Depression and Writing ;)

February 8, 2010 | Karin's Blog | 26 comments

(warning, mini unintended rant ahead)

I’m not sure if it’s the time of year, seasonal depression and all, this crappy economy, or what, but there seems to be a lot of depressed writers out there.  Almost to the point of an epidemic.  I get some of the reasons.  Rejection hurts.  It makes us feel, well, rejected.  Not good enough. Like we have failed and/or are a failure. But we have to remember there are other reasons for a rejection other than not good enough.  I know lot’s of writers who are more than good enough.  Hell, I’d cut my hands off to write like them!  Yet, they have been unable to sell in this current market.

But we have to work through it.  Work being the optimum word here.  It’s all work. Life is work!

I’ve been depressed before, mostly hormonally induced, and usually it only lasts a day or two at the longest and luckily the occurrences are rare.  I’ve been very sad before, but not severely depressed (not that I can remember anyway).  I don’t have days where I don’t want to get out of bed (unless I’m being very lazy!), or feel as if my life has no meaning.  Maybe I’m too arrogant.  I don’t look to others to make me happy or for justification.  I am just me, at my core, a good person, and have no difficulty if someone doesn’t like me.  I figure it’s their loss not mine. 

I’ve noticed that a lot of folks who are starved for attention tend to get depressed easily, but I wonder—is that just a way to get attention? These types seem to be more sickly than most, or when you talk to them they have the, I’m-at-death’s-door-delivery. A cry for attention?  Or am I being insensitive?  I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the, “Oh, are-you-alright-what’s-wrong-let-me-help-you,” type.  As in, I don’t cater to those who are looking for attention.  I’m there with bells on if someone needs something and is willing to work hard to get it.  It’s what I do.  To a fault.  Hey, I was 2008 RWA Pro Mentor of the Year!  But I don’t seem to have much tolerance for the woe is me crowd.  I can’t relate. I can’t relate to quitters either.  Or those who whine about how hard they have it but neglect to look in the mirror and realize they haven’t been willing to do the work to actually get it.

It’s all about doing the work.  Not giving up, forcing oneself to get up each morning and taking meaningful steps toward your goal.  No matter what the goal is.  A new job, writing a chapter, going to school.  If one is not willing to do the work, how on earth can one expect the reward?  Who do these people think they are and why do they think the working hard motto doesn’t apply to them?  I guess that’s denial.  I know a person who has had several, ok, more than several, many jobs in a certain industry since they began working.  This person gets hired with high hopes and within months they find their hours are cut, they aren’t making the money everyone else is, and somehow, this is always the management’s fault.  Hmmm.  Funny, the other folks who are willing to do the work don’t have that problem with the management.  The very sad part is, these types of people don’t understand it’s them, not the world.

This turns into a woe is me episode and then the depression follows and then they walk around all sulky with their chins dragging on the floor, and well, I just really want to kick some sense into them.  But that is their cycle, what they do, who they are.  I stay very far away from those types of people.  Unfortunately there are a few of these types sprinkled throughout my family, and I’m the insensitive bad guy because I want nothing to do with their negativeness.  Yeah, whatever.  I so do not have time for being a cheerleader for a team that isn’t willing to practice.

OK, so this blog did not end up anywhere near how I had envisioned it.  It was going to be an uplifting, You can do it, post!  Not a get off your whiney ass and just freaking do it, post.

Ugh.  Sorry, but to those of you who need to get off your ass and just do it, take heart, it’s easy.  Just drop the bullshit excuses and make today the day you begin your new way of life. (yes, it really is that simple.  It’s a choice.  You’re either in or you’re out, only you can make that decision for yourself.)

To those of you who are doing the work and feeling frustrated, (and that is who this blog was intended for) keep working hard.  Each step is one step closer to your goal, whatever that goal may be.  Do not allow naysayers to interfere in your quest.  Do not allow anyone for any reason to deter you from what you want.  It’s yours, but nothing worth having in this life comes easy, most especially to the ones who are in for the long haul!

 Happy Monday!   🙂

Karin*  who is feeling happy and sassy today.  We had a scare yesterday with my FIL and I am just so very happy he is going to be okay.  It’s times like this that always gives me cause for pause, and to realize how good and precious life is, so I get irritated at those who waste so much time being self-induced miserable and blaming the world for it.  Get over it and LIVE!   Life is a miracle!


  1. Edie

    I’m glad your FIL is all right. You are sassy today! Good for you! I laughed when you talked about not wanting to get out of bed. I should give these people my dog. I had to put her out and in about 12 times today.

    I don’t like to listen to negative people either. It bores me. I just want to get away from them.

  2. Micole Black


    I am right with you! And thank you for this post. It’s a great reality check for everyone.



  3. Karin Tabke

    Edie, he just got home! Boy, he gave us a scare! I’m so bored by the negatives out there. Ew ew EW!

  4. Karin Tabke

    Micole, you should have read this post before I toned it down! I’m just at a point where it’s like, get over it already and do the damn work!

    Howz the new blog experience coming along?

  5. Margaret

    Glad you’re back, Mz. K! I love your no-nonsense approach to stuff. Whew! on your FIL–it’s hard. We are getting older, which means the parental units are too, and they aren’t as spry as they were a few years ago (my mom’s 88) so I understand.

    I’ve decided that getting upset over stuff out of my power is stupid.
    Rejections–out of my power.
    What is being bought–out of my power.
    Whether or not someone thinks I’m nutso–out of my power–and I really don’t give a rat’s ass what they think, but that’s another story.
    Gnomes, well, they are in my power, but I like Rory Leafhopper so he’s staying.
    So, I decided to poke fun at myself and the process today on my blog. Hop on over like Kermit if you want a chuckle. If not, well, that’s out of my power, too. 🙂
    Glad you’re back.

  6. jake

    I’m so glad your FIL is all right! Talk about getting thrown into a bad situation – everything else pales.

    I’ve learned, and am still learning, that the best way to deal with the inevitable rejection (some people get nowhere fast, but authors seem to get nowhere SLOW!) is to be proactive. If you’re working on the next project, or plotting and planning and scheming something really cool, then you don’t even think about the downside. You don’t have time.

    You only have one life. Everyone gets slapped in the face now and then, but how are you going to spend the remaining precious hours of your life? I tell myself (often) that a hundred years from now, none of this will matter. Not one person will see the one star on amazon, or look through all the rejection emails I’ve gotten.

    More important, someone will remember a book they loved. And just might could be, it’s a book I wrote.

    That’s what we’re doing it for, besides the fact that writing is an obsession and most of us just can’t stop.

  7. HollyD

    Welcome back. I’m glad your fil is okay. I hope your arms are better.

    I have a lot on my plate. Could I sit in a funk every day and be depressed? Yeah ’cause that’s easy, but it isn’t me. I know that my dream of being a published author may not come true. Am I going to give up? Hell no! I don’t want my kids to think giving up is okay.

  8. Jody

    Something I always try to remind myself of: If you are doing what you truly love, and it brings you happiness to do it, then it is absolutely impossible for it to be a failure. How can feeding your soul with the thing that brings you joy be failure? Never let the opinions of others define you.

  9. Michelle Diener

    Funny, I think we’re twins. LOL. I don’t have time for people who whine. I really can’t bear it. So, so happy your FIL is okay, and hope that hand is improving!

  10. Susan

    Love your post!!! Very good!
    I’m thinking about printing it out to smack people with, or at least hand to them when the whining starts.
    I have a leather sign sitting on my desk at work that says, “NO WHINING”.
    In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t work.

  11. B.E. Sanderson

    Sing it, sister. I’d send a link for this post to my niece, but I’m at the point where she’s a lost cause. You can only do so much to shake people out of their negativity before you realize it’s up to them.

    Not that I’m never negative, mind you, but I’m way way better than I used to be. Goodbye Negative Nelly, Hello Positive Polly. =o)

    Thank goodness for your FIL. I’m sorry for whatever scare he gave you, and I’m sending positive thoughts for his continued wellness.

  12. Jill James

    I’ve spent most of my life between two “I’m so sorry for myself” people. It is draining, but it also made me make sure I wasn’t one of those people. I get sad (alot sometimes) and I can have a depressing moment or maybe a day, but then you have to move on. It is too much work to be depressed all the time. Life is too short to waste it like that.

  13. virna

    Glad your fil is okay, Karin!! I DO tend to sleep when I”m down. Either that, or I get a massage. I don’t beat myself up about it. I know it’ll pass and I think it actually balances out how intense I can be other times.

  14. Liz Kreger

    Yep that was a hellava rant, Karin. Loved it. I’m with you. Cannot stand whiney people. You just want to smack ’em up the side the head and tell them to get on with it. These people are too draining to hang with for long.

    Sure every one gets a bit depressed ‘pon occasion. I’m a firm believer that if you’re given bad news, you have 24 hours to feel sorry for yourself, then get over it.

    P.S. Glad to hear FIL is okay.

  15. Annon. for my children's sake


    Wow, are you really the intolerant, judgemental person you seem to be from your post? As someone who has lived, hated and suffered from chronic, debilitating major depressive disorder (MDD) since I was a child, I’ll give you a little advice. Not everyone who says they are depressed is whining. Some of them are doing all they can just to stay alive because the pain of living and the feeling of hopelessness is so great, ending their life seems to be the only solution.

    People who are living with undiagnosed clinical depression CAN’T be more productive. They need help and they need the people in their lives (especially those they reach out to, in whatever form that may be) to help them get the treatment they need.

    I absolutely hate, hate, hate people who look down on depressed individuals and say things like:
    1. Snap out of it, just GET OVER IT already.
    2. Get more exercise, you’ll feel better.
    3. Stop whining and start doing.
    4. Set a goal and WORK for it, you’ll feel better.
    5. Depression? You must be crazy and I don’t want to be around you. You could “snap” at any moment.
    6. Read this self-help book, it’ll get you going in the right direction.

    Yes, chronic depression is a mental illness. An illness that is just a valid as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. And it’s just as deadly. IT SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN LIGHTLY OR PASSED OFF AS JUST A PHASE.

    I also know it runs in families, just like other diseases. Maybe that’s why my mother and father both tried to kill themselves. (A fact which was hidden – unspoken.) Why I grew up in a household where my parents didn’t fight in front of their children but an aura of gloominess and sadness prevailed. Maybe that’s why I had an aunt who was hospitized four times (including undergoing electroshock therapy in the 1950’s) – called the “crazy auntie.” And I know for damn sure that’s why my children are under the care of psychiatrist.

    Would you tell someone with cancer to stop whining and get on with it? Not unless you are so callous and unfeeling as to be socially unacceptable yourself.

    Depressed individuals need support and understanding, not snide derision. If the depression is situational and short-term perhaps the suggestion of a visit to a therapist “to see if you can get through this time a little easier” is in order. But, if the individual has habitually “complained” about depression, they need to see a psychiatrist. If you care about this person, you might need to make the appointment for them, they may not have the energy, or they might be resistant to the thought of being “crazy.” You may need to take them by the hand (literally) to a doctor for evaluation. Your support, however, could mean that person’s life.

    There are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of individuals out there living with depression every day, only they don’t know it’s depression. They just think if they changed jobs, changed spouses, started working out at the gym, etc. the gray, lifelessness of their existance would suddenly brighten and they could become productive, happy people instantly. Umm, no.

    I won’t go into my entire life story, but I will tell you this. My depression is caused by a CHEMICAL IMBALANCE in my brain. Not because I am lazy. Not because I am not a good person. Not because I want to be taken care of. When did my depression start manifesting itself? About age 10. When did I first want to kill myself? Around age 15. When did I first start therapy and medication? At age 40.* When did I finally find the right combination of drugs so that I could enjoy life, not just subsist? Age 53. How old am I now? 54.

    Please do not continue to be annoyed by someone who says they are depressed. If you care about this person, show some f’ing compassion! The least you can do is have an attitude of “There but for the grace of God go I.” The best you can do is offer to help. Just having someone listen might get that person through the day, or through their long night.

    Above all, before you submit another blog about how you are annoyed by people who say they are depressed, get educated about the illness. It’s not something to be ashamed of, neither is it something to be taken lightly.

    *Why did I wait until I was 40 to get help? Because I always thought if I was just a better person (daughter, wife, mother…) “I wouldn’t feel this way.”

    Guess what. My extremely beautiful, extremely intelligent eldest child tried to kill themselves for the first time at age NINE. When I met with their therapist (who then rightly diagnosed my own depression) she asked me: “Is xxxx a bad person?” I said, “Of course not, xxxx (my child) is only nine years old!” Therapist: “then why do you think you are a bad person? You have the same chemical imbalance they do. It has nothing to do with being bad, lazy, or crazy. It’s a chemical imbalance, much like diabetes is a chemical imbalance.”

    That was my lightbulb moment and that’s when I started to see MY depression as something to address, not hide.

    ::Yes, I was angry when I started writing this. No, I’m not crazy, nor am I dangerous, to you or to myself. I’m actually quite lighthearted and fun most of the time. But don’t press my depression=lazy button! And I am now stepping off the soapbox::

  16. Karin Tabke

    Margaret, this biz is tough. Really, really tough. hard on the muse, hard on our feelings and hard on our egos. I like your style, and I like you gnomes too! Mucho good luck.

    Loved the queryosis blog!

  17. Karin Tabke

    Jake, I’m glad he is too!

    Yes, we all do get slapped in the face, it’s what we do about it that defines us. Pointing fingers or not taking control in whatever manner that may be is the demise of us.

    The rejection part is hard. Most of the time it’s the work, not personal, but our work is so personal. it’s hard not to take the hit directly to our hearts. But we have to find a way to work through it.

  18. Karin Tabke

    Thanks, Holly. Girl you have more on your plate than any woman I mow! You always amaze me. Always.

    And your dream *will* come true. If I sold, you can too. Keep at it.

  19. Karin Tabke

    Jody said, “Never let the opinions of others define you.” I Love that. Love it. Words to live by.

  20. Karin Tabke

    Michelle, congrats again on your sales!!! And here’s to no more whiners!
    Hand is still crappy, but the drugs and staying away from the keyboard helps, which is kind of hard to do, I’m already over 14 pages of inserts for my copy edited book and only on page 135 of the book!

  21. Karin Tabke

    Susan, thanks! My moto has always been the same as Nike, Just Do It. No matter what *it* is to get the job done.

  22. Karin Tabke

    I’m singing it loud and proud! Ugh, you so do not want to hear me sing! Simon’s eardrums would bleed out!

    Beth, I know a few lost causes. It’s hard when they just don’t get it, or refuse to do the work.
    As far as being negative, we all can be. It’s human nature. I mean, if I had to walk around with a smile plastered across my face 24/7, I’d kill someone. I get pissed, I get down, and I get negative, and I think we need to be all of the above once and a while. It’s all part of the balance of our emotions. But those chronic shrill types. Yikes. Keep them away from me!

  23. Karin Tabke

    Jill, it does take a lot of work to be depressed. but here’s the other thing, if one is chronically depressed, there are doctors and medications for that. Getting there and getting help is all part of the work i’m talking about.

    In our writing world, I know of so many women who have had to deal with chronic depression (which I am not talking about in this post. That’s a whole nuther post!) and have taken direct steps to do something about it.

    Hell, this business can make even the most upbeat person crazy with grief.

  24. Karin Tabke

    Thanks, Virna, fil and mil just left. He’s back to his wonderful self. I think you’re smart not to beat yourself when you’re down. when my hormones take a swing at me, or something happens to bring me down, i know it for what it is and don’t fight it. But one thing i do, do, is walk. I’ve also upped my calcium to 1000mg a day. It helps.

  25. Karin Tabke

    Liz, you really are my real life heroine! Your battle with cancer has inspired me to not feel sorry for myself over the small stuff and even some of the big stuff. I am grateful everyday. Thank you for being that bright shining beacon of what it means to be positive to me.

  26. Karin Tabke

    Wow, Anon, that was some tirade! (I guess my wordpress didn’t like it, I found it buried in the spam dungeon)

    I guess you didn’t get the gist of my blog. But unlike you, I will attempt in a civil, rational tone to shed some light on it.

    We all have our opinions and you can accept mine, or not. I will not debate them with you, especially on my own blog. My feelings stand, but since it’s apparent that something was lost to you in the translation, which is apparent by your rant er’ spirited comments, I will attempt to clarify.

    This blog post wasn’t and isn’t about looking down on those with clinical depression or any other medical issues, this post was about *not doing the work*. I *am* very much ‘intolerant’ of those who continually whine about an issue, whether it is as serious as clinical depression, or something far less daunting, and who then *refuse* to **do the work** to rectify it.

    This post wasn’t an ignorant attack on those with any type of medical, emotional or psychical issues and who have taken charge of those issues, it was about people regardless of their issues, large or small, who don’t or won’t.

    It was also about my stand on helping those who help themselves. “I’m there with bells on if someone needs something and is willing to work hard to get it.”

    and no, I have no tolerance for those who refuse to get help. I am not Mother Teresa. I’m Karin Tabke who does what she can, when she can, for who she can, but won’t do it for them.

    I could go on and on here, but I’m not. I’ll agree for us both to disagree. In the meantime, peace.

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