Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 month ago

Why is it so normalised for writers (and other artists) to have mental issues?

I'm writing a pretty ambitious novel at the moment, and am suffering from lots of stress, depression, and anxiety from the whole thing. Whenever I try to explain this to people, they have a habit of chuckling and saying things like 'haha, classic writer!' I'm sorry, but why is this something to laugh at? Is it funny to people that most writers suffer for their work? As a result, I can never talk to people about how I'm feeling over my writing, because they just shrug it off or treat it like a funny, common, and cute thing to happen to me. I can't imagine such a reaction if I had any job outside of an artistic field.

5 Answers

  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't believe that it IS 'normalised', but it's typical of writers who are getting depressed, stressed and anxious to tell other people, who don't really understand and therefore brush it off.  When people feel a bit embarrassed to be told that a friend is suffering as you are, they tend to laugh and make a joke of it.

    It's really best NOT to tell people.

    If you were clinically depressed, that's entirely different.  But when it's stress over an artistic project, most people don't feel that this is a valid reason to get seriously anxious.  And they may have a point.  

    If writing is making you miserable - stop.

    Start writing again when you're feeling more positive.  

    But perhaps keep your anxieties to yourself about this.

    Only write if doing so makes you happy.  Don't make yourself ill!

    Good luck!

  • 1 month ago

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to not tell anyone that you're suffering from lots of stress, depression, and anxiety from the whole thing. I'm sure they're really not interested and don't care, and they surely think you're only fishing for sympathy...... like you're doing here. Hope this helped.

  • 1 month ago

    While unpleasant, normal artistic angst/depression/stress is not a mental issue. If you feel that it's reached that level, then I would suggest that you stop writing or at least scale down/take a break, which is what many writers do.

    I'm a writer and I know what it's like. I've also had situational stress and situational depression, and they are vastly different things, just like situational depression cannot be compared to clinical depression.

    So yes, we laugh at it, and we laugh at ourselves, because it's so relatable and common, and because it's usually on an "Oh man..." level. Also because it usually stems from this odd mixture of our own insecurities, striving for perfection, and well, yes, self-importance, because we're making it such a big deal. 

    And it's this level of anxiety, stress, and depression people are laughing at. Not clinical depression, stress, and anxiety.

  • Amber
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    I don't think it is normalized at all, it exists in a lot of other subjects as well. Writers do have a tendency of being a bit whiny and insecure. The amount of times you see people on here complaining that their work is rubbish, when they post pieces for others to read (so fishing for compliments due to being insecure). I read a very dreary question the other day on a writing forum and this person just constantly went on about not feeling good enough and depressed over it. It's like...ugh! I think it is an area that is highly criticized, like all the arts. Many actors and comedians suffer from it to. It's not many jobs were you're producing your own material to be judge by others. Just on here alone you get people asking for validation on their plot ideas. Anxiety, insecurity, gloomy feelings all seem to come with work being created and criticized by others. I don't have that in my day job. If someone doesn't like the food cooked and complains, it's not personal to me because I didn't cook it. If I publish a book and someone dislikes it, that can be taken personally.

    Other than that I don't think about mental health and writing much. It not clinical depression.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 month ago

    I think you are being a bit too sensitive there. In academia it is common to say stuff like "if you want to do a PhD you've got a deathwish/ are a sadist". In finance unpaid overtime is expected. However, in those professions people are being held accountable and have to adhere to tight deadlines and that is where the pressure comes from. They feel like they "owe" it to their employer due to a contract they signed or financial compensation. I have never heard of those people getting offended over statements like that. They take it with humour.

    All your problems are self induced. Nobody is asking you to suffer for your writing, if you don't like it don't do it. Doesn't sound like you have a publisher riding your butt, otherwhise you would have probably complained about them too. 

    Also I wouldn't exactly say that the famous authors suffered for their work, more that their mental illness gave them an interesting perspective on life which made their work more interesting to read. This might not be your calling after all. 

    Cut your friends some slack. At least they are willing to listen to your complaints for free. If you want guidance without judgment you'll have to pay a shrink 100 bucks/ hour.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.