Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Creativity and Depression: why is my brain crowded with ideas despite its gloom?

In the thick of it, in the deepest recesses of my mind and its experiences with depression I can be at my most creative. In my most recent episode (Right now unfortunately) I have been thinking a lot about my creativity. There's a pattern to it. I write more, my brain froths with new ideas at an impressive rate when I'm depressed.

Depression is never fun. It is emotionally painful. Boring. Infuriating. Relentless.

Being creative is a distraction from the bad and intrusive thoughts. My mind is constantly thinking of the bad, therefore I throw myself into creative projects. Creating is a way out of the mind, out of the emotional trauma I'm experiencing. I write. I knit. I plan.

I'm writing the first draft of a novel and it's hard. But figuratively exiting my own mind, I enter into the mind of my main character. It helps to pretend not to be me. Another reason I love writing and developing characters because just for a little while I escape. In the mind of my main character (She's called Honey, FYI.) I explore her life, not mine, I think about her adventures, dreams and experiences.


(My most recent chapter for my WIP.)
How do you fight your own mind? How do you fight something you cannot tangibly get rid of?

I create. And so do many others. Many well-known writers, musicians and creatives types have experienced mental illness and turned it into something positive. Although there is no certain link between creativity and depression, there is a lot to be said for what humans produce when they're battling the darkness of their minds. Think of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Edgar Allen Poe? If some of the most successful, highly praised creators can create masterpieces, you can attempt to too.

Thinking about my own creativity and how it manifests during episodes of depression, not only is it a way of distracting myself from the inconsolable sadness and hopelessness but also a way of expressing myself. I can express my thoughts and emotions more coherently and less directly. I can write a blog post about my experiences and hope someone else feels the same. Talking openly about how I'm feeling does not come easy. I'm sure many others feel the same, so taking your depression and transforming it into something creative and rewarding whether that be writing, painting, drawing, knitting or learning how to play an instrument. Whatever works best for you, do it. Create something you are proud of. Create something that brings you happiness.

I can create something concrete, something real to look back on when I'm feeling myself again, proof to tell me depressive episodes aren't fantastic but maybe, just maybe something good can come out of it.

Creativity is about thinking. Thinking about your senses, your experiences, your surroundings. Thinking about everything. A creative idea can come from almost anything.