All posts tagged: depression

How Writing Saves My Life

This is the time of year when people start to talk a lot about gratitude and thankfulness. This is also the time of year when the days drastically shorten and leave with more darkness daily than light; that is both literal and figurative. I don’t remember how many years ago I  first heard of “Seasonal Affective Disorder” You may also know it as Winter Blues, or any host of other names that describe how people with ‘normal’ mental health, fall into a slump of sadness or depression during the winter months. As soon as I knew this was a thing, I knew that this is what I went through every winter, this especially sucks because my  birthday is in the middle of December. Winter is only a few months, so I never thought too much about this and having a bit of winter blah is normal for most people. What I missed in my initial assumptions about Seasonal Affective Disorder is that for many it is a precursor or early warning sign for clinical depression. Depression is one of those things that exist on …

Something Beautiful: Mental Health and the MFA

What do we talk about when we talk about depression and writing? It’s hard to begin, not least because the pairing of these topics can feel almost overly familiar. They’re a classic combo, really—a sort of burger and fries, peanut butter and jelly, Lennon and McCartney of the literary world. From The Bell Jar to Darkness Visible, writers writing about depression has become practically a trope. It’s archetypal: the tortured writer loopy at his desk, popping pills and chugging whiskey. But ultimately, my story isn’t about an archetype. It’s about me, and as my struggle with mental illness collides with my MFA experience, there is no well-trod trajectory for what will happen next. I’m just weeks away from starting my graduate program at Temple University, and I’m doing so while grappling with severe depressive symptoms. Think hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, excessive fatigue, and spontaneous tears. These are pieces of who I am right now, and, like it or not, they’re probably coming with me when I hit the North Philadelphia pavement next month. I’ll be teaching …