Many thanks to my friend Jakelyin L. who shared this article from across the pond on Facebook. In a piece from The Guardian titled “Freelancing made my depression worse – here’s how I learnt to cope,” Thea de Gallier (@theadegallier) has my full sympathy as a freelancer of 117 years…er…17 years. (Sorry, it just feels like more than a century at this point.)
Fortunately, I don’t suffer from depression, but I cringed with genuine pain at how spot-on she was with the hardships of going it alone as a freelancer. Trust me, there’s nothing “free” about being a freelancer. It’s romantic in the same way wanting to become a novelist is just so darn dreamy. Or how swimming with a one-ton squid in the Pacific is so neat!
While people have always gawked at me (in wonder? in pity?) when I tell them I work from home as a freelancer – yep! no benefits, no insurance, no safety net! – if you’re going to make a go of this as a full-time gig, then I’d make sure you ask yourself one critical question: Are you self-disciplined enough to work, day or night, without someone physically threatening you in your presence?
And, apropos to the article, you’ve got to learn to be kind to yourself when your inclination will most likely be to push yourself harder and harder, if not because of looming deadlines then because by necessity you almost have to become a workaholic if you’re to have any financial success as a freelancer. Truly, it’s a jungle of hammerhead sharks out there.
Or as Ms. de Gallier writes more eloquently than yours truly:
Sticking to a routine and getting up early can be a mammoth task when depression is also a factor, as even the action of peeling back the duvet feels like over-exposure to a cruel and uncertain world. Freelancing can be cruel and uncertain, but I’ve decided I won’t let it beat me, and I realise now that the internet can be my ally in that goal, instead of my enemy.