‘Depression and Creativity’

A little background information on me, I had a easy childhood but always struggled academically due to dyslecsia which sometimes held me back, I am very open about my feelings and the challenges I have faced if I think this shall benefit others -hence this article. I started writing this article weeks after finishing my A levels of Fine Art, Photography and Media, I achieved A in AS art which gave me a real confidence boost.

‘Depression and creativity’

As someone who always has so many ideas of next projects and things I want to create it was extremely worrying and actually more upsetting that my creativity seemed to vanish. I wouldn’t say it was a next day realisation- more like a few months, starting though out August and it took me a while to recognise and link these sets of feelings together. 

With the support of my boyfriend at the time I managed to open up to my mum about my negative and on going feelings, going to the doctors the next day at the start of October. I was hoping for help and support with these feelings that were so unknown to me, instead I was offered tablets and to come back 3 months later. I thought as seen in TV and movies that these anti- depressants  would transform me into the person I previously was and fill the currently dark world in my eyes with rainbows and self love. How wrong I was. I was told it would take a few weeks for my anti depressants to start working, so I gave myself 2 weeks to almost relax and try to be stress free, watching my favourite programs and eatings as I pleased. I couldn’t even look at doing art of anything creative which was a completely knew feeling for me. I sadly started to realise that these tablets were not  going to be the easy fix I had first hoped for. They made the days more bearable, I was able to get some sleep and have hours of not feeling completely drained and useless. 

I’ve always been aware of such articles about artists and how their depression and unstable mental health allowed them to create their best work.  Artists such as Tracey Emin and even musicians,  who feel they need be in a depressive state to create their best work look at Amy Winehouse or Ian Curtis. 

But this wasn’t me, I left I’d let myself down. Not that I ever wanted to be in a depressive state but if I created something out of it then at least it would have some advantage . My life from September till January wasn’t blissful. I couldn’t sleep, didn’t feel like doing anything. Any art I created angered me as I felt it was of a low and boring standard. I kept trying but wasn’t interested or inspired enough to really dealth deep to my arts. 

I had no ideas, no creative flare,  nothing. For the first time in my life I felt let down by the ideas that has previously bombarded my head. I thought that maybe it was never going to come back, that my education was ruined and finished.  

From February my mental health started to improve, not miles or leaps but little bits like being able to sleep and deal with negative thoughts of my own work. So I have learnt a lot in this last year about depression and creavitiy and how to deal with both and try to come to a middle ground. 

Its just learning to deal with it and not force creativity, this only makes you more frustrated, try and be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to figure stuff out. 

Another element to being more creative and enjoying the arts was being more open with myself and others, trying to see the improvements of my work, creatitivley and in essays and research. Looking back on this academia year, I feel very proud of myself for not giving in and giving myself time to learn what triggers me and my negative thoughts. I feel I have learned a hella lot about myself as a person in both my mental state and the strength I had to keep going as well as the creativity that follows me. This is not a happy ending, I am still a long way from being happy and feeling ‘normal’ or ‘myslef again’ but I know I had a period of being rock bottom and I have made it though. 

In the creative world there is always such a huge pressure to achieve and be successful in its very tight circle or artists and minds that have made it to the top. It is all about educating yourself as well as well as enjoying your education and learning, try not to look forward all the time. Enjoy the day. I am far from an expert, I am an 19 year old who struggles with my own body image and the fear of driving people  away. I am still unstable, having days I do nothing but cry and these are now followed by days I enjoy with friends and family. But I never though I would be able to see a way forward and take steps to build a future for myself in the creative world after developing depression. 


If you have your own Mental health issues make sure you share with loved ones or Professionals.

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