Making Your Suicidal Depression Work For You

Posted on 28/09/2011 by

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So Ernest Hemingway suggests I hang myself. This strikes me as being on par with the school of thought that gave us: If at first you don’t succeed, call an airstrike. Still… I think he sort of has a point.

Not that I think suicide is the answer. But it would give you something to write about. Plus writers tend to have the most ridiculous inferiority complexes which lead to all sorts of insanity. At least if you started by hanging yourself you’d have gone as far as you could in the I suck direction. Nowhere to go from there but up!Image of Ernest Hemingway built out of words from his books

And up is where you find the other side of the usual writer psyche — the absurdly arrogant one. The egotistical writer self who can drive those around them to murder, or at least to stabbing themselves in the ears so they don’t have to listen to said writer wax rhapsodic about themselves and their unquestionably miraculous prose.

I know what you’re thinking: that doesn’t sound like a great person to be. But it’s important to have that arrogance somewhere in your mind because you need to have an almost unreasoning confidence in your own work. It’s what allows you to believe through rejection and bad drafts and calamitous critiques and accidentally deleting chapter five, to have faith that your work is worth it and that the universe will inevitably come to realise it too.

And if you think you’ll be stuck as an insufferable jerk forever, no fear. That confidence is just one part of a Möbius strip that leads back to where you started: the crippling self-loathing that occurs when you come to the horrible realisation that you’ve been lying to yourself about your talent, your abilities, and just how funny that last chapter was.

At moments like that your worst mistakes tend to haul themselves out of the darker parts of your brain. And I think it would be handy if the dramatic climax of that parade of blunders was the recollection that you suck so badly you even failed at hanging yourself. Because, really, next to that, how bad could putting your novel out there in the world one more time possibly be?

 

Posted in: Kandace