On her blog the Rejectionist, Sarah McCarry is publishing an excellent series of interviews called Working, where she talks to writers about how they live with their depression and the ways they manage to work with/through/around their illness. It’s about “finding a balance between the work we have to do, the work we want to do, and taking care of ourselves,” which of course is applicable to all kinds of work and all kinds of people.
The interviews touch on things like therapy, medication, support systems, and daily routines with thoughtfulness and insight. This is s.e. smith:
For me, I budget energy and time to paid work first, since obviously I need money to survive, but also because I take a pride in always turning work in polished and on time–I have yet to miss a deadline, and I want to keep it that way. I want a reputation for being reliable and easygoing, because that gets me more work, but it’s also just a personal thing–missteps, for me, tend to lead to falls. (I also confess that a part of me wants to make a point about mental illness and employment–that along with other disabled people, we are perfectly capable of working and being good at what we do.) And sometimes work ends up eating everything, and thus I barely have any time to write for love…
Unfortunately, I’m still not very good at integrating self-care into this whole process. If getting work done means staying on the computer later than I’m supposed to, or forgetting lunch and then wondering why I am dizzy and nauseated, I will–and I need to come up with a more functional way to address that. Much like larger questions of managing mental illness, there is no magic solution, and everyone’s best approach varies. Clearly, I need to look harder for mine.