Writing got me out of depression


I had been writing for six years. Ever since graduation, every job I’ve had involves a lot of writing, whether it was being a reporter, a teacher, a PR professional, an editor or a novelist. To me, writing 1,000-2,000 words a day is a piece of cake. However, I haven’t always enjoyed writing.

The tipping point came when I started writing Florid Eyes: A Novel. I have detailed the struggles and the enjoyment of my writing journey on this blog before. I was in a lot of external turmoils during the few months. There were instances where I doubted my life choices. I didn’t know what future holds; I didn’t have a permanent job; I didn’t know if I could get into a PhD program; I didn’t know which part of the world I would be in a year; I didn’t know if would ever prove myself more than an educated loser; I didn’t know if I would ever find true love; I didn’t know if my chain of disappointments and misfortune would ever come to an end.

The only thing I found comfort in, was to indulge in the world I created for my characters and to project all my beliefs, my hopes and dreams onto them. It helped me through more then I could ever imagine. It ignited my hopes in life and encouraged me to face my fears and confront my demons.

After I wrapped up the book, for a while I felt a bit lost because I no longer had that special project to channel my thoughts into. I have exhausted all my creativity to produce what I considered a masterpiece. I couldn’t start writing a sequel because I didn’t want to write a book without a clear message, without a set of philosophy that I want to advocate.

There was one thing for certain: I still enjoyed writing and putting my thoughts into words, even if no one was reading what I wrote.

I then began blogging about random stuff. Instead of doing fun, tongue-in-cheek pop culture critiques like how I did when I started this blog about 1.5 years ago, I just wrote whatever I felt like saying. I put my self-talk into words, mostly internal dialogs that aimed to motivate myself.

It has proven to be extremely therapeutic as well.  Writing about my pain and my struggles forces me to reorganize my thoughts and reexamine situations. It allows me to not only vent my anger but also take a step back to look at issues from a more objective perspective. It’s like being my own therapist because I could listen to myself talk and offer myself advice.

I actually didn’t notice the power of writing until I was thinking about how optimistic I’ve become lately. I used to drill on pain for an unnecessarily long period of time. When something bad happened, I would immediately think something was wrong with me. When I was faced with uncertainties, I would worry about the worst even before it struck.

I did all these under a smile. I don’t even know if it was a reflex or I was subconsciously trying to disguise my pain. Anyway, that made my internal struggles so much less detectable because people confused my smile with me being okay even though I was dying inside.

It was weird to transit from someone who was naturally inclined to be pessimistic to what I am now. At first, being constantly happy made me feel very insecure. It may sound illogical. My rational back then was, I was used to being let down. I was used to being rejected. I was used to the universe working against me. “Good fortune” seems unreliable.

I was afraid these wonderful things would end one day. I was afraid if I allowed myself to cling on to happiness, I would wake up the next day and be left with nothing but heartbreaks and ruined ego. I thought preparing for the worst, not believing in good things finally happening to me, could save myself from the inevitable hurt.

I can’t recall how I overcame this. It must have been a gradual change, a change that I haven’t noticed till now. Looking back to the several months after I’ve wrapped up my book, I have been as happy as I could possibly be, and that amazes me because things definitely wasn’t 100% awesome objectively speaking. I could highlight several incidents that could have pulled me back to that dark place easily, but I got over them fairly quickly.

I might have cried. I might have been angry. I might have been disappointed, but I bounced back.

Now, I genuinely am grateful for what I have. I make the best of my time. I only surround myself with company that I care about and positive people. I love what I do. I don’t try to please everyone. I speak my own mind. I appreciate little things in life. I don’t shop to compensate my emptiness in life because it’s pretty damn fulfilled.  If something bad happens, I get upset for a while and look forward to a better tomorrow. If there’s something I fear, I remind myself I’m stronger than that. If I feel like panicking about uncertainties, I tell myself to worry about it when it comes because premature worries don’t change the outcome.

These are all things that I wished I could do months ago. Now I can really put them into action.

I think this has everything to do with writing.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
This entry was posted in dating & relationship, dream, family, Florid Eyes: A Novel, friends, identity crisis, motivation, Phd, school, work, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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