Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Depression & Writing

Insecure Writer's Support Group--October Edition

The new semester started a month ago and it has greatly affected my writing and my life. It was a hard start. For some reason, I just became overwhelmed with all the work that needed to be done and being so close to the end of my BA (next semester, whoot!). I couldn't concentrate and couldn't seem to function positively. I actually felt more inspired to goof off and write rather than study or do any work.

I was crying and stressing out daily. I'm so close to the end! I have a scholarship and am on the Dean's List! How could I possibly be quitting when I'm so close to finishing everything off with such a good note?

Well, after going to discuss this with a counselor and chatting with my parents, it seems I was so overwhelmed (particularly with my language course). I had the idea that I wasn't good enough if I got anything less than an A, lose the scholarship, and not just be perfect on everything. It was just hitting me hard and with six classes, it can get really stressful really fast.

After the talks, and realizing I am, indeed, a perfectionist, I just had to step back and come to a realization that no one is perfect and being perfect does not mean it I become a failure. I was just viewing everything in such a black-&-white way. Getting a C in French would not ruin me for the rest of my life nor would it be a devastating loss to not have the scholarship for my final semester. I couldn't let these little details overwhelm me and have everything else be totally ruined.

Though hard, I had to let it all go. Stop worrying so much over everything. It is still hard today. I am so far behind because I was in a sort of...depressive neutral state for about four of the six weeks of my classes. I have to try and control those feelings, catch up on all the classes, run a club, and try to find some time to write.

But things are better now, at least emotionally and working with a more positive and strong attitude.

Now, I don't want to just sit here and talk about the depression (especially since it concerned more about school than writing). Instead, I would like to talk about how this can help with writing and life.

Simple. As said before, no one is perfect and not being perfect doesn't instantly mean failure. Don't go by the quote "If you're not first, you're last!" (Ricky Bobby, lol). The world isn't made up of all winners and failures.

Don't let the pressure of being the "perfect" writer overwhelm you. Stop fretting over the details. Yes, those details are vital and important, but they are not worth losing everything for. Especially your health and sanity.

Take some time and give yourself a pep-talk. Don't let the one class, one assignment, one chapter, or one character tear everything down. Remember perspective! And always go to someone when you start to lose that perspective. Never be afraid to go to someone for help. You never have to go through any of these things alone.


  1. I'm glad you got stuff figured out. :) Hope this keeps up! Good luck with everything

  2. Well, I say it all when we talk but I'll say it again: you are doing so much. You have to give yourself some leniency. I'm happy you are doing better than you were, and I hope we can continue to make you feel better than you are. I'm always here for you, but you already know that. Keep on keepin' on--you'll get through this!

  3. I'm so happy that you found your way! Getting out of a depression can be so hard. Congrats! With your new and great attitude you will achieve all your goals.

    Good luck!

  4. Sounds like you came to the right conclusion! I can be a perfectionist sometimes myself, and it's tough enough without piling on more than you can handle. It's definitely good to come to terms with that when it comes to your writing, not just for the reasons you mentioned, but for the actual act of writing itself. After all, a story might never be "done" if you leave your perfectionist hat on for too long.

    Good luck and hang in there!

  5. great post

    it is a problem particularly in American culture for people to suffer as a result of this pedal to the metal mentality

    i believe the education system bears some of the responsibility as well - why not lessen the load on students so degrees take 5 or 6 years instead of 4 - what's the big hurry?

    we know other countries have a slower pace of life - are they slackers?

    or have they gained the wisdom to know that a successful life is one of a healthy balance between rest and work

    no human being is a machine