“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
— Sylvia Plath
This post doesn’t bring me pleasure, but it’s one I should have written a while ago. There’s many reports that link creativity to mental health issues. Writers take the brunt of it with nearly 40% being linked to depression and bipolar disorder. With these numbers it’s easy to romanticize the craft and mental health disorders.
“If I don’t write to empty my mind , I go mad.” Lord Byron
Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe are but a handful of writers who suffered mental illness only to pay the ultimate price of suicide. It’s tragic and sudden. It’s something I struggle with, and may have passed down to my kids. As I’m writing this I’m about to go to a psychiatric hospital to see one of my kids.
You don’t have to struggle with mental illness for your craft. It’s not worth it. Take care of yourself because you deserve it. Here are a few things that can help.
Don’t romanticize it.
I’ve had the thought a few times of ‘if I get help I’ll lose what makes me me.’ Your passion means nothing if you’re not here. You are more important than the ink in the pages.
There’s no shame in mental illness.
Nearly one in five American adults (18.2% of the population) have some sort of mental health problem. There are medications and treatments to help. You are not alone in your struggle.
Don’t believe that no one cares.
I do. We do. Plenty of people do.
Don’t keep it to yourself.
I’m guilty of this myself. It’s easy to create a mask you allow others to see. One that says everything is fine when you know that is not. Share what you are struggling with. Be open. Let someone help.
You are not a burden. You matter.
Don’t let a treatable illness win.
Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273TALK(8255) | suicidepreventionlifeline.org