the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Writing and Depression

 Another scientific list is out, and I'm in the Loser group - The Depressed People.  Not depressing - so far science hasn't been able to hang that one on me.  But I can't deny the depressed part.

In a list of the top 10 professions prone to depression, writers come in 5th, along with artists and entertainers.  Depression is also a leading cause of suicide, which is rather, you know, depressing.  But more on that later.

True to my profession, I am depressed, or so my doctor says.  (My symptoms were insomnia and an inability to concentrate, which makes sense when you only get 4 hours of sleep.)  And for the record, I know a TON of writers who take anti-depressants.  There's something to those statistics.

What I found surprising is that numbers 1-4 on the Depressed list are all helping professions:
1. nursing home/child care workers
2. food service
3. social workers
4. health care workers
For that matter, number 6 is teachers, which is also another selfless, helping profession.  So how in the heck did we self-absorbed writers get in this group?

And let's dispell a big myth - depression doesn't mean you're moping around thinking bleak thoughts.  It probably means you feel overwhelmed by tasks you used to do easily.  And they have pills for that!  So depressed people who seek help aren't actually depressed.  Got it?
So who are those depressed people committing suicide?  Experts can't seem to narrow it down to particular professions.   Here's what they can say - women attempt suicide three to four times more often than men.  That wouldn't look good for me, EXCEPT... men succeed at it four times as often. 

I'm a competitive person, so I don't generally like to be second best at anything.  But guys, you can have this one.  And take a pill, why don't ya?  Or read a romance novel!  Dynamic characters, falling in love, and a guaranteed happy ending - how could that not make you feel better?

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