Depression and writing seem to go hand in hand, at least they do for me. The hardest thing about the arts is pursuing a big picture and personal vision without experiencing discouragement.
If you are a creative, you will likely experience the dark night of the soul at some point in pursuing your art. If you’re an artist of any kind, you’ll likely admit that you’ve felt discouraged from time to time. As a matter of fact, I bet 99.9% of all artists have experienced waves of doubt and moments of self-loathing.
Depression isn’t easy for me to talk about, but this year I am vowing to write with more transparency, removed from fear.
One of my biggest fears, honestly, is how others perceive me.
And while we’re all allowed to be human, society tells us that we’re not all allowed to vocalize our imperfections. Instead, we feel we must airbrush the canvas of our lives until we’ve concealed any semblance of personal struggles and weaknesses.
I’ve fought against the need for medication for my depression with a host of holistic remedies, only to end up back on meds for multiple issues. For me, depression and insomnia go together, as they do for numerous others. On this blog, I refrained from writing heavily about my darkest moments, as I’m embarrassed that what I struggle with seems to come so easy for others. Some people make the simple act of joy the easiest to conquer, regardless of what they lack.
These abundant, organically happy folk don’t necessarily have a lot monetarily, but they’re rich with a contentment that can’t be purchased or manufactured. They’ve managed to strike a beautiful balance between humility and happiness, between self-confidence and empathy for others.
Perhaps artists are naturally moody; maybe it makes us decent at what we try to create. Maybe artists are just wired to walk around inflicted with the cloud of depression that seems almost impossible to shake without some sort of help or support. At the end of the day, creating anything meaningful is challenging but not as challenging as pursuing a very competitive and tough industry such as writing, film, music or any of the other fine arts.
The Bottom Line:
Happiness is a constant, daily effort for me. And honestly, I shouldn’t feel ashamed to admit it but I do. Regardless, I will not allow fear of judgment to hide a very personal battle that at one point, almost totally destroyed me. And if I can help someone else going through the same by words of encouragement, it’s worth it. But, one can’t encourage without being completely transparent. And sometimes unabashed honesty is a little scary. I have to work at happiness every single day. Writing is my therapy. Writing has always saved me from myself.
Some days are better than others. I just hope if you are a writer or any type of artist who suffers from depression that you continue to work at happiness daily, too. All we can all ask for is balance and a silver lining in the clouds that seem to stalk us.
May the sun come out for all of us.