I am going through – again – a bit of a depression. I can feel it when it starts to sit on my chest and I don’t want to write. The idea of picking up pen, pencil, crayon….anything to be creative with becomes so heavy I feel like my fingers are made of mud.
I’ve been through this enough times now to know what works for me, how to push the weight off myself and get back to writing. That’s after 20 years and lots of therapy.
What can a writer with Major Depressive Disorder do to keep on writing?
What works for me might work for you. So even if you’re in a tiny mouse hole or a canyon, here’s a few things that got me word smithing again.
- Set easier goals. My goal when it’s hard to write is reduced in scope. What I can do when my brain is clear and I’m happy is different than when I have an episode of depression. Can you get up and write a few lines of how you feel? Can you time yourself and commit to five minutes? Good enough for now.
- Talk to another human, and listen to one. Write down what you talked about, even if it was a simple exchange of plans. The very motion of writing a conversation down gets my brain to recall details, and the interaction with other beings helps depression.
- Get up and out of the house. Walk to the nearest coffee shop, mall, anywhere. Go people watch in the park for five minutes. Run home after if you want, but by observing the world outside your mind, you will start to have ideas pop up. Scribble a few down in a notebook while you’re out, and then see if you can go out longer. I did this one week and wrote a poem just in slow increments.
Remember: I’m not a pro at the psychology stuff, so if you’re depressed please seek help from professionals like the Canadian Mental Health Association, or if you’re in crisis, here’s a list of local crisis lines.