Writer’s Woes

I’ve talked before about common writing woe’s such as having writer’s block, which then sometimes triggers my impostor syndrome and convinces me I have no business writing in the first place. And on bad days this triggers a downward spiral of depression and anxiety, which as it turns out is not so uncommon.

Studies done into the connection between creativity and mental illness have found that creative professions generally have a slightly elevated risk of bipolar disorder, but no correlation with other mental illnesses. Writers however, showed, “increased likelihood of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, unipolar depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.” And if you think about some of the great authors, there is no shortage of them who faced their own mental illness battles. Authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Styron, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, and possibly James Joyce, just to name a few, all had demons behind their writing.

Some have said that it is that the writer’s mind tends to rebel against anything it perceives as authoritarianism, which in a world of bills, taxes, and other deadlines, may constantly put the writer’s mind at odds with the world around them. Others have suggested it is that writers are often their harshest critics, critiquing everything and eventually themselves. Others acknowledge the possible link, but chalk it up to one of the many mysteries of mental illness and the mind that we don’t yet understand.

And despite the downward spiral it can sometimes send me down, writing is also the antidote to its own poison, allowing me to literally pour out my darkness on to the page, molding the darkness into words and tales, the Dark Tales that you all are reading now.

Indeed, if ever there was anything I had a love hate relationship with, it has been writing. Perhaps one gift of this blog has been the opportunity to write openly and honestly on a regular basis for the past two plus years. Before this blog, so often my writing would feature characters marred by their own darkness, their own demons, characters who too often reflected my own demons. It is refreshing to drop the mask of fiction, and be sincere about the darkness that is me, to allow the plots of these dark tales to be my own plot, not one of my imagination.

And while writing still sometimes stings me with isolating bouts of darkness, it is a part of me that isn’t going anywhere. And as for the writer’s woes I described earlier, I can only hope that the future offers more good days than bad as I continue to turn to the keyboard to tap out these dark tales. And as for all of you, I am thankful, as always, that you chose to stop by and check out this little project of mine. Seriously, thank you.

Source: Mental illness, suicide and creativity: 40-year prospective total population study

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