Can illness inspire us?


A few weeks ago as some of you may recall me mentioning on my blog, I had a nasty stomach bug which put me out of action for a week. I did not feel good to say the least!

Today I’m suffering from something else – not a stomach bug thankfully, but some kind of virus which is making me constantly feel like I’ve just woken up, as well as achy and zapping my energy. Not great. I stayed home from my exercise class today which is physically demanding. I might have managed it – just – but I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of making myself feel even worse.

It gets me thinking though of how illness can inspire us. I don’t mean common colds or even nasty bugs. But many people who have been ill have written books about their experiences. Often they’re books about breakdowns or the authors’ experience of some kind of illness which has affected them a great deal. The books may not be autobiographies but they’re often semi-autobiographical and are reactions to the authors’ experiences.

Well known authors who’ve experienced some form of mental illness include J. K. Rowling, Jeannette Winterson, Marian Keyes, Patricia Cornwell, Stephen Fry, Paulo Coelho and there are many more. Many of these writers ┬áhave spoken about their experiences publicly and the affect it’s had on their work.

I myself have experienced 3 severe breakdowns since the age of 15. I’ve written about my experiences in an earlier blog post which you can read here. When you’ve experienced something like that you’re never the same again. But it can have a positive effect on your writing. I’ve got an unfinished story tucked away on my laptop which is about a young girl who has a breakdown. I intend to finish it one day.

Have you had some sort of illness, physical or mental, which you feel has influenced your writing?