Invisible Illness
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Invisible Illness

How to Beat Depression in 2020

Photo by Isabela Kronemberger on Unsplash

The New Year is on its way. I launched my Patreon earlier today. My reader audience is growing. Overall, the year was successful.

I should be happy.

I’m not.

Depression sucks.

I’ve done pretty well this year. My creative path keeps my monsters at bay. Artwork, writing, hearing how people love my work, it all helps.

Yet, that monster is still there, shaking the cage he’s locked in, weakening my defenses. He bangs, yells, fights to get free.

He escaped.

I think the combination of loneliness on the holidays, being away from family and friends, and seeing many beloved trees fallen, gave him the fuel he needed to break the weakening bonds and shred the cage to pieces.

Sitting in my chair, I’ve struggled to get up to my office the past few days.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

For me, there’s an extra struggle. I work alone, sometimes going weeks without seeing people. Working in an office has its benefits. You have to work. You have to interact with human beings.

Other than a 24hr stint with family on Christmas Eve, I haven’t interacted much the past week. Those I lovingly call my convention family are hundreds of miles away. Close friends nowhere to keep my mind off things. My partner started a new job three hours away, and we’re still figuring out where to move.

I hate depression.

As the beast clawed his way out, devouring one of my ogre generals, he spilled into the halls of my mind, sucking away every bit of motivation. Fae blood stains the walls of my mind.

Goblin soldiers ran to the control center in my brain, screaming for help. I listened, unable to react. The beast appeared, slaughtering them with a smile.

I struggled to move. Literally struggled.

If you’ve never had depression, you won’t understand. You can sit in a chair, wanting to move, but your body cannot respond. Your mind revolts as the beast of depression takes control.

Struggling for hours, I finally forced myself out of my chair, lumbering up the stairs to my office, and opening Scrivener with the hopes of writing.

Now, I’m slowly writing to fight the demon back. Writing gives my armies energy and strength, disbands lethargy, and returns my mind. Creating stories, both fiction and nonfiction, fuels my side of the fight.

Photo by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash

1. In 2020, Find Something to Create.

If you struggle with depression, find something to create in 2020. Whether it’s artwork, writing, podcasts, video, or goofy hats, create something.

Creative energy trains our brain to fight depression. It helps us relieve negativity. Most importantly, it gets us away from staring at the wall and playing with bread clips — like I did most of today.

In 2019, my armies have held depression in its cage. At one point, I went months without an episode. There’s a lot that happened the past few months, and it all eroded the monster’s cage.

It will be a constant fight. One I’ll fight my entire life. One I need to prepare for.

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

2. Set Goals, Not Resolutions.

To prepare, I’ll set goals for the New Year. Most people set resolutions. They resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, watch less TV, and other such things.

Resolutions are easily broken.

We say we want to do something, but statistically most of us will give up our resolutions before January ends.

Years ago, I learned to set goals, not resolutions.

Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based. They are SMART. Resolutions are specific, but they miss the other 4 points.

When you set a goal, make sure you can measure it. For me, that’s using time clock software to make sure I’m working, creating, and performing my creative tasks. It’s one form of measurement. Others include word count and completion of writing or art tasks.

Make your goal achievable. “Writing 25 books” is probably not achievable in 2020, but “writing 5 books” is.

Make your goal relevant to you. I like to write and create artwork, so I make sure my goals relate to my creative journey. My overall goal is to fight depression and stay healthy. All creative goals help me do this, so I’m staying relevant to myself.

Make your goals time based. Rather than giving yourself a generic goal like “write 5 books,” create a timeline and try to stick to it. I treat my timeline as milestones, not firm dates, that way I don’t feel bad if life interferes — because it will.

Either way, my goals always have a time frame.

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

3. Execute Your Goals

One of the greatest feelings of accomplishment and self-worth is to finish your projects. This is why your goals need to be achievable and time based.

By achieving your goals, you’ll fight depression, giving fuel to your army. Those achievements will stoke fires where ogres, goblins, centaurs, dragons, or whatever army exists in your soul, will forge weapons and supplies to beat the demon back into a holding cell.

Once you finish your goals, create more and keep going.

I’ll always fight my depression. I know this sad reality is part of my life, but without it I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Without that beast, I may not have found writing and art — the things I love.

If you want to beat depression, make goals part of your 2020 war strategy. Feed your army, fight back, and keep the beast in check.

Image by gabrielle_cc from Pixabay

Need Some Ideas? Here Are Some of Mine for 2020.

Overall, fight depression, keep my mental health in check, and help the world become a better place. All my goals need to feed my overall mission. They need to be relevant to this idea.

- Read 52 books at 1 per week.
- Write my next Fae Awakening story in January.
- Write my next nonfiction book in February.
- Work on building 1–2 new beneficial relationships on social media per week. Not just followers, engaged friends.
- Launch one video for my Patreon supporters every other week.
- Move into a new house with my partner by summer.
- Create at least 1 new artistic piece per week.
- Create another hand drawn alphabet before May.

These are just a few, but you’ll notice, aside from my overall theme, they are all SMART goals.

Good luck with your 2020 journey!

After writing this, I’m feeling better. I’ve been in the dumps all day, but this is a perfect example of how writing and completing a task pushes that villain back where he belongs.

Will writes the action-packed urban fantasy series The Fae Awakening. He writes about depression, anxiety, and the writing life. You can find him active with the writing community on Twitter and the artist community on Instagram. You can support his work on Patreon.

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We don't talk enough about mental health.

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Will O'Shire

Will O'Shire

Creating action-packed urban fantasy stories filled with magic, myth, and monsters in my pajama pants. I also write about depression, anxiety, and life.

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