Creativity and Depression

Alanis Morrissette once said that depression feels like you’re covered in tar.  Of all the imagery I have come across for describing depression, this one resonates with me.  I experience depression as a cold, suffocating illness that weighs me down and prevents me from accomplishing anything.

I’m just coming off a week of self-care.  The previous week was hectic because family stayed with us during a house-hunting trip.  I knew I would have to recuperate afterwards because madly loving your family is not enough to compensate for loss of sleep, routine, and personal space when you have mental illness.

These are the kinds of things I now plan for.  Remember, Gale, you need to sleep or lay down when your body tells you to.  Remember to eat several times each day.  Remember to breath.  Pay attention to your stomach, your neck and shoulders, and just give in if any body part is aching or tense.  Look at your messy house just one tiny little mess at a time and tune out the rest so you don’t get overwhelmed.

I wish I had known to look out for these things a long time ago.  But I thought I had to be tough.  And you do have to be tough if you live your life according to external demands.  Until you can’t be that tough anymore.

Today I feel good.  Headache is gone.  Stomach is pretty good.  I am finally caught up on sleep.

And viola!  Now I feel like making things.  Last night I finished a big, fat tassel I started a couple weeks ago.  It consists of leftover bits of yarns that I thought might be pretty together.  I had it all cut up and arranged before the kids got here.  Now, two weeks later, I have completed the final steps.

This morning I got back to work on some cute little Santa hat fascinators I’m working on.  I’m not following a standard procedure because I wanted to use some bits I already had laying around.  I like to upcycle and repurpose which requires mucho creativity.  I started that project over a month ago.  Depression and anxiety stalled my efforts several times along the way.  Today, with the melting away of the depression “tar”, I’m back in business.

Life is just so much better and easier when the depression recedes.

I am so much better now that I understand how to take care of myself and now that I understand that this is how it will always have to be.



Filed under anxiety, art therapy, depression, emotional health, family, healing, motivation, self-care, stress, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Creativity and Depression

  1. Good for you! I hope you can enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas–in your own space, in your own way. xo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Depression is awful at killing creativity, although I seem to get a weird different creativity out of certain strains of depression. Im glad things are looking up though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was younger, I used to feel like writing it all out when I felt bad. But the writing actually wasn’t very good. It was a way to vent but it wasn’t anything I’d share nowadays. I think I have a very different strain of depression now and it just kills any form of creativity. Even writing in my journal is like slogging through mud when I’m deeply depressed.


  3. JC

    I like Alanis Morrissette’s definition too. And I like your list of things to remember to make yourself better. A very mindful approach.

    Have a wonderful holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

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