Depression and Writing Struggles

Over the years I’ve occasionally mentioned that I’ve been depressive since childhood. I don’t tend to talk about it much because there’s a certain stigma attached to any kind of mental illness, including depression, which many people think you should just be able to snap out of and brush off your shoulder.

My depression tends to happen in cycles. For weeks, months, I’ll feel… mostly good. Mostly positive. Then my mood takes a sudden downturn, and for weeks, maybe months, I become mired under this dark, crushing weight. But then, usually, the upswing starts. I come out of it and I go back to my normal (for lack of a better term).

A few weeks ago I scared some people when I vanished from most of my social media accounts for a good week or so. I didn’t mean to cause anyone concern, but it was as if my brain suddenly said, “nope,” and I didn’t want anything to do with… well, anything. Apps got deleted from my phone. Emails fell by the wayside.

I’d had a moment not too long before. An “I am not okay” moment, when I realized this depressive cycle felt more like a rapid decline into nothingness. It seemed—and still does seem—impossible to imagine any kind of upswing. But when my thoughts went from dark to potentially dangerous (for myself), I knew I needed to do something.

I sought out a therapist, and after seeing one who sent up about a dozen red flags, I found a different one through GMLA (the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association), who is familiar with dealing with clients who fall on the GLBTQ spectrum. Let me tell you, when I walked into her office and saw rainbow flags, I nearly lost it. After meeting one therapist who was not only lacking in tact, clearly didn’t have a clue how to deal with a client like me, I was so afraid I might have to start making long drives into Chicago to find someone who fit my needs. So far I’ve seen this new lady twice, and it’s hard to say what kind of results this therapy will bring. But at the very least I feel hopeful that maybe with her help I’ll be able to dig myself out of this.

During our first visit, she said to me, “Sometimes I might say something you don’t agree with. I’m human, and I’m not always right. Feel free to tell me to fuck off. Go ahead and say, ‘M, get fucked.’ I promise it won’t offend me. The only way I can figure out what’s working for you is if you tell me when something isn’t.”

With snot and tears flowing, I nodded, and I thought to myself, We’re going to get along great.

So that’s what’s happening with me. To the people who already knew or who reached out to me when I disappeared, thank you for the support. It means more than I can say.

I can’t lie. This post was hard for me to make. In fact, I’m only discussing the situation because literally everything in my life is being affected, and that includes my writing. Even though I wish this wasn’t the case, all of my projects are currently on hiatus. Because, well… if there’s no me, there certainly won’t be any future books either. So I have to focus on getting myself better before the words will start flowing again. I’m hoping that any readers who might have to wait a little longer for the next book in the Portland Pack Chronicles or my other series will understand the delay.

Happy New Year, everyone! Aside from one last “Authors I’m Thankful For” post next week, this will be my last post of 2015. Here’s hoping I’ll be back with a vengeance in 2016. 😉

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About Piper Vaughn

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she's known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it's only in a book.

Posted on December 26, 2015, in personal, piper vaughn, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Depression is a bitch. I also have depression and just went to my doctor for a med adjustment after a major life change. I know how that slope into a bad episode can be slippery. Bravo for recognizing it and seeking help. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, more of strength but you are admitting you are not okay. That takes guts. Take care of you first and for most, because your hubby and son need you first and foremost. Us readers can take the back burner. HUGS!!!

  2. Sending much love your way! I’m so glad you’ve found someone you connected to and who sounds like they can help. I’m so glad you not only sought that help but talk about it, too. (Stupid mental health stigma!) Maybe it’s not your goal, but you’ve probably helped someone else to reach out when they need it. So, double bonus awesome points to you. 😉 Keep on taking care of you, and we’ll all be here when you need to share your words again, whatever form they take. *lots of hugs*

  3. Sending positive thoughts for comfort and well-being to find their way into your spirit. In the meantime, Avery, Dylan and the rest of the Portland Pack will go about their business learning new skills and enjoying their days until you catch up with them. ❤

  4. I have the same problem with therapists. They either want to push labels or pills or a quick fix at me when what I need is advice or someone to listen or even just someone to be there. It’s hard and the words will come, I’ve always been afraid they wouldn’t come back either but they do and I’m sure you know that as well. 🙂

  5. Sending hugs and kisses from one depressive to another. I understand. Just do what you need to do for yourself. No worries about the other.

  6. Cousin I just want to say, I love you and will be praying for complete healing. I know this path for I have walked it many times, but I also know that God is mighty and the finate power of love… You are loved by many and we are here for you!! Blessings lovely!!

    Your cuz, Maria Velez

  7. Please take care of yourself first. All the rest will work itself out when you do. I really do hope you start feeling better. I’ll be thinking of you and see you on the other side in 2016…

  8. I understand, having lived with bi-polar disorder and clinical depression all my life. The stigma is lessening, but still there. Good for you that you can share your struggle, have found a therapist, and are hopefully on the path to regaining those elements of your life that have been stolen by depression.

  9. Take care of you. Hopefully she’ll be able to help you overcome it quicker. I can’t imagine battling something like that. Posting this is a testament to your strength of character and determination to make the best of your life.
    *hugs*

  10. Prayers are with you. I hope you realize by sharing your struggles you have helped many others. I am so happy you found someone that is a good fit for you. I look forward to reading many more of your books, but only after you have taken care of you. 2016 is going to be an amazing year for you, I just know it. God bless and here’s to a very Happy New Year 😀👍🏻🙏🏻

  11. Reblogged this on BookLover62 and commented:
    Pretty well sums up the viscous cycle depression can be. Especially hard to deal with during the “holidays” when everyone expects you to be “jolly”.

  12. Thanks for the support, everyone. ❤

  13. My daughter has depression too and I will tell you what I tell her. “It’s okay to need ‘me time’ and it’s okay to be depressed, just know that people love you anyway.”

    I hope you find your way back to you and that 2016 is a good year for you. Until we hear from you again we are all sending you our love and understanding.

  14. Sending love and hugs your way, Piper. Like you, I’ve battled the depression demon since I was a kid. After years of therapy and starting and stopping medications, I’ve finally made some peace with the struggle. I’ve accepted that this illness is part of who I am. And just like my diabetes and high blood pressure, I have had to learn how to manage it. For me, that includes medication – something that was extremely difficult for me accept as a long-term reality.

    More people can relate and understand this than you may think. I’ve been amazed at how many “me too” responses I’ve gotten when I’ve shared. Know that you are not alone in this struggle.

  15. Hang in there, Piper! We’re all out here believing in you!

  16. I understand how you feel- sometimes I wish i could stop the world and get off for a while – and only get back on when I’m ready. So stop your world, as much as you can, and take care of yourself.

  17. Lots of good feeling and vibes will be out in the universe directed at you. I think a lot of people can relate to you and how you feel, depression is such a common illness for so many people yet not talked about at all. That being said I hope you do take ten minutes or so out of the day to write something, a scene or discussion or even just to plot or worldbuild, not to publish or release or show anybody but for you. I’m assuming you’re an author not because you randomly selected it as a career, but because you’re a writer. And while you’re out refinding the labels and feelings that help you define yourself I think it’s important not to lose one you know, one that you may have to rediscover at the end of your soul searching and rebuilding.But mostly do what is good for you

  18. Wishing you sincerely good thoughts, P. I’ve struggled with SAD, the disease not the feeling, since I was a teen. It’s rampant in my family, so December is frantic time for me–my expression is insomnia, anxiety and mania–my mother gets depressive and my sisters get mania. Makes for a wild Christmas, usually.

    I do hope that your therapist works with you in a positive manner. Depression is a killer, and too few people recognize it, unfortunately. There is no weakness in seeking help, and relying on people to help you. As agonizing as it was to express this-to yourself, family, friends and the rest of us, it’s the biggest step you could have taken toward wellness. Peace dear one.

  19. This is a great post Piper. Thanks for sharing something so personal. I have also been depressed for most of my life and am a firm believer in therapy PLUS medication. I have been diagnosed Dysthymia without anxiety or bipolar tenancies. I have been in therapy on and off (never more than a year without) since I was 21. (I’m now 46.) I have been on medication since I was 21 (I cut back to half doses when I was pregnant in my late 20’s). My current psychiatrist suggested a mood stabilizer, even though I am not bipolar. I’m on a low dose and it has made a HUGE difference for me. We’re not sure exactly why, but SSRI’s combined with a mild mood stabilizer currently has me functioning about 90% of the time. I still have my down days, but they only last for 24 hours or so.

    Good luck to you Piper! Having a depressive disorder sucks but don’t EVER feel shame or stigmatized. Long term depression in genetic, short term depression is normal. Fuck anyone who looks down on you for that.

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