I recently heard a startling statistic …The rate of American’s suffering from Depression* is approximately 22% (for paranormal romance writers, the number skyrockets to close to 80%). The numbers are staggering. That means in an average person’s life one out of five of the people they know are living with chronic depression (unless they are a paranormal romance writer. And in this case the Prozac is popped like breath mints).
*If you believe you, or someone you love, is affected by this debilitating illness, I urge you to please seek help.
What can we as people/paranormal romance writers do to lessen the effects of depression or lower the risk of becoming a statistic? There are many answers, but I would like to present to you the idea of creating a strong support system. What is a true support system? It isn’t your co-workers or saying ‘hello’ to the baristas. A true support system is a group of individuals you know you can depend on when you are in crisis (and vice versa). These are people you can sit with for hours and never want to stuff your fingers in your ears… aka people you truly care about.
Having a strong support system is one of the most important things in a person’s life (and as a paranormal romance writer it is an absolute must). But to have a support system it means one thing—you must put yourself out there, you must make an effort to be involved in your friends and families lives and they, in return, will become involved in yours.
Now I am not suggesting you call your friend every day and get a full rundown of events (unless you and your friend have the desire especially if its about paranormal romance events), but calling or texting your friend to let them know you are thinking about them should be done regularly. When you are invited to a function (I know it’s a pain) but it is important not only for your friends personal well-being, but your own as well to attend.
It is important to interact and socialize. Humans are social creatures. If we restrict our social outlets by ostracizing ourselves, we slowly become more withdrawn, eventually pulling away almost completely from society—increasing the probabilities of becoming depressed or for suffering from worsening symptoms.
Become your own best friend and advocate. When you are feeling down, call a friend. If you feel as if you don’t have a friend or support group, go out and meet someone new (here is where it is okay to use the internet if you like—but be safe). Make an effort to connect. If you are unsuccessful the first time, try again. Building a support system doesn’t happen overnight, but unless you make yourself accessible you are destroying your ability to create a network.
Become proactive in your life. Exercise with friends and family. Become involved in social groups (and not just on the internet, or with groups only involved in paranormal romance). If you like to hike, find a store that specializes in gear and ask if they know of a group that is looking for new members. If you are a paranormal romance writer, become involved in a critique or reading group.
Put yourself out there and face your fears.
You will become Empowered.
***To my readers and other paranormal romance readers/writers, I want to thank you for supporting my blog. I appreciate your kind words and comments. If there is anything you would like to add (about this blog or any others) please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly. I love feedback. Please know you are always welcome here.