What Does Depression Feel Like?

20 08 2014

Depression is something I’ve dealt with for many years, having been diagnosed originally in 1997. Since my original diagnosis, I’ve come to believe that I suffer from dysthymia, a mild but chronic form of depression. With this type of depression, certain situations can exacerbate the situation. For example, I’ve been more than mildly depressed every day since hearing about Robin Williams’ suicide. Yesterday was different, however.

I was working and feeling fine. I finished a project at about 11:30 AM, then poked around the internet for about half-an-hour. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an almost overwhelming feeling of despair hit me. I lost focus on anything external, and could only focus on me, and how I was feeling – which was pretty hopeless.

It was confusing in the extreme, since nothing had happened to spark such an episode; at least not consciously.

I took a short walk. I tried to resume work. I tried to watch the LLWS. I tried to read. I tried to nap. Nothing helped. All I wanted to do was sit down and cry, but I had nothing to cry about.

Episodes like this are unusual for me, which made the moment difficult to process. The good news is, I had no sense that I wanted to harm myself; I just continued to experience a sensation of feeling miserable – of being miserable. The best way to describe it is with a word that is not a word – BLECH!

The bad news is, such feelings tend to force a focus inward, which only seems to prolong the depression. It’s a bit like having a tooth ache, and worrying at it with your tongue until it goes away. It only makes the pain worse, as did the inward focus.

Yet, I simply could not concentrate on anything else.

I draw no conclusions from this. I have none to offer. I am simply trying to describe what happened, in the hope that it will bring clarity, for me, and anyone reading this and wondering what depression feels like.

It ain’t fun, believe me.


What is Creative Writing?

1 08 2014

The past two weeks have been extremely busy around here, as I worked more 10 hour days than not; creating fresh copy for a variety of clients, while also working hard to develop a new product to sell to a fairly narrow niche client base. My point in explaining this is two-fold: to explain why I’ve posted next to nothing here, and to share an idea I had recently about “creative writing.”

First, I’ve posted next to nothing here because I’ve been very busy. (There, I said I’d explain that, right? DONE.)

Next, it occurred to me recently (as it has many times before) that the phrases “Creative Writing” and “Creative Writer” are applied by most, and almost exclusively, to fiction and writers of fiction. On one hand I can understand this, I suppose. Fiction writers and/or novelists are definitely creative, even going so far as to create whole worlds from nothing but their imaginations; peopled with characters we will never meet in the real world.

The “Harry Potter” series jumps most quickly to mind, though “The Sword of Truth” series and “A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones” are not far behind. These series’ of books were, and are, stunningly creative and exceedingly entertaining. I could name many others, but these will do for now. I find myself envious of the authors, JK Rowling, Terry Goodkind, and George RR Martin for the creativity and inventiveness they display, as well as the sheer talent for expressing themselves through the written word. Not to mention the perseverance required to create such massive works. BRAVO!

And yet, I find myself compelled to argue that what I now do for a living is also creative writing and, though the writing I do is most certainly not fiction, to defend it as such. Need proof? How about this for an example?

Non-fiction writing is creative writing too

Imagine yourself sitting down every week to write two pieces of about 500 words each on a single subject, say coping with stress, for a particular client – the same client and the same subject every week – for FOUR YEARS. That equates to 104 blog posts and articles per year, and 416 of them over four years. That is also some 52,000 words per year, and more than 200,000 words in four years – all devoted to a single subject – coping with stress – for a single client. This implies a regular audience who have seen most of what you’ve written over those four years, so your writing had better not be repetitive. You must find a new approach to the subject every week, every month, and every year.

Would this require creativity? If you did that, would you call yourself a Creative Writer?

Well, that is what I do nearly every day. I try to creatively describe what it is that my clients do, or value, or wish to promote, in clearly defined, well-written terms that allow their readers to appreciate more fully the things the client has to offer. I educate and illustrate; I explain and proclaim; I praise and promote – all in my clients’ name – and in my clients’ voice. Is this “Creative Writing”?

My clients include medical doctors; psychologists and psychiatrists; therapists and counselors; health coaches, nutrition coaches, fitness coaches and business coaches; attorneys and realtors; website designers, screen printers, and IT support companies. I write about coping with stress, anxiety, depression, suicide, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, and divorce. I write about feet: healthy and unhealthy feet, and about how to maintain healthy feet or how to repair damaged feet. I write about weight loss and dieting; about dieting fads and scams; about healthy nutrition and juicing for health, as well as exercise and healthy living. Can anyone deny that what I do qualifies me as a “Creative Writer”?

Hey, I even write about writing: website copywriting, sales copywriting, writing for SEO, article writing and blog writing, eBook writing and eBook ghostwriting. Do these fulfill the definition of “being creative”?

It may be simply a matter of semantics to most but, to a writer who must use all of his creative power to continue making a single subject interesting, informative, and original on a regular basis and over time, it is far more than a semantic argument. In fact, it’s the very essence of what that writer does, how he views himself, and how he values his work. I may not be a Creative Writer (with caps), but what I do is most definitely creative writing (lower case).

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