I’ve been writing a lot of negative posts lately, so, I guess here’s another one. I wrote this a little bit ago, just tweaked it now to get a post out today.
Emily Dickinson. Edgar Allan Poe. Sylvia Plath. Mark Twain. Helen Keller. Stephen King. Anne Rice.
The names above are just some of the famous authors who struggled with illnesses.
I love to read. However, I haven’t embarked on many of the classics yet. I’ve watched some of the movie-versions of the books I haven’t read yet, though.
Sometimes even reading is too demanding of a hobby when I’m feeling bad (“bad”… ha). I think it would help if I could. Depression makes you lose motivation even for the hobbies you do still enjoy and can manage to do. I want to learn to push through that and be productive.
So, why do so many successful writers deal with, or have dealt with, health issues? Specifically, depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses (as well as physical issues, of course. In my journey with physical pain, I can see why physical issues can lead to depression).
Is writing a therapy, or is it just that the nature of people struggling with these issues seem to lean toward writing? Is it both? Is it a coincidence?
Does the struggle make for the story?
You can feel the heartbreaking truth of the authors who write tragic tales, like they’re reaching out, intentionally or not, so others can hear their cries of pain and distress.
I find it saddening when authors don’t become recognized or appreciated for their work during their lifetime, especially when they write about such difficulties, such as Emily Dickinson. But I also respect if they do not want their work shared, or to be known for just what they write. Writing can speak volumes about you, but it’s not always everything you are.
Here is an article from Everyday Health stating studies showing a link between mental illness (namely depression and bipolar disorder) with creativity and writing.
Writing can be a way to deal with problems, and a way to create a different atmosphere to live in when you’re not in a good place. You can write dark things because that’s how you feel, or write happy things cause that is how you want to feel.
Anything or everything in between, really.
You can feel the joy in a happy story, the humor in a funny story, the seriousness in a serious story. If a book makes you cry, that probably means the author did a good job.
I think writing (and most things, probably) are underplayed as to how much work goes into it. When you hear about an author becoming famous, it usually took a very long time with so much hopelessness and times where they gave up. Even for me, it’s easy to read about an author and how they one day “made it”, and to just think, “ugh, I want to be there!” It can sound so easy, when it’s far from easy.
Writing is a long journey, longer with illnesses. Would we be writers without the struggles? Literally, I’m wondering, would we choose writing if we were able to do other things more easily? How many struggling writers – struggling artists – choose that path because it’s their calling? Because there’s nothing else they would want to do?
How about this quote? It makes you think…
“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
― Lloyd Alexander
Writing is an open playing field, it’s as liberating as you want it to be.
It’s free therapy, always available therapy, no prescription-needed-therapy.
Why do you write? Who is your favorite writer?
Photo from Pixabay.com, by AlexLoban