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Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite writers, nay people. I don’t agree with everything he espouses, I don’t think anyone can agree with everything anyone espouses, but we’re on the same wavelength more often than not.
He is a writer’s writer. When he finds something that works, he doesn’t hoard or hide it; he shares it with the masses and he believes you can be a good writer too.
In this blog post, he shares the three books that have made him a better writer. I have read Stephen King’s On Writing, and have highly recommended it. I now have the two other books on my to-read list because Wil’s advice is usually spot on.
And while you’re taking his writing advice, read his work as well!
Wil Wheaton is an actor, best known for his roles in Stand by Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation. His motto is: Don’t be a dick, and he tries to live his life with that philosophy at the forefront. It is a simple philosophy; one I equate to the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
He and his wife live in California with their two dogs, Marlowe and Seamus, and a cat, Watson. They are both (all) very committed to animals and their welfare, and lend a lot of support, both in time and financial charity to the Pasadena Humane Society and SCPA.
He homebrews and is a huge fan of the LA Kings, through good times and bad.
Wil Wheaton is a writer and has been influential to me in seeing alternative avenues of publishing, the importance of using social media to your advantage, and inspirational to keep going forward and to never stop writing.
He also has chronic depression and generalized anxiety, something that I can understand, having similar, if not the same diagnoses. I can only imagine how much harder it is when you’re a celebrity and all eyes are on you when you’re out in public. He is one of the voices speaking out against the stigma of mental illness and supports NAMI among other groups who help.
Visit his official website: Wil Wheaton
June is also PTSD Awareness Month. Mission 22 is an organization that helps veterans through their mental health issues.
Below the cut, a message from actress, Rose McGowan in addition to a list of international suicide prevention hotlines compiled by her.
[Warning: Mentions of suicide and depression.]
I’ve been struggling to write this for several days now, and it’s kept me from my regular postings that I’d planned for last week. The truth is this topic has been on my mind ever since I was shocked by a text from my sister telling me about Robin Williams’ death. His was one of the no, you can’t be serious exclamations and that despite my MSNBC hiatus at the time, I immediately turned on cable news to find out the latest.
I wouldn’t say that I was a true fan of Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain, although I knew at some point I’d introduce them to my children. My daughter loves designing her own outfits, has made pocketbooks out of t-shirts, and has her own wonderful style. My son, while not keen on cooking as a chore, he does love to try new foods, and made a chicken stir-fry with ramen as well as helping his sister with her vision of chicken alfredo.
For myself, I didn’t pay close attention to their careers, even though Anthony Bourdain gave me the knowledge to avoid restaurants on a Monday night, and when not to order certain foods. That stood out in my mind, no time more so than when I was eating out on a Monday night, whispering to my husband, we really shouldn’t be here today. It was less admonishment, and more asserting my knowledge as Jeopardy contestant.
As someone with clinical depression who continues to take medication and see a therapist, I am always struck with the equivalent of an emotional lightning bolt when someone loses their battle with depression. There but for the grace of G-d, and all that.
The first thing that people who have no understanding of depression say is Kate and Anthony have children. How could they do that to their children? Why didn’t they think of their children? When I was deep in suicidal thoughts, I thought deeply of my children. I thought about what they could do with my life insurance money. I thought that they’d be happier without my mood swings and lethargy. Even today, I try to make up for the moments lost with my daughter as a very young child because of the interference of the depression. At the time, the only thing that kept me here was the thought that they wouldn’t have the money to replace the one car we had.
But it was still a struggle.
For anyone who reads me here, I liken my depression to a recovery process. Kind of like twelve steps, but twelve steps in different orders, and directions, and each series of twelve steps is interrupted by other steps that no one tells you about until you trip over them, and then one day you wake up, and get to start again, but you don’t realize it until you’ve already completed two steps that didn’t need to be completed or that needed to wait until after this new step, oh, and by the way, have I showered today?
There were dozens of news reports and articles detailing what not to say to someone with depression as well as an equal number of what to say to someone with depression. Be ready when they reach out. Reach out if they don’t. Don’t be too pushy, but don’t be too complacent. Don’t talk about how their death will affect you, but tell them how much they mean to you. Don’t tell them to feel better, don’t give them advice, don’t ask what you can do to help, but do all of these things. You’ll know what to do.
Well, guess what?
You won’t know what to do.
I live with depression, and I don’t know what to do for others.
Like many of you, I posted the Suicide Prevention Hotline number and a variety of websites and chat lines, and I hope that whoever needs them will use them. As pollyannaish as those memes and graphics saying how much you are loved, and if you’re looking for a sign not to kill yourself, this is it, sound, they actually worked for me in that moment when I saw them. They were a sign, that I needed, and heeded, and appreciated. So I continue to post them as well.
It’s easy to think if this celebrity or that celebrity that has seemingly everything going their way can’t handle it, how can I? Well, you can because your low moments are different from theirs. They may have looked at you and thought what a great life that person has. Perspective is something that we all need, but we all see different things from our side of the fence.
I have my religion and my writing. I have my mantra – it will be okay. I have Julian of Norwich and Mary Magdalene, LIn-Manuel Miranda, Misha Collins, and others that reach out in their own public ways and isnpire me, mostly to simply take a deep breath, and then take another, and try again. Take one step and then another.
You have yours.
Share them here in the comments. You never know when someone is looking for another coping tool, and yours may be the one they need.
Before I go, I will leave you with something that writer/actor Wil Wheaton says about depression: Depression lies. Whatever it’s telling you is a lie. Don’t listen.
So, come into the light, just for a moment, and see things differently. Talk to a friend. Talk to a chat line. Talk to a professional. They are here to help.
I’m here to help as well.
In the last of my mental health series (for now), I am sharing with you resources that have been recommended to me. If you have others to share, please do so in the comments and I can add them to my crisis intervention page as well as including them in furture resource posts.
Suicide Prevention HelpLine: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
IMAlive (an online crisis network)
The Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
TWLOHA: To Write Love on Her Arms
NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1. Text to 838255. There is also a confidential chat line on the website.
Wil Wheaton is also a strong advocate of getting help and talking about it. His openness helped me in mine.
As a writer, I am drawn to other writers and their processes. It is one of the main reasons that I follow pepole like Connie Schultz, Wil Wheaton, Neil Gaiman, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Another writer who I follow and get inspiration from was also recently the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
I’ve titled this based on Entertainment Weekly’s article with a comprehensive list of Mr. Obama’s book recommendations.
Last week, he spoke to the New York Times about how reading and writing was his secret to surviving those White House years.
Beginning today, and for at least the next eight weeks, I will share one his book recommendations. I will also share if I’ve read it or if I plan to read it.
It was recently revealed that President Obama gave his oldest daughter, eighteen-year-old Malia a Kindle filled with books. I actually did this for my mother-in-law a couple of Christmases ago. It’s a wonderful gift for any avid reader. One of the books he put on it for her is The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.
That is my first book suggesetion to you.
I have not read this book, but with my introduction about writers, and this book being about a writer and writing, I thought it a perfect initial choice. I have already added it to my reading list for when I get my next Amazon gift card.