Depression and Writing

I have not spent a lot of time reflecting on the relationship I have with my writing. Nor do I have a romantic story about what led me to write and what inspires me to continue writing. Yet I cannot deny the effects writing has had on my well being, especially in regards to my mental health. I tackle my depression with a variety of things, including stronger bonds with loved ones and talk therapy. I began to realize that writing fits in somewhere but it took some time to figure out exactly how.

Writing, itself, is not therapeutic for me. Depression ruins a person’s ability to function, to compete and to produce. Some people suffer from depression, others are crippled by it. For some time, I identified with the latter and never wrote at all.

I am the least bit productive during my depressed modes. My thoughts are too cluttered. My relationships with people are strained, my diet is poor. My entire functioning is in disarray and the last thing I want to do is write.

However, my happier times provide me clarity and better perspective. This allows me the opportunity to create and even produce. With my writings, I am able to revisit my darkest moments, document them and share them with others who previously could not understand my persistent sadness and ineptitude.

Steve Almond wrote in a New York Times piece earlier this year about the therapeutic aspects of writing workshops. When writers focus on their craft, “[it] almost always involves a direct engagement with inner life, as well as a demand for greater empathy and disclosure. These goals are fundamentally therapeutic.”

After starting my blog Black with the Blues, I realized that while documenting my experiences, I examine my thoughts during a time when I was unable to function. This leads to a deeper understanding of my insecurities and fears. It is how writing has become my therapy.

Image courtesy of mrsdkrebs on Flickr.