I've been depressed for many years. It has sapped my creative powers. I've had enough. How can I live as a depressed person, but elevate above the limitations this has imposed on me in the past to escape into a writing practice that could create imaginative works of fiction?
I have been waylaid by major depressive disorder for nearly twenty years. While the urge to write serious fiction has been with me for nearly the entire length of this episode, at middle age, the ticking of the clock is urging me to begin now or risk never starting at all. Depression has robbed me of much, including self-regard, courage, liveliness, attentiveness and wonder (traits I've felt I need to write with skill). It has been a toxic stew that means that instead of starting a life's work in my twenties, I'm going to be trying to begin in my forties. I've tried to begin before. I've attempted to build a practice that would lead to a body of work that I can be proud of. I've barely been able to lift myself up. I know that depression and creative people often go together. How did these people manage to tap into their unconscious to create works of the imagination? I'm not asking how to not be depressed. I've sort of given up on being free of this for any extended period of time. What I want to avoid is having nothing to show for the struggle. What can I do to create the mental space required to get my work done in the midst of a depressed life?
I've read some Paris Review interviews with depressed writers. I've pored through Ask Metafilter and found only this
, and it's asking a different enough question that it doesn't really get at what I'm looking for.
I'm seeing a therapist (been in therapy for over ten years). I have a psychiatrist (though I'm against medicating). My therapist and I are beginning to tackle this problem. But I want to tap the wisdom of the crowd. What can I do when the world feels flat and awful and I feel flat and awful? When the loathing is so strong and the numbness is so profound that I simply feel like a shell of myself? This is my life. This is the kind of guy I am. Depression will accompany me for the rest of my life. How can I use it to feed my art, instead of experiencing it as an insurmountable barrier?
P.S. Much appreciation if anyone out there has links to interviews with depressed writers (especially if said writers address their processes in the midst of depression).