Creativity and depression… do they bother you?

Here comes a personal post, so click away if you want a down to business sewing tutorial. There are certainly plenty of those around here. 🙂

I recently read an article on that discussed the connection between creativity and depression. The link between creatives and depression and other mental illness is nothing new.

According to that article, Vincent van Gogh once wrote a letter to his brother saying, “I am unable to describe exactly what is the matter with me. Now and then there are horrible fits of anxiety, apparently without cause, or otherwise a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in the head… at times I have attacks of melancholy and of atrocious remorse.”

I can relate. Can you?

A few years ago I was listening to my favorite Christian songwriter at a women’s event and he described the depression that he struggled with and how it affected his music. I was saddened to learn that someone whose music I often turned to for comfort and uplift had to fight the inner demon of depression that I also experience.

Now, don’t go getting worried about me. I don’t struggle with depression on a daily basis, it’s kind of like a fog that rolls in every few weeks and threatens to make me completely unproductive. When it’s here, I don’t want to get out of bed and my day-to-day duties of children, dishes, laundry, and cheerfully writing on a blog seem insurmountable.

On those days I sometimes cope by grabbing a big floppy hat and sitting on the beach doing nothing. My kids can play there for hours whether it’s winter or summer and I’ve also read that sunshine helps with serotonin levels in the body.

I have tried medication for depression and it made me feel so out of sorts and distracted that I gave up on it and decided to keep those ‘blues’ away with exercise and healthy foods (which work to some extent – for me). Please don’t let me keep you from a doctor if you struggle with depression or another mental illness.

One thing that really upsets me is the stigma that often surrounds mental illness and how many people pass it off as an imaginary plight or simply the desire for attention. I know it is real and would certainly take medication if I felt that was the best course for myself and my family. 

For the present, though, I have made a mid-year resolution to put myself back on the healthy wagon with regular walking/jogging (couch to 5k app, anyone?) and wholesome foods. I have found that these things really do help me keep the fog from rolling in.

But what about you? As a creative person do you feel like you struggle with depression or ‘the blues’ more often than others? Does it run in your family?


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P.S. Here’s more on this topic, including when and why I decided to seek professional help.

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