you’re one of those people who thinks “Great! Depression and creativity go hand in hand!” think again. Most writers and artists are unable to create when in the throes of depression. Shelley Carson of Psychology Today reports:

Periods of creative productivity occur when individuals are…transitioning out of a depressive episode…In other words, creative productivity is linked to upward changes in mood.

Other research shows that people are more creative after a “positive mood induction”—more specifically, after participants were given a small, surprise gift.

So what can you do about this hurdle?

  1. LEARN. Educate yourself about depression, its signs and symptoms.
  2. GET HELP. If you’re feeling really blue—if you slide into a “down” period and just can’t climb out of it—GET HELP. Depression is very treatable.
  3. PREVENT. If feeling down is an ongoing problem for you—or even an occasional inconvenience—there are a number of proactive strategies that have been PROVEN to help prevent depression, strategies beyond vague orders to take better care of yourself, eat well, decrease stress in your life, etc.

More on those next post!

:) Cheryl



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