If you subscribe to this blog (thank you), you’ll have seen my recent personal post (as a subscriber exclusive) about the challenges of mental health as a writer. This is an important topic, so I brought it up with Tim for the latest edition of the podcast, click here or listen below. Further down is my personal post to give you the full perspective of what was going down with me and my mental health.
Back in 2010/2011, I went through a difficult period where I lost confidence with myself and my work. This negative spell led to writer’s block. It wasn’t until the later stages of this depression that I realised I needed to snap myself out of it. (Strangely, I have Twitter to thank as every time I would log on, my first impulse was to tweet: ‘Feeling very down’. I never actually tweeted this but I deleted it from my preview box on several occasions). At the time, some screenwriting teaching was a handy distraction but my writing was at an all-time low (I got fired from one particular gig ‘cos my writer’s block produced such a rubbish draft). I didn’t know what to do. So I sought professional help with a therapist.
This helped to talk things through and gain vital perspective. I began to feel better, but still felt a bit rocky/insecure. Importantly, my therapy sessions made me realise not to internalise any negative thoughts and turn them into twisted logic. It’s always better to talk to someone, that way real perspective is gained. I even started the UK Scriptwriters Podcast with Tim as a way to procrastinate and to avoid my low mood (Tim knew nothing of my block until I confided in him later, after the therapy had ended). Our collaboration would further lift my mood and confidence, especially with the production of Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg?
In a way, this all ties in to my blog post about ‘finding your original voice‘, as my writing has changed post-depression, even improved, but the challenges and competition seem harder than ever before. This is why keeping track of mental health is so important. Writing is a lonely and thankless task at times, heaped with negativity and rejection. This can accumulate into something far more damaging to an individual’s well being. If you feel any of the negative warning signs, about anything in your life, then don’t be shy or ashamed to talk to someone. It doesn’t have to be therapy, it could be an honest one-to-one with a good friend, as long as you’re not avoiding the issue or letting the negativity cloud your judgement.
The evil trick of depression is to make you feel isolated and alone, unable to share anything with your nearest and dearest. Reach out, talk to someone, email, phone, social media, whatever it is. Start the conversation, share how you feel. I guarantee better days are ahead.