Five Authors Who Have Suffered From Anxiety

Five Authors Who Have Suffered From Anxiety

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.


When it comes to writing, a mental health condition can help to push some authors to create, acting as an escape or outlet for them to express themselves. When faced with difficulties from conditions like anxiety or depression, writing can be a healthy coping mechanism to break down the boundaries and struggles that are accompanied by distressing thoughts, emotions, and reactions. In fact, there are many writers throughout history that have used their stories as a way to express themselves in times of distress. These five authors have written noteworthy works while living with the challenges and stigmas of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. 

1. Franz Kafka

Kafka is known for writing about the existential dread and challenges of life. He was known to stick to himself, classified as a loner because of his social anxiety and depression. With The Trial and Metamorphosis as his two most commonly referred to works, it can be easy to point out where his mind may have been during these periods. In trying to express anger and frustration with the system of life, he also frequently suffered from migraines, insomnia, and boils.  

2. Emily Dickinson

Dickinson is another author known for her seclusion and isolation. While she was never officially diagnosed with social anxiety and depression, historians and experts have examined her habits and her work to learn more about her mental state. There are many professionals who debate whether she had depression or bipolar disorder. She communicated with publications, peers, and even her friends and family primarily through letters, keeping to herself and hardly leaving her home even when discussing her writing.

3. Veronica Roth

Roth is best known as the creator of the Divergent trilogy and collection, and she recently opened up about how her success increased her anxiety. After the release of Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent trilogy, readers took to Twitter to express their distaste for the ending of the series. Afterward, Roth expressed her difficulty coping with anxiety and depression, taking antidepressants, and struggling to finish her work. “Most of the time I had to take a nap the second I finished my shower, because the anxiety was so exhausting,” she wrote in a Tumblr post addressed to fans struggling with similar conditions. 

4. Lee Murray

Murray writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction while also working and living with anxiety and depression. Although she comes off to others as expressive and happy, she explains that these conditions have always haunted her, lying in wait to cause problems. In an effort to be more honest and expressive, she talks with other authors and peers about their challenges with anxiety and mental health conditions that affect their work. She discusses with other New Zealand authors how these conditions and writing have been helpful to their creativity and success, citing that while writing has become a coping mechanism, their mental health conditions have also helped them to strengthen creativity and express themselves.

5. John Green

Finally, Green is a successful Young Adult writer known for books like The Fault In Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. However, it was his book Turtles All the Way Down that expressed the darkness and deep crevices of his mental health conditions, anxiety and OCD. Green said he wanted to use his writing as a way to open up about his conditions, saying “I think it’s important for people to hear from adults who have good fulfilling lives and manage chronic mental illness as part of those good fulfilling lives.” He continues to use his platform and writing as a way to talk about difficult situations and emotions candidly, challenging stigmas and negative stereotypes.


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