Monday, October 30, 2006

Mention Depression?

Hey Tom,
I'm working on my personal statement now and I'm wondering if I should mention a pretty bad bout of depression I had a few years back. I'm much better now, but I think it pushed my writing in a new direction and its a theme in a major piece I'm starting work on.
Anyway, I'm wondering if it could hurt me more than help me to add that bit of information.
Thanks for everything!
Crazy in St. Elsewhere

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I would strongly urge you not to mention the depression in your personal statement. It's okay if you communicate that this area is something that you're exploring in your prose or poetry, but I'd leave out the information regarding you out of there.

Why? I think it's obvious: We all hope that depression is no longer stigmatized in our society, but the truth is that it is by some people. You've be risking a lot, with not a lot of potential reward. Keep the talk about this subject related to your writing.

Rock on. Thanks for the great question.

5 comments:

UrnMalley said...

I wondered about this, especially if say, you stareted writing as therapy and then it got published or something like that. But then, I know some school of thought is writing isn't for therapy, it's for (fill in the blank). I've been treading that with my personal statement when it comes to the 'why do you write.'

So no mention of any deviant background? Should we all pretend we're from healthy happy homes with no issues whatsoever that propel us to the craft?

Kristin said...

I also wondered about this - writing was a big part of recovery form my mental disorder, and a fairly large proportion of my work shows it clearly. Also, my mental disorder came about largely as a result of an experience that shaped and drastically altered my life (my father's sudden death when I was 13). I read somewhere that it would be okay to mention that I have experience dealing with individuals with mental illness and just not mention that the individual is me - does anyone have an opinion on this?

lisablog said...

I think not mentioning something that has profoundly affected/influenced your life because you are worried about "stigma" is ridiculous. There is a huge body of work of memoir and auto-biographical fiction on subjects dealing with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, addiction and general craziness! If it helps drive while you write, say it.

lisablog said...

I think not mentioning something that has profoundly affected/influenced your life because you are worried about "stigma" is ridiculous. There is a huge body of work of memoir and auto-biographical fiction on subjects dealing with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, addiction and general craziness! If it helps drive while you write, say it.

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