The Creative Low – Being creative leads to depression

DepressionIt took me many years to discover my “creative low” – that’s when I engage in tasks that take such a creative toll on me that I end up depressed for no apparent reason. I’m not sure if this is something that affects all or most humans engaging in the creative process, but I know for certain that it’s something that hits me hard sometimes.

I used to get depressed and not know why it was happening. I seemingly had everything I needed to be happy, yet I felt horrible. Then I started to keep track of when these “low” moments would afflict me. I began noticing a trend – anytime I engage in a new deeply creative project I found myself thrilled and excited, then suddenly one morning I would not be able to get out of bed because of how bad I felt.

The feeling of depression wasn’t just about my work or the project, but it encompassed everything in my life. Nothing seemed to be working out and the sun just wasn’t shining anymore. Once I saw that this pattern of depression was linked to my creative endeavors, I began looking for a solution.

I tried many things to combat this creative depression syndrome, but what I have found so far that works for me are the following: Changed routine, changed diet, changed physical activity. A combination of those things seem to do the trick.

The first one is the easiest – to change my routine don’t take much work. Sometimes I will start by changing my desk. I put it in another part of the room, or I will change my chair, or as simple as starting by changing the desktop background. Whatever it takes to keep everything seeming new and fresh.

The real problem is when I don’t even have the motivation to get up and get to my work area. That’s when I know I hit a big low. What has worked for me in this situation is changing my diet immediately. I’m no diet expert, but I know that carbs make me feel better instantly. Maybe they’re not good for you, but depression is not good either. I just do whatever it takes to get me through that slump. So I will eat anything my heart desires, and I make sure I don’t feel guilty about it because I see it as part of my medicine. I also start taking multi-vitamins and a lot of vitamin B. Those supplements work, but I noticed they take at least a week of taking them everyday for you to see any effects.

The third thing I do is change my physicality. I start going out for walks, go to the gym (even if I don’t really work out hard). I just start being more physical. This is the most difficult part because it involves actual movement, and if you’ve ever been depressed like me, the last thing you want to do is anything. But once you break that slump and get the motivation to get up and get physical it works wonders. Sometimes it’s as easy as doing a few situps or push ups, or just jumping up and down a few times or walking around the block.

Beyond those main three things I do a few others that seem to help me out. One is that I hit the energy drinks. I know, I know, I know… sugar, blah, blah, blah. But hey, it works for me. They’re loaded with Vitamin B and other chemicals that seem to put me in balance. Also, I’m not a big smoker, but I will buy a cigar when I’m depressed and sit in the sun and just puff away and think about life. Is it healthy? I don’t care! It works for me. I think the combination of sunshine (vitamin D) and the smoke-filled lungs gasping for air sends my body into a shock back into the real world.

Finally, I SLEEP! I sleep until my heart is content, then I sleep some more. I used to feel guilty about sleeping when I was depressed, and in return, it depressed me even more. Now I just close my eyes and enjoy some really good rest.

All of these things I do in no particular order, and I don’t necessarily do all of them all the time. Sometimes I start working on a project that has nothing to do with what I’m supposed to be doing, or simply look for a video game to play while my depressed state passes. Because like every emotion in life, depression doesn’t last forever, which is the important lesson to remember.

Nowadays I actually enjoy a little bit of depression, because after it’s gone, I come back much stronger.

The matter of this is that I believe being creative leads to depression. Source: My experience.

Follow me on Twitter @qreyes

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