The Writer, Mental Health, and Social Media

There is such a terrible stigma attached to talking about mental health. But the question is why? Why shouldn't we talk freely about our experiences with depression, or anxiety, or bipolar disorder? Wouldn't talking about these help us understand each other, help us build a supportive community?

The simple answer? Yes. We should talk freely, we should discuss these things.

Talking about our mental health is hard, mostly because those issues like to put a vice grip around your brain and tell you no one cares. No one wants to hear you talk about your issues and what you're struggling with. That is a lie!

We care. We're here. We'll listen. It may still be difficult opening up to family and friends, those people you've known your whole life that have a certain image of you, though they should love all of you, including your mental health. But the most supportive community I've found has been on social media. The word community is important. Before I had my writing instagram, I had a main, personal one that only fed my depression. I followed people I didn't know, and was constantly asking myself why I wasn't that skilled, or why I didn't look that good. I felt ashamed that I wasn't like these total strangers.

Then came the writing community. Nothing but support and love from these fabulous authors who are all in different places with their writing journey. The longer I was on that account, the less I used the other and less I was comparing my life to total strangers. I interacted with people, instead of just watching from afar.

The depression is still there, but it's no longer prominent in my mind. We all have good days and bad, those days where it's hard to be productive, hard to do anything beyond stare numbly at a screen. That's natural. And while it's easy to beat ourselves up for "not doing anything", sometimes we need that quiet time. If those days linger into weeks, then it's time to reach out again. Talk about it. Get help. There is nothing wrong with needing help sometimes, especially if that help will give you a nudge towards happiness.

Writing with depression is hard. Being any kind of artist that has a mental health issue that stops you from being creative is a special kind of torture. Your passion is torn from you despite you wanting to create. The want isn't enough. It's difficult to motivate yourself to put words on the page, even when you have a ton of inspiration. There's a massive blockade that walls you in, preventing you from reaching your finish line.

The writing community has helped. Even on the days I can't write the words down, I'm still developing the story piece by piece through posts and prompts. Is it the best solution? No, and I understand that. But it is a decent middleground for those hard days.

I am not saying that a support system is a total cure for depression, or anxiety, or anything we may suffer with. I am not saying all of social media is beneficial--there are plenty of trolls out there, and toxic spaces. But the right community helps. And sometimes virtual strangers are easier to open up to than the people you know.

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