Depression, Anxiety and the Creative Writer

Katie Phillips Creative Services

Creative writers often jokingly refer to the strangeness of the writing experience in terms of a mental illness. Multiple personalities (Characters that talk back? Say, whaaat?), obsessive behavior, the “tortured artist” stereotype, all the feels, etc.

But there’s a darker underbelly beneath all the joking.

The sensitive, artistic personality types who tend to express their deep thoughts and feelings through writing often trend toward depression and anxiety. 

This is by no means true of all writers and artists (thankfully!), and the scientific community is divided on whether a link actually exists. However, I’ve certainly seen anecdotal evidence of many creative writers struggling, not to mention dealing with anxiety and depression myself.

Creative writers look at the world a different way. They feel things others don’t feel, and often feel them much more deeply than the rest of the population. Writers (especially of the speculative genres) often feel torn between two…

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The End of Summer


As the summer comes to a close

Its pages leaf to a fall

The little girl sleeps in her crib

Protected by frayed walls

Her caregiver hums a sullen tune

As the wind whistles from afar

Blowing the branches off weary trees

And carrying along a lonely lark

It flew a great distance from its home

Hoping for shelter from the mighty wind

Standing patiently on the window sill

The small bird began to sing

A priceless gift on such an eve

A lulling harmony for a sleeping babe

Fleeting as it often is

For it disappeared behind the moving drapes

With the summer idleness now past and gone

All must start their lives once more

As the caring givers protect their young

And the lost birds learn to soar


The Daily Post’s prompt “Priceless”


Untarnished Love 

The purest of loves

Is untarnished by people
Been holding me close

For years it has grown
So deep within it branches

A softness, a peace
Its safety has provided

It is mine alone
Impossible to deny
Cannot replicate

Falling back on it
This love shall always protect


(Wednesday 19th April – Tuesday 25th April)



  1. Each week I will post one word that will serve as an inspiration for a poem.
  2. This poem can be of any form and any length.
  3. You can choose to use the actual word in your poem or a synonym or simply convey its meaning, that’s up to you.
  4. Copy URL of your post to the comment section OR Pin Back (preferably).
  5. You can also contribute a word to the challenge, and I will link it to your blog the following week.



A few months ago I chose to quit my job for a better opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity didn’t work out and I ended up being unemployed instead. For months I regretted my decision, convincing myself that I shouldn’t have taken the risk, that I was fine where I was.

My choice was based on a foundation of stress, so maybe if I had pushed through it the result would have been different. But the truth is you can’t undo life-altering choices, because they are what make your life. The small daily unconscious choices, along with the monumental decisions, they make up the days we spend on this Earth. Sounds obvious doesn’t it. Yet quite often we forget the reasons behind our choices, because we’re blind to the effects they will have on our future.

Back to my example. At first I perceived my unemployment as a failure, but now I realize that it has been a true blessing. During this free time, unburdened by the stress of a full-time position, I was able to relax. I dedicated time to my hobbies, took care of my health, engaged in new activities, met different people and gained some perspective. In the end, it was my choice that brought me to where I am today and for the first time in almost a decade, I can honestly say I understand what it means to be calm.