Reply To: Writing Depression

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Brian Stansell


Hi Tanya,

I’m Brian.  I do have some characters going through some very tough mental and emotional challenges too.

Do you feel you can write a MC if they’re in severe depression and not have them in bed sleeping for chapters?

Boy, that’s a tough one!  I think if you make the psychology of the main character authentic, and give us a sense of the internal struggle she is facing, it could be interesting, but you need to keep her struggling against the nihilism and the thoughts that lead her back under the weight of the depression.

I think of the Apostle Paul’s personal struggle where he writes:
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but [how] to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will [to do], I do not do; but the evil I will not [to do], that I practice. Now if I do what I will not [to do], it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [Romans 7:18-24 NKJV]

In this passage, he is very near despair, but there is that internal struggle that pulls him back to seeking deliverance, not by his own self-effort, but the one who ransomed Him.  Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.  A great scholar and enthusiastically persecuted and hunted down the Christ sect, for the crimes of spreading blasphemy.  As a murderer of Christians, he had much to account for, after his Damascus road conversion.  His guilt tore at him, but also magnified the great measure of mercy he had been given to be called to be an Apostle of Christ.  In his life as a Pharisee, he dutifully followed all the law thinking that alone gave him favor with God, but when all of that was proven to be false, he was devastated.  His whole life lost its old purposes, and he had to be given a new purpose and a new mission, which he carried out, not with the zeal of being the enforcer as before, but with the humility of being a servant of the One who gave him undeserved grace.  He acknowledges that the old nature, still tries to rise in him, but his present walk is learning how to submit to the new nature.

This type of psychological struggle in your MC could be interesting if explored authentically.

The prophet Elijah also struggled with depression.  Research him and see what you can mine there.

God Bless!

Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.

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