It’s sneaky, underhanded, insidious… and there’s a good chance that you know someone who suffers from it. You may even grapple with it yourself.

I’m talking about depression.

It’s something that has plagued me my whole life. It doesn’t matter that I have so much to be grateful for, it doesn’t matter that my life is good or that I have an amazing husband. Depression sucks the joy out of anything.

Depression just sucks. Period.

I’m getting ready to board a plane to North Carolina right now so I can help WDAV with their spring fundraiser- as I do every March. Two years ago when I took this same trip I was surrounded by friends, staying at a beautiful inn and I even got to spend some time with my sister and her twins. But something was terribly wrong. I was restless and out of sorts. When I called my therapist, he suggested I grab my laptop and get out of my room. I ended up in a coffee shop, writing the first scenes of what would become my first novel.

There, immersed in a different world, I could control my own emotions by controlling those of my characters. It was a little at first, a snippet of a conversation, the opening of a scene. But it felt good and I kept going. By the time I returned home a week later, I had a rough outline of the whole book and I was feeling so much better.

After that, writing became a regular diversion for me. I skipped my favorite TV shows so that I could sit up and write until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. I’d wake up excited by a new idea that had come to me in a dream. I became a regular at a local coffee shop, spending hours on end adding scenes to my story.

What I didn’t realize was that with every chapter I typed, a little more of my joy returned to me. Suddenly, I was tackling issues I’d done my best to avoid- like the grief of losing my mother and the fear of having a cancer diagnosis. As I found my voice on paper, I found it in real life.

I’m not saying that writing is the answer for everyone with depression but, for me, it has been a lifesaver. I’m not saying that depression doesn’t rear its ugly head now and then but, for me, it’s been two years, three books and whole lot more happy.

Do you have something that puts you in a better state of mind? Painting? Reading? Basket weaving? I’d love to hear about it. Hell, I might even try it for myself!