Monday, November 28, 2016

7 Thoughts For Writers Struggling With Depression

I'm delighted to have Rebekah Gyger on the blog today. Rebekah has been a member of our community for a long time, and is a very gifted writer as well as a total sweetheart. Depression and anxiety are common struggles among writers and creatives of all types, and I so appreciate Rebekah's willingness to be vulnerable and share what has helped her.

Rebekah is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, with a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies. Her first flash fiction piece, a contemporary titled Family Stickers, was published on the Splickety Lightning Blog in December 2015. Currently, she has a book review blog at http://backingbooks.blogspot.com where she posts weekly.

If you have ever struggled with depression, know that you are not alone. Depression is something a lot of people go through and studies have shown that creative types suffer from it the most. We tend to live in our own heads and that can be both tricky and difficult to handle when our own thoughts betray us. When I first had the idea for this post, I had found myself staring at my computer, wanting to write but unable to do so because of an onslaught of depression and anxiety.

Over the years, I have found many ways to work through this. All help to some degree or another, and I encourage you to try them as well.




Talk to Someone:

My mom is my sounding board. Even at twenty-two, I tell her just about everything. Sometimes, voicing my problems is all I need to do in order to start letting them go. Make sure that whoever you chose to talk to is someone who will listen and offer encouragement rather than indifference.


Write it Out:

I can't always talk to my mom. Even when I'm free, that doesn't mean that she is. Writing out my frustrations can help to release a lot of pent up fears. Once I see them written down, they don't seem as insurmountable. As writers, this can particularly helpful as it helps us to express how we feel in medium we are most comfortable with.


Get Out of the House:

Just go somewhere, even it is to the end of driveway and back a few a times. Changing your environment gives you new things to focus on and time to emotionally regroup.


Look Through Uplifting Notes:

I like to keep track of every nice thing someone has said about my writing. I even kept an email from the ladies here at Go Teen Writers a year or so ago when they critiqued a paragraph of everyone's submitted manuscripts. Though there was some critique, there was also encouragement and I have read it many times since then.


Your Worth is Not in What You Write:

It can be easy to put ourselves down for the quality of our work because we put so much of ourselves into it. On the other side, we can also take too much pride in our skill, so that criticism feels like a personal attack. But we all have lives and achievements separate from our writing, and we can't let it become the foundation for our self-worth.


Don't Compare Yourself:

We hear this often, but it can bear repeating. NO ONE else's personal story of achievements or failures has any reflection on you, not even Michael Jordan's story that many of us have heard of his having failed at basketball all through high school before making the NBA. While many of these stories can serve to encourage us, there are times when focusing on the success of someone else only makes us anxious for when we can say the same for ourselves. And we have enough anxiety to deal with.



Celebrate What You Have Achieved:

How much have you already written? I may not be published, but I have written a few books. My first took me all four years of high school and will likely never see the light of day. But when I told a college recruiter that I had written an 80k word novel, she used it as the means to get me accepted to her private university and listed it as my highest achievement. Above my 4.28 GPA and class ranking. To her and the other admissions staff, my novel was proof that I had goals and was willing to work toward them.




Depression and anxiety are never easy. Many people will never understand what it feels like, even those in our own families. But when we voice our struggle, we are able to bolster each other. 

Tell us below, what are ways that you have found to cope with depression and anxiety? And let us know what your achievements are. We would love to celebrate with you!

11 comments:

  1. Great insight, Rebekah! I know from experience how maddening it can be to have a head full of fiction, especially when the people around me don't understand what it's like. The seven thoughts you shared are fantastic, and in the past I've drawn support from many of the things you mentioned, so I know they work. I'll definitely have to keep them in mind the next time my create life tries to drag me down. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that many of these things already work for you!-- Rebekah

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  2. I've also struggled with anxiety and depression. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Unfortunately, it something that so many of us deal with.-- Rebekah

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  3. "Your worth is not in what you write"

    Amen! This is such an easy trap to fall into, and I think it's something we have to remind ourselves over and over again.

    Thanks for being on Go Teen Writers, Rebekah!

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    1. Thank you guys so much for having me!-- Rebekah

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  4. Thank you so much for this, Rebekah! It's always encouraging to realize we're not alone in this. <3

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  5. Very good stuff... talking and writing are good tips, to be sure :D

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  6. I've been there too. This is a great list! :) :)

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