TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SELF-HARM AND UN-ALIVING
Every month, a news story flashes across our screens, reporting another death by suicide.
The rate of suicide is higher for writers than for the general population. One in four writers has contemplated suicide, and one in ten has attempted it.
The following factors can contribute to a writer’s mental health:
– Lack of time to take care of themselves properly
– Financial difficulties
– Family troubles
– Mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder
– Drug and alcohol abuse
– Social isolation
In addition, writers have individual demons adding to the burden. The stress of having to perform under a deadline, display the work for a public audience, deal with trolls on the internet, and get critique from friends, co-workers, and family who couldn’t write a straight sentence themselves is daunting. It can make one wonder that any writer would be foolish enough even to start a writing career, much less keep coming back for more after getting a battering online.
And let’s not forget our internal critic, our best and worst friend.
Some have found that writing has helped them cope with their issues, and others find it too difficult to put their thoughts and feelings into words.
The act of writing is therapeutic for many people, as it can help them better understand themselves. It can also be a form of self-care, as it helps people take care of themselves in ways they may not otherwise.
It is important to remember that self-care is not just about having a mental health break. It means taking care of your physical and emotional needs. Here are some ways to take care of yourself:
1) Eat healthy food and drink lots of water
2) Spend time with your friends and family.
3) Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment, breathing deeply, or meditating
4) Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
5) Take care of your mental health by avoiding alcohol or drugs, getting enough sleep, and keeping up with therapy sessions
In the end, there is a drive inside every writer that forces words and stories to flow through their minds, their dreams. The dopamine hit received when a perfectly worded sentence scrolls across the screen is born out of a love for words themselves and simple self-expression.
Simply, writing is a beautiful hell.