This week’s topic is “into the dark.” Each one of us is blogging about the moments when we thought we might pack away our notebooks and laptops and quit writing altogether. For me, I can’t identify a single, particular moment when I felt that way. Instead, I can identify a destructive force that both fuels and hinders my writing. It’s depression.
I’m not unique in this respect. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says that 14.8 million Americans suffer from depression. So do some of the most creative people I know. According to Psychology Today, “Creative people have characteristics that make them more vulnerable.” I don’t know about the science of it, but I do know that I’ve always been “sensitive.”
My moods would get in the way of my writing if I let them. If I gave in to the demon, I’d be lying on the couch with Izzy, the world’s laziest hound dog, seven nights a week. But I’ve learned to ignore the downward pull and sit down with my laptop anyway. Because, for me, every word I write is a way of letting depression know that IT’S NOT WINNING. Every page and paragraph I edit is a victory against the neuro-chemical war in my head.
I like to think, too, that the struggle makes me stronger. And that the pain, when transferred to the page, loses just a little of its power.
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