Creativity and Depression

According to Scientific American, creative types are ten times more likely to have depression and twenty times more likely to be have bipolar.  We are also eighteen times more likely to kill ourselves.
Sounds cheery, right?

It’s not saying we’re all going to need counseling/medication/monitoring/whatever.  But a fair chunk of us will.  It’s just fact.  A fact, I have found, not many of us want to address.

Most creative people are sensitive and introverted (at least more than other people).  It requires a lot of time in isolation to do what we do.  I’m sure most experience loneliness because of their work to a degree as well as high passions on a good production day.  And who doesn’t feel the sting of rejections or criticism?  There is more to it than that but none of this helps.
So, what is there to do?

First, know that a lot of people experience it.  Even (if) for a short while, no one has gone through life without knowing depression’s dark hand across their forehead.

Remember to treat your body well by being active, getting enough sleep, and eating well.  It can be difficult to do when deadlines are pressing but it’s important.  You wouldn’t believe what can make you feel icky at times.

Don’t keep yourself isolated, even during projects.  I am my own worst critic and the most painful towards myself in all things.  If I’m talking to someone, my brain has less time to complain.  Reach out to those who know you and you feel the most comfortable with.

Pretend the people rejecting you cannot comprehend your genius.  Or those ripping your novel to shreds are insanely jealous and are trying to keep you from success.  Most people tell you to grow a thick skin but, I have found, that’s not nearly as likely as successfully pretending.
**Just don’t become unbearable because you imagined away any improvement you need to make.**

If you get stuck on a project, start another one.  Consider the new one a writing exercise and make it short so you go back to the other one at some point.  It will help you relax and, maybe, feel the high of creativity during a period where it begins to feel like work.

If nothing you do helps, get help.  There are times in life when going out to a movie, writing a poem, or having a chat won’t work.  If you feel you can’t get out of the darkness, get a professional to guide you.  Remember, when you are stuck inside yourself, you’re not creating and the art you give yourself to completely lies dormant.

 No one wants to lose your voice.  Maybe, someday, someone will need yours to find the light.
Does anyone have anything else to add to this?  Have you experienced depression before?  If you want to, share with me.


  1. I have not experienced this but i can only imagine how tough it is to deal with. As someone who hasn't experienced it, I always ask my friends what they need from me when they're going through a rough patch. It's important to be there, in whatever way they need.

    1. That's what a real friend is!

      The scary part is when someone is down so deep he/she can't articulate what is needed, anymore.

  2. This is very true. I do have downs sometimes, but nothing severe. Mostly it's cuz I feel trapped inside a job that doesn't allow me to be creative.

    1. I'm sorry you aren't the happiest with your job always. It can be tough but at least your creative juices can be focused on your own projects. Some people find that having a job where they are creative and then coming home to do their own projects actually steals away their mojo. I suppose it depends on the person.

      What job would you LIKE to have?

  3. I think you make some really good points here. It's really easy for artistic or creative people to withdraw from others and they may not even realize it's happening before it's too late.

    1. The separation is never a good thing. And, even though time alone is necessary, some writers don't realize that it is just as important to be out in the world. Ideas come from living!