September 23, 2019, 12:10:56 AM

Author Topic: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel  (Read 254403 times)

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 10997
  • Total likes: 6354
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2790 on: August 11, 2019, 04:28:49 PM »
Failed how? You managed something I will most probably not be able to do in my remaining life. That's the definition of success in my vocabulary.
This.
Regardless of the quality of the book (I'm 100% neutral since I haven't read it and I don't want to give potential false reassurances), you wrote a book. That is a BIG thing 8)
Similar to people who for example have run a marathon, even if it took them 10 hours.
I'm completely in awe of such people, as it's something I'll never be able to do.

So, yay Inky :D

Another thing that might help you: try (I say 'try' because I know it's easier said than done) not to see you leaving med school as a failure, but rather as a very difficult and key decision in your life. You made a major decision. You decided to take the difficult path of abandoning med school because it wasn't for you, instead of just continuing, bumbling along, getting more and more sad about your life.
So many people stay in bad situations just because it's so hard to change, that what you did is truly great. I admire you for it :)

And I don't want to turn things to me, but I just came over to post this:
How sad it is that I'm happy I booked 2 theatre shows for Sep and Oct (local), the flight to go to Portugal over Christmas and got travel insurance (a very difficult thing after cancer, as I've just discovered) - all within a couple of hours, without spending days investigating, worrying about it and trying to decide?
Deciding and taking action is so difficult for me, that this is a major achievement... ::)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2019, 04:32:58 PM by ScarletBea »
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all" - Douglas Adams

Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2791 on: August 11, 2019, 05:18:29 PM »
Shit. Apologies for the swear word. I meant just finished my novel but that somehow made me felt infinitely worse, for some reason. I guess it's just that I'm no longer possessed by that mad, gleeful trance I had during the time I was writing, and was now just reminded of how shit my story probably is. It's like I could just find a million reasons and imagine a million ways I'd failed.

Well, and why not, just like with the over 50 short stories submissions I've made to various e-magazines (with only one getting accepted), things probably won't change just because the story is like a hundred thousand words longer. I'm just ready to fail at this point and I don't even feel like making a half-ass attempt at writing a query letter or finding publishing agents anymore because I'd probably failed anyway. 

Ever since I got physically and mentally broken and quit med school I guess I just got into the "I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed" ideology for the rest of my life. Things just kept on repeating that I'd expect to fail in the end either way, no matter how hard I tried or how I went about doing things, and that just sucked. Not just because I'll fail anyway, but that I had came to kind of accept and expect it.

I'm not bipolar myself, but trust me when I say that I'm very familiar with feeling like a hopeless failure. Failure socially, financially, professionally and creatively. There were SO many times when I almost gave up writing, or when I just sat at home, wallowing in self loathing.

It was all nonsense, of course. My problem was in large part that I was measuring my life by some mythical "standard". I was trying to live a life that just didn't suit me, and would have brought me no joy even if I'd achieved it. I'm not some cookie cutter figure; I'm ME. And the only thing I SHOULD be doing in this world is living the way that work for me. Finding out what that is took some time and work, but it was worth it.

And I also know about feeling a bit empty upon completing a story. So I just start another one.

Don't focus on how much you've failed. I know one can get caught in a negativity spiral; I've certainly done it myself. Focus your energies on what will make you happy.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2019, 05:50:36 PM by Eli_Freysson »
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline NightWrite

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2792 on: August 12, 2019, 12:51:28 AM »
As Bea said Inky, you've done something many people won't accomplish in their life, won't even get up the courage to try. No matter the outcome, you should at least be proud of yourself for sticking with it.

I've felt similar feelings of hopelessness with both my writing and art. Though for me it was more of a general sense of "I have no skill so why bother" given I've never tried to sell or publish either; I rarely even show off my paintings. It got to the point of self-doubt where these past few months are the first time I've done any meaningful sketching or painting in over two years. I still hate myself for that, because I realized giving up on something which brought me joy for so long, giving into that nagging voice, was the true failure. I still have those moments of self-doubt, but I keep on going.

I'm not sure if it will help, but when the critic in my head is speaking I now remind myself of this quote attributed to Vincent can Gogh: "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." It usually works.

Sorry if I made this into a "look at me" kind of thing, but it felt like sharing this was the best way to convey what I was hoping to get across.

Offline Bender

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2793 on: August 12, 2019, 03:32:11 AM »
Finishing something like a book is a big achievement of it;s own. I ran a half marathon just for heck of it. I didn't want to run and was sure I'd not make it and didn't even train properly...as I was sure no amount of training could get me through it. But then I ran, finished and it's now one of the highlights of my life. If left to my own, I'd have given up week one into my training and missed the achievement totally.

It's time to quote the oft quoted cliche "sometimes it's the journey, not the destination, that matters"...but it holds it's own truth.
Not all those who wander are lost

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2794 on: August 12, 2019, 05:08:04 AM »
Wow, thank you for everything, @isos81, @ScarletBea , @Eli_Freysson , @NightWrite , and @Bender. I've always kept my emotions bottled up for as long as I knew it, and had always been encouraged by many sources to open up more. This is the first time I'm opening up like this, and I'm really glad that I did so, I really felt better from all of your kind words and encouragements. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who often felt wretched this way, and that there are ways out of it. Thank you so much guys. I'm so glad (I said that again, haha), that I have stumbled upon this forum and have found such great friends, whom I could confided in even more than most of my friends in real life.  :'(

And yes med school did hit me hard. Like a five tonne truck level hard, to be more specific. Even now, thinking back about it could make my stress gastritis suddenly worsened from the many bad memories associated with it. I guess I had to let that go someday, and think of it more as a positive change in my life. Thank you @ScarletBea.

Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2795 on: August 12, 2019, 09:25:34 AM »
Wow, thank you for everything, @isos81, @ScarletBea , @Eli_Freysson , @NightWrite , and @Bender. I've always kept my emotions bottled up for as long as I knew it, and had always been encouraged by many sources to open up more. This is the first time I'm opening up like this, and I'm really glad that I did so, I really felt better from all of your kind words and encouragements. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who often felt wretched this way, and that there are ways out of it. Thank you so much guys. I'm so glad (I said that again, haha), that I have stumbled upon this forum and have found such great friends, whom I could confided in even more than most of my friends in real life.  :'(

Silence destroys people.

Trust me, I know. As badly as I felt a few years ago my teens were the absolutely worst part of my life, and I was in considerable denial about it, and got angry when someone tried pointing out that I wasn't doing well mentally.

So please, if you're feeling bad for an extended period, talk to someone.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Online J.R. Darewood

  • aka Duckly Breadgood
  • Writing Group
  • Master Namer
  • ******
  • Posts: 2490
  • Total likes: 1464
  • Gender: Male
  • Zork. And it was all downhill from there.
    • View Profile
    • Nerd Empire
Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2796 on: August 13, 2019, 04:00:57 AM »
Shit. Apologies for the swear word. I meant just finished my novel but that somehow made me felt infinitely worse, for some reason. I guess it's just that I'm no longer possessed by that mad, gleeful trance I had during the time I was writing, and was now just reminded of how shit my story probably is. It's like I could just find a million reasons and imagine a million ways I'd failed.

I'm a bit late jumping in here @S. K. Inkslinger , and idk that I have a lot more to add than that I agree with everyone else, but here's some pictures:







I'm totally with you. for  me: writing = cathartic euphoria , revising = depressive purgatory

Here's my experience with the whole thing. I put it in spoiler quotes b/c it's prolly TMI

Spoiler for Hiden:
When writing nonfiction (usually about 30pages per article) I spend about as much time revising as I do writing.  It takes me about a month to write it, then I send it to couple of friends, I revise/reorganize based on their comments for a couple of weeks, then I submit it, then I have to revise/reorganize based on reviewer comments-- that usually takes about another month.

The thing is that it's really clear what I have to do, I have a clear idea of when I agree with reviewers and when I disagree.

Short fiction I go through a similar process--I write something, send it around to friends, rework it.  A couple of times that can make a huge difference-- like I a discover a new way to end it that's just awesome. Submit, respond to reviewers.

My WIP.... that's totally different. Maybe it's self-confidence, maybe it's inexperience, but I have no idea who's advice to take, who's to ignore, and I can't objectively say that my revision is making things better or worse because it's like I don't have an ear for the music or whatever.

It took me a year to write it, mostly with people cheering me on as I posted a chapter each month on Writerscafe, and I thought it was brilliant.  Then I re-read it and I thought it sucked.  I keep trying to fix it, but I want to fix the beginning, and idk revising is sort of like a Jenga tower, the end is at the top so it's easy to re-arrange, but fucking with the beginning is like pulling from the bottom, and a novel is a realllly big jenga tower.  So I've been in revision hell for like a million years now, with my whole WIP like a toppled Jenga tower.  Which sucks.

So don't do that!


Learning to revise is a skill.  It doesn't have to be awful, but it's definitely a different part of your brain.





Kind of like when you're in a group and the first phase is brainstorming and no idea is a bad idea, then the second phase is critiquing the ideas, then the third phase is a plan of action.  Writing is kind of the same process.

This is from JK Rowling's revisions of Harry Potter and the something something.



I haven't actually read any Harry Potter books, but this article helped me feel a little less lost and less depressed about the revising process:

https://thefriendlyeditor.com/2015/03/26/how-rowling-revised-harry-potter-phoenix/


Well, and why not, just like with the over 50 short stories submissions I've made to various e-magazines (with only one getting accepted), things probably won't change just because the story is like a hundred thousand words longer. I'm just ready to fail at this point and I don't even feel like making a half-ass attempt at writing a query letter or finding publishing agents anymore because I'd probably failed anyway. 

I'm in a similar boat, Inky.  my acceptance rate for nonfiction is like 95%, for fiction it's like 2%. It f*ing sucks. But you're not alone. Even the famous writers get rejected a lot, I think Steven King wrote tons of books with all rejections from publishers, and even had Carrie in the trash bin before his wife pulled it out and it took off.

Ever since I got physically and mentally broken and quit med school I guess I just got into the "I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed.I failed" ideology for the rest of my life. Things just kept on repeating that I'd expect to fail in the end either way, no matter how hard I tried or how I went about doing things, and that just sucked. Not just because I'll fail anyway, but that I had came to kind of accept and expect it.

Sorry, I guess the depression side of my bipolar disorder is acting up again. Thank you for listening to me rant, anyhow.

You weren't broken, you escaped a cult.

Med students are kind of like the Borg, they are singlemindedly obsessed with pleasing their parents, scrounging for every point at school, competing ruthlessly, without any concept of what they want, what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what anything means for the bigger picture.  They're just trying to "succeed" and in the process become robots.

I'm proud of you for escaping!  It doesn't make you broken, it means you beat your borg conditioning and managed to become yourself again, despite the odds.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 04:03:54 AM by J.R. Darewood »

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2797 on: August 13, 2019, 04:57:59 AM »
Oh wow, thank you so much @J.R. Darewood! That, and I meant all of that, was a great read. I really had the same feelings as you while writing this novel. Hell, I didn't even dare posted on here that I was writing something only after I've gotten like 60,000 words in, and didn't dare ask for any beta readers until I've finished the entire novel. I was pretty afraid that any kind of commentary would've easily shattered my spirit and make me disassemble and trash the manuscript altogether, hahah. I totally had the revision angst as well, and thus didn't have much heart to edit my story, which in itself is a dilemma.

And @Eli_Freysson thank you again! From this and my visit to my psychiatrist I'm starting to talk about my feelings more, and I think it's really helping with my mental health, in and on itself.

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2798 on: August 14, 2019, 11:00:47 AM »
I had mood swings too, hell, lots of it. I'm not even really sure if it's part of my bipolar disorder or it's just me me. I had an especially sensitive issues on people interfering on how I do things in my life, and I often respond extremely rashly, and one could almost say rabidly, to those things.

Sometimes I erupted into such an outburst that ended up in my shouting across the room, in public, and even almost ending up in fistfights or sometimes something even worse. In lesser circumstances I would just often chose cutting-edge insults to throw back at the opposing side, which ended up in estranging them, in minor cases days, and in more major cases, well, for life. My temper often flared up pretty quickly, like an erupting volcano, and went down as quickly, but the damage would often already be done. Sometimes it's so severe it's pretty much a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ideology. It's pretty much why I never put up my writing for critiques too.

I would like to apologize if I made any outbursts, in any case. Maybe I should stop the whole writing-and-getting-critiqued advice thing for now.

Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2799 on: August 16, 2019, 10:22:44 PM »
I would appreciate people's thoughts on the following... even though I realise it's lengthy.

Just a few days ago I posted about having learned a lot about how to live with myself. But what is more human than self-reflection, and isn't it ultimately healthy to allow a little doubt now and then? If you come to the conclusion that you truly are living the best life you can, then no harm is done and you may even appreciate it even more. But if you come to another conclusion, maybe you can motivate yourself to change that.

What I have learned, aside from not beating myself up for my shortcomings, is to keep away from the stimuli that my autism makes so difficult:

*I keep away from crowds except for in controllable doses.
*I don't travel much because all the unfamiliarity and prolonged discomforts really don't gel with me.
*I stay away from situations where I'm dependent on someone else's schedule to be able to get home.
*I've stopped tormenting myself by attempting to participate in "typical" social situations such as big festivals.

And so on.

I do appreciate what close friends and family I do have, but contact isn't always steady. I'm entering my fourth winter of university, but I'll graduate this spring and my plan is to devote myself entirely to writing for at least a year afterwards. University hasn't been much of a social development for me, but at least I'm around people, discussing, and doing cooperative assignments.

While I'm overall pretty comfortable I'll admit I get bored with my own company at times. A town of 20.000 people doesn't have a huge variety of social options, but I COULD start attending karate classes or something. Or I could spend my evenings at home, being comfortable with the familiar.

Then there's the fact that I'm now into the latter half of my 30's, and I'm still single. Romance is one of those things society incessantly tells us is necessary/mandatory, and I've learned to not take such "rules" seriously. But there are definitely times when I would appreciate having someone to share my life with. But as stated above I have a strong need to control my comings and goings and my schedule, and I would sooner saw off my leg than have kids. And I'm awkward and weird and I really don't know what I have to offer.

I sometimes wonder if I should continue living in my comfortable little world, or continue to try various remedies to get more involved, even though to date such attempts have only ever left me burned and disappointed.

I don't really know if this post got my thoughts across, but I don't know more to say.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Bender

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2800 on: August 17, 2019, 05:06:27 AM »
I sometimes wonder if I should continue living in my comfortable little world, or continue to try various remedies to get more involved, even though to date such attempts have only ever left me burned and disappointed.

My suggestion is to keep pushing boundaries in small doses but never too far out of what you feel comfortable with. Not just related to autism, but humans are by default not geared to move quickly out of their comfort zones. This is just what is and is neither right or wrong, so don't be judgmental as there is no optimal scale to measure against.

I hate big festivals and don't enjoy raucous crowds like I used to when I was younger. But I don't avoid the social scene altogether, I choose quiet jazz clubs or stand up comedy clubs now. Less crowded and more controlled. There are lots of offbeat events, see if you can find groups for some of your favorite activities, book clubs, reading sessions maybe chess clubs and similar in sports...whatever interests you. Or volunteer yourself to national parks or local animal protection groups. Working to improve a hiking trail or working to provide better conditions for stray pets usually gives me satisfaction. My colleague just joined a Klingon language course. It's nothing practical, very nerdy and I thought would be much fun.
Not all those who wander are lost

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 10997
  • Total likes: 6354
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2801 on: August 22, 2019, 06:30:40 PM »
Sorry I didn't reply, Eli, but I'm not sure what to say that doesn't sound selfish or patronising (for example, drawing on my life experience).
It's hard to navigate the line between what we think is best for us and what society says it's normal, especially because if we only do the former, are we missing out on something? I have no answers for that...

Today I'm feeling like crap because one of the last friends I had at work has left and she can't even tell me why, and I don't know if we're still friends or not.
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all" - Douglas Adams

Offline Peat

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2802 on: August 22, 2019, 07:13:08 PM »
And I'm awkward and weird and I really don't know what I have to offer.


Let someone else decide what you have to offer. One of the things about any close relationships is that people will see in you things you never saw in yourself.

As for the rest of it - Bender is right. Push your boundaries in small controllable doses.

What you said about karate or something sounds like a good route if you want to pursue it. A hobby that doesn't distract you much from writing. Go in there with no expectations other than a pleasant evening and see what happens.


Bea - That sucks. I guess time will make it certain, but uncertainty sucks and maybe all of that sucks.


SK - Writing's an up and down journey; best to not be that up or that down. But if you can't do that - and many of us can't - then let your emotions run their course, then forgive yourself for your doubt and never make too many too rash decisions about what you've got while high or low.

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 10997
  • Total likes: 6354
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2803 on: August 23, 2019, 08:41:41 AM »
Thanks, Peat.
Apparently it's some sort of NDA, which is super silly given the perfectly normal and regular role ::)

It's just being one of those times when I feel kinda lonely - it seems so many of my friends are drifting away, even those that I only knew online but we'd shared good things for quite a number of years...

And I have to do a medical test and just discovered it's going to be under general anaethetic, which on the one hand is great as I won't feel a thing, but on the other it's a faff as I won't be able to be on my own for 24 hours afterwards (which means I'll need to ask someone to come stay at my home, or me stay at theirs, and I hate to be a bother), and I also remember the last time I had one...
And it's on 2 weeks, which means 2 weeks of trying not to think about it...
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all" - Douglas Adams

Offline Peat

Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
« Reply #2804 on: August 23, 2019, 07:06:16 PM »
Thanks, Peat.
Apparently it's some sort of NDA, which is super silly given the perfectly normal and regular role ::)

It's just being one of those times when I feel kinda lonely - it seems so many of my friends are drifting away, even those that I only knew online but we'd shared good things for quite a number of years...

And I have to do a medical test and just discovered it's going to be under general anaethetic, which on the one hand is great as I won't feel a thing, but on the other it's a faff as I won't be able to be on my own for 24 hours afterwards (which means I'll need to ask someone to come stay at my home, or me stay at theirs, and I hate to be a bother), and I also remember the last time I had one...
And it's on 2 weeks, which means 2 weeks of trying not to think about it...

Well at least there's a reason for her silence!

Sometimes it feels like life's just one long parade of watching people leave. Definitely don't like that feeling.