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Depression & Creativity


Licorice

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I've seen quite a few people over the years say that depression, low moods, and struggles fuel their creative pursuits such as art and writing. It's almost like a muse, or it provides them with the strong emotions needed to write something meaningful. Stephen King has even used writing as an escape while lying in bed injured and miserable. Does this hold true for you?

I find the creative juices flow best when I'm in a good mood and am motivated. It's too easy otherwise to just turn on a movie or post on forums.

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Licorice, I find myself agreeing with you again!!

Art used to be how I make my living. Now, I sit here having to draw up a postcard for a family member as a thank you gesture, and am dreading the task. My creativity has been gone for a long time now, and I feel like every time I put a pencil to paper, I'm just retracing old, moldy patterns and habits I feel I should have grown past long ago. It's beyond being my own worst critic. I've pretty much damned myself to failure and inability to ever grow or draw anything that would appeal to me ever again. I struggle with my loss of ability every day, because it eats at me and makes me feel ashamed that the talent that once used to define the best part of me is destroyed. With my art, my identity got lost, too, and it's been very hard to redefine myself as anything other than a failure, a coward and ultimately a loser.

I must be in a happy mood and upbeat to be able to create at all, and these days, since any burst of energy is few and far between, I use it to do something physical, to keep myself in shape. Or to study, since that's something that'll actually have an important effect on my life, and I need to do it.

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Depression has destroyed my creativity, which makes me more depressed! I live for the arts and creativity but no longer have the motivation or confidence to accomplish anything. I yearn to be creative but I am just stuck with no motivation, no inspiration, and anything I try I end up hating. Which diminishes things more.

Edited by roseyssassafras
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I wrote a lot of sappy poetry when I was really depressed, nothing I'm proud of but I was definitely more creative then than I am now. At my lowest I could really connect with certain music, almost like getting high off of it.

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I put this idea out there a few years ago when I first got here, but would anyone feel comforted if what creative people we had here shared our work with each other in an effort to encourage us to continue being creative? Maybe brainstormed some ideas we've had in the back of our minds, but didn't have the energy or moral support to follow through on or even get started with?

Just a thought. Small steps, nothing overwhelming. :)

I haven't checked, but is there an area on this forum where people can share their artwork at all?

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In my case, whenever I get depressed, the one thing that helps me the most is writing, I have done it since I was very young and now that I am an adult, whenever I feel really down, I write down my problems and that somehow helps. I wrote lots of poems when I was down, nothing out of the ordinary, but I don´t feel the need to write them when I am happy, as a matter of fact it´s very difficult for me to write when I am happy.

Hotaru, roseyssassafras, I can relate to what you say because I used to draw a lot, and I was not that bad either, and now whenever I try to draw i feel so frustrated that I just avoid it. But my sister told me that I should draw at least 5-10 minutes a day, keep a notebook close until I am confident again. I haven´t done it, but she does it all the time.

My wife also tells me one thing, that has been hard to hear, but it makes sense now, and it is that I can´t be living out of former "glories" and I have to accept who am I now, and if I want to be the way I used to be, is not who I am now, but who I will be.

Hope it makes sense reading this.

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Lauryn, thanks for the info about the "One Step at a Time" area! I'll check it out!

I'm having a bit of a fuzzy brained morning, so I might not be able to get a coherent thought together for a little while here, but I'm definitely interested in this!

I hope all of you others who have posted in this comment might be interested, too! :)

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I put this idea out there a few years ago when I first got here, but would anyone feel comforted if what creative people we had here shared our work with each other in an effort to encourage us to continue being creative? Maybe brainstormed some ideas we've had in the back of our minds, but didn't have the energy or moral support to follow through on or even get started with?

Just a thought. Small steps, nothing overwhelming. :)

I haven't checked, but is there an area on this forum where people can share their artwork at all?

I think a brainstorming thread would be great, but I have very little time to give real attention to fiction. There's even a pile of unread books on my shelf...

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Since I became ill I have written one full-length novel and I am 1/2 way through a second.

Before my current (long) episode of depression, I wrote short poetry from time to time.

So I would say that I am much more creative now. It is sometimes a terrible battle to write even 200 words. On a rare good day, I can do 1200.

But, unlike Hotaru and others here, writing (or drawing, or whatever) is not what the "old" Jono used to do. It is something that the "new" one does. So for me it is easier, as I am not trying to be something that I used to be.

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Since I became ill I have written one full-length novel and I am 1/2 way through a second.

Before my current (long) episode of depression, I wrote short poetry from time to time.

So I would say that I am much more creative now. It is sometimes a terrible battle to write even 200 words. On a rare good day, I can do 1200.

But, unlike Hotaru and others here, writing (or drawing, or whatever) is not what the "old" Jono used to do. It is something that the "new" one does. So for me it is easier, as I am not trying to be something that I used to be.

I just wanted to say congratulations on finishing your novel and still having enough juice left for a second. I'm halfway through mine and it's been a struggle.

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Gah, still trying to make the time to figure out how to start a thread, and then ask how we can make it sticky in the One Step At A Time section! I haven't had a chance to sit down and do it, but if anyone else knows how to, by all means go ahead, and I'll join you there! Just please post here that you made it, and give directions so dummies like me can figure out where to find it! ;)

I'm looking forward to reading and seeing everyone's creative process, whether it ends up with a finished piece or just a depiction of the journey - it all counts!

I'm worried that folks might be scared away by the idea of the thread being about perfect, flawless, finished pieces (I know I would be, and have been before in other places!) - but I hope that it'll be ok to encourage everyone to just show your process, even if you don't end up finishing it! Baby steps - we're all trying our best to make it through depression, and even as little energy as we can muster to type a few words or put a pencil/pen/brush to paper is a major step! No judgement - only support and encouragement, helping each other to expand and become able to express ourselves in a way that'll be satisfying, soothing and maybe even healing in some way! :)

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I wrote a lot of sappy poetry when I was really depressed, nothing I'm proud of but I was definitely more creative then than I am now. At my lowest I could really connect with certain music, almost like getting high off of it.

I am another person who feels music and gets a "high" from it. I thought it was just me being weird. Certain songs hit nerves in me for lack of better analogy. Like Breaking Benjamins song Agony. I cant describe what that song does to me.

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I hope nobody minds if I bump this, in case anyone missed it!

A thread has been set up right here: http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/95427-sharing-our-creative-projects/

for anyone who might like to share their artwork, or talk about their creative process and/or how they might be struggling with it. Since depression can drain us of all creativity and imagination, I think it's important to note that it's ok to be a part of this thread even if you're not currently actively creating, but are interested in talking about it! Don't worry if you don't feel you have anything to offer as far as posting artwork. Perhaps if we all support each other, we can coax the seed of inspiration out in one another, and restart our creativity again. No pressure, though! Even if you just want to go in and lurk or post a comment now and again - please feel welcome! Writing, music, art - anything goes! :)

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It's not that depression fuels creativity, but as BB King once said, "You play the blues to make them go away."

I actually suffer both ways. When I'm content I do nothing. Period. But at the same time, when I'm absolutely rock bottom depressed, I'm just a bag of meat on the floor. I can't see the point in doing anything. It's only when mid-level sadness hits that I can muster enough energy to try and get away from it.

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I consider myself an writer and artist and when I am depressed all I can think about is how much my life sucks, much less about creating something for the world to enjoy. I haven't done any art or writing in months. When I do it, it DOES make me feel great to accomplish something creative. But when I'm down, it's like exercise, like pulling teeth to get me motivated to do anything besides lie in bed or watch tv.

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I work in a creative field (music/web) and depression does not help at all. I can see mild depression being fuel but when it is moderate or severe, it just drains all the motivation out of me to even start up the computer and start writing music.

I have a friend who deals with similar issues and he is an accomplish composer and he says when depression hits, it makes his motivation leave and does not help him a bit.

We were recently talking about how to channel our depression to do good stuff, but that is easier said than done, especially when you gets constant intrusive and negative thoughts.

Edited by newuser
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NewU, isn't it a horrible feeling?? I feel so bad for all of us who have to suffer through our creativity being buried under the depression, but at the same time, am relieved that I'm not the only one who has the same thing happen! For so long, I had just chalked it up as my just being lazy, and I hated myself for it! I'd hear my voice in my head saying, "Why don't you get up off your butt, sit at your drawing table and DO SOMETHING? You're sitting around like a loaf, while the competition is filling up sketchbook after sketchbook and getting way ahead of you! WHY are you so lazy???" Horrible.... :(

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I guess for me it depends.When I`m so depressed that doing anything takes a huge effort my creativity also suffers.Sometimes though writing about how I feel helps.With my artwork I think my depression/mental illness does influence what I paint or draw.

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absolutely, I currently attend a group with other people that are struggling with different issues and there's different things you can do there such as sport, art, games etc. I used to love art and I've just rediscovered my love for it, the depression gives me something to put on paper.. then depresses me even more because I want to find creativity and inspiration in the good things life holds..

it's hard to keep it up though because 99.9% of the time I'm in bed unmotivated x

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