#IWSG: Creativity and Depression

About a year ago, I talked about depression. It was a difficult and necessary post. As such, I thought it important to discuss again. No one has the exact same experience as anyone else, but the act of expressing your own problems can help others with similar problems in some way shape and form.

A year ago, I was in bad shape. My depression was spiraling and I was at a point where I could either give up—easy to do with depression—or get meds. I hadn’t done a lot of creating in 2014, especially toward the end of the year. I’d had such a difficult couple of years before that, facing many episodes of depression without medication or with the wrong medication all while dealing with very personal issues. Doctors were the last thing on my mind for a very long time. But I knew what would happen if I continued down that road. I’ve attempted suicide in the past. I spent a week in the hospital, past the 72 hour hold, because they didn’t want me to leave until I was in a better place emotionally. I didn’t want to get to a point where I considered it again. Especially since my father-in-law committed suicide just a couple of years after my attempt.

Depression and suicide are difficult to talk about. I had to walk away for a bit because of just mentioning my father-in-law’s suicide. I didn’t want to have to make my family suffer through another attempt by me after that, which is where I was headed if I didn’t get to the doctor.

Eventually, I did go to the doctor. I thought the depression was causing the crap loads of pain I was in, so the doc gave me some medicine to try. It worked on my depression, but the pain was still there. Turns out I have fibromyalgia. Pain and depression are circular. You have pain which causes depression which causes more pain and so on and the cycle continues. I have both under control now. I’ve continued taking my medicine for both the depression and fibro and the difference is astounding from this time last year.

One of the many ways I realized I was in such a downward spiral was because of my inability to write. No, I take that back. I had the ability to write, I might even have written amazing words, but it didn’t matter. I thought they were terrible and I thought I was terrible so I deleted. I wrote a word, I deleted it. I wrote a sentence, I deleted it. I couldn’t get past the first sentence of any WIP I tried to start.

There’s this general idea out there that suffering makes better art, but that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. Yes, depression can give you a better understanding of your personal feelings and how you (and others) react to things. But creating while depressed is difficult. And remaining depressed can lead to extremely self-destructive behavior, not just suicide.

I read an article a few months back that I cannot find anywhere. I wanted to cite it as a source, bring out a few quotes, and discuss what it means, but no matter the search, it eludes me. There was even a discussion on r/YAwriters about it and I can’t find that either. That irks me. But the discussion that came from the article (and the subject of the article itself) centered around the inability to think… No, more like the inability to access the entirety of your vocabulary and other resources stored in your brain. You’re blocked. One person (again, I don’t know who because I can’t find the thread or the article) even talked about how depression has an effect on how they are able to play word games on the phone. When not depressed, the game scores are much higher than when they are depressed.

But the point of all of this is to keep in mind your creativity. It can be a good indicator of depression. And if you are depressed, please seek help! You don’t have to suffer. There are people out there who want to help you in whatever way you need. Here’s a list of numbers:

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