Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Depression - The Motion Picture

Depression is not a glamorous mental illness. Brad Pitt won’t be starring in a major motion picture joy that becomes a franchise about depression. It’s not an active condition like Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. Depression is a passive condition. Lots of crying. Sleeping. Prolonged malaise. Not photogenic.

Dude, where’s the laughs?

Depression is not about getting the “blues” or “feeling down.” It’s a prolonged state of melancholy, of helplessness, of inactivity and no amount of cheerful encouragement helps.

This blog ain’t helping.

I should know. I deal with depression.

Now why did you have to go and write that? Some big time agent could read this and think “this guy’s a nut. I’m not going to touch him with 1350 miligrams of Luvox.”

I consider depression the ultimate writer’s block. Due to joining SCBWI, reading YA and MG books, attending various conferences, and joining two writing critique groups, my writing craft has improved. I am now more prolific than I was five years ago…and yet the depressive episodes continue to intensify in severity.

At least post a goofy image?

My first blog for Pen & Ink was called Failure Is An Option. I wrote about the need to accept failure as part of the process of writing. Not every sentence works. Not every plot point is necessary. That’s what revision is about. When something doesn’t work, I, the Writer rewrite and fix it. Depression requires constant management.

A weekend in Vegas should take care of you.

I care about writing. I have a passion for it. I have a modicum of talent for creating stories. I gather resources like books, conferences and critique groups to achieve my goal of creating a work of great beauty and a great story. So too, I gather resources to deal with the depression. One of those resources is to write about it. Depression is an isolative, secretive condition.

I wish you’d kept this blog a secret.

If you deal with depression, get help. Don’t suffer in silence. If someone you know deals with depression…listen to them.

I’m tuning you out after this. And what’s with this phony dialog?

The dialog device was used by early philosophers to discuss sensitive or complex subjects. The Galileo used this method to compare and contrast the Copernican system of planetary movement with the traditional Ptolemaic system.

Galileo? Okay, that one I know. That’s the name of the shuttle craft on the Starship Enterprise. Original series, of course.

Of course. Now back to writing.

(Photos by Senor Guadalupe Fernandez)


  1. Alright, Senor, I'm not even going to attempt the usual witty banter because I hear you. Seems lots of writers deal with depression, (including me) and it is the ultimate writer's block. Yet, we deal with it by WRITING. I also recommend reading. Nothing like escaping into someone else's world, and reading takes care of writer's block, too. We can de-wallow at SCBWI later this month.

  2. Great post, Lupe. I've been meaning to blog about depression for a long while but haven't had the courage...or the energy. I'm grateful, though that what carries me through depression and pain--is writing and reading. Oh, and video games :) Thanks so much for sharing. Friends are priceless, too.

  3. Thanks Rilla,

    A smile is a frown that's upside down, unless turned sideways, then it's a crescent.

    Lupe F.

  4. Thank you Lupe. I was at one time in what they called a "Situational depression." Talking helped, but it sure was hard to do.

  5. Inspirational. Keepin it real L.
    And personally I needed to read it. Dealing with a wee bit O' the big D' myself after finishing the scripts. So thanks.

  6. Susan - Depression is never having to say "I'm Happy."

    Niya - You're welcome.

    Lupe F.

  7. I have dealt with bouts of depression my entire life it seems. But mine mostly stems from an anxiety disorder. I've been thinking hard about writing about it, but haven't figured out quite how to do it. You have done a wonderful job with this post, very inspirational.

    I just sent in a whole handful of submissions- something that always seems to get me down. Maybe it's the wait, maybe it's the coming down from so much focused writing and re-writing.

    Anyway, thanks for the read. Somehow it has made me feel a little less depressed. :)


  8. Dear Erin,

    Thanks for reading the post. I wonder if Anxiety Disorder is the handmaiden of Depression. Or vice versa.

    I wrote a memoir manuscript about a severe 18 month depressive episode, but a suitable draft eluded me. So I switched to the happy-go-lucky-devil-may-care genre of YA fiction.

    Lupe F.


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