Depression is an unfair and stupid thing, but I’ve never really minded suffering from it. I was never that social with friends or hobbies. I’ve never been into drinking or clubbing and though I sometimes struggle to leave the house to get groceries or ring something official if I need to get something done, I’ve managed it. My parents help out, and I’m usually able to go to work, where I’m more likely to be able to ring people. Work is also flexible enough for me to just go home if things get too much – so far, I haven’t breached my leave.
But then it started to effect my writing, three or four years ago. Maybe longer, I really have no concept of time. And in the last year or so, it’s effected my reading. And this is where it hurts. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m friends with authors (though I am with a few) I have a few others who are aware of me. This is a change brought on by social media, where authors give away books, see you squee (or snap) about them, see you update your status on sites such as Goodreads… And this is amazing until it comes to someone like me, with my little problem. I’ve been meaning to read certain books – the author usually sees this and comments – and then I just kind of drift – and I feel so guilty because I worry that their first thought is that I’m clearly not enjoying it if I can’t even be bothered to finish it.
Perhaps I’m paranoid, but some authors will go out of their way to interact with you. Until reading that book turns into months, and you get others done instead, and their warmth disappears. Maybe I’m seeing something that’s not there. Maybe they are human, and do notice these things, and are thinking ‘…so, my book not good enough for you, eh?’
My writing is my own issue. No one else gives a damn whether I write or not, but I think they do when they know I’ve started their book and failed to finish it. I wish it wasn’t so awkward to talk about. Yeah, you know I started your book, I’m enjoying it, and I’d enjoy it even more if I wasn’t in this headspace. I want to keep reading it, I do.
Just… authors – I know it’s hard when you put your work out there. Authors have to be strong and learn to take criticism – this is a known thing – but it’s still pretty hard, at least some days, to take it when someone doesn’t finish your book. Just please think that there could another reason they/I haven’t finished or read your book yet – and that’s nothing about you, or your book. It’s just that having depression makes it very, very hard to enjoy things.