Broken authors = broken books

That moment when all the cliches you thought were bogus about being a writer turn out to be true…

More than 100 authors are now part of the #HoldOnToTheLight conversation! Our authors span the globe, from the US to the UK to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Even more exciting is that as the campaign picks up traction and visibility, more authors want to join, meaning a growing, vibrant dialog about mental wellness and coping with mental illness.

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

We’ve also been talking with conventions to encourage them to add, expand or promote their panel programming about mental wellness issues. ConCarolinas, GenCon, Capricon and ContraFlow have let us know that panels are in the works for 2017, and both Capclave and Atomacon are looking at options!

There’s an entire section of where authors (some of them very big names in the publishing industry) write about their experiences with depression and mental illness. And here I thought Vox Day might have been exaggerating in ‘SJWs Always Lie’ when he claimed SJWs tend to brag and fetishize the fact that they’re taking various anti-depressants or mood stabilizers.

I used to hate the cliche of drunk and depressed author who’s waiting for his muse to magically appear. But it occurred to me that it might actually be true when I was observing various Twitter accounts of authors who routinely talk about their medication. They would say things like, “today I had to reach for the pills.”

After spending years around various friends who do take mood stabilizers or anti-depressants, I can safely say that the majority of them don’t help. They make it worse. And even worse yet, our culture these days makes them appeal to people. Like being depressed makes you special, elite, and a part of a special club where everyone can relate because things are so gosh darn tough. Or maybe generation snowflake needs to flush the damn pills down the toilet and learn how to process their emotions properly.

I wasn’t born tough. It was drilled into me. I’ve already lost all my grandparents on both sides. I came dangerously close to losing a loved one with a terminal illness over Thanksgiving and New Years. I was a scrawny, freckle faced, crooked bangs styled geek with braces in desperate need of a flat iron throughout junior high and some of high school, for which I was routinely bullied. I got into a fist fight in the first grade (which I won). I trained as a martial artist for five years. I saw a friend of the family get sentenced to 25+ years in prison for a horrible crime. I’ve broken ten bones. I moved overseas to a foreign country by myself for a year. And I started two businesses by myself with no help and hardly any money to keep me going while I lived off ramen noodles in a house where I paid nearly $1,000 a month for one room and a shared kitchen and bathroom.

I realize some people suffer from genuine depression, but I fully believe the number is somewhere around 80/20. 80% are full of shit and need to toughen the fuck up. And 20% have genuine depression that might benefit from medication.

One only needs to observe the fact that the drug industry always has some new shiny pill and that depression in rampant in first world countries more so than third world to know that depression is a business. It makes money. Don’t let it make money off of you.

Before YallFest, I read so many authors and readers of science-fiction and fantasy on Twitter going on and on about how they were going to need hugs when they saw each other immediately after God Emperor’s victory in the election. Further proof that dealing with real world problems isn’t a strong suit of millennials and generation z.

On the brighter side, this might explain why so many big time authors take a coon’s age to get a new book out. In 2015, I wrote and self-published over 450k words. Maybe it was the lack of fogginess from never being tempted by a pill bottle to make my problems go away.


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