Coping mechanism #1 for me in dealing with this deep depression I find myself in is creative expression. It’s a struggle to remain in the right headspace for it during this time of my life but I try to be patient with myself and encourage myself to allow my moods – no matter how low they may become – to inspire creation rather than to eliminate it. I don’t know HOW I do it, just that I do.
A lot of people I speak to say that when they are in a deep depression they find that they can’t find a desire to create, much less actually try to, and they ask me how I keep creating. I don’t really know.
I think, personally, that artists (by that I mean people who create unconsciously, and continuously, in some way) experience creativity and depression much differently than non-artists. Depression, sadness, heartache, melancholy – those are the times when my creativity as an artist soars. I can’t explain that. It’s just how it happens. I do frequently get into ruts, though.
I wish that I could help others to find an expressive way to cope with their depression and sadness but all I can really do is share what I create from mine. This is a photo (header image) I shot in my garden a few days ago, and I am working on composing music this weekend. I’ve titled the current track I’m working on “Escapism.” Not there yet with the track – but finding much comfort in the process. It helps being alone. Being alone with myself, my thoughts, my emotions, my tears, my melancholy…that is so very healing for me today.
I’ve stated above that I don’t know how to help people to find or spark creativity during an episode of deression but I’ve thought more about this, and I’ve come to this conclusion: I’ve been viewing it in such an objective way, almost as this “creative fire” that others seem to see in me, even when I am struggling with/in depression. That’s not accurate at all.
After sitting for quite some time tonight (thanks, insomnia) and considering it in a more subjective way, it’s become clear to me that fire is not accurate at all. There doesn’t HAVE to be a blazing fire inside you for you to keep going, for you to rise above whatever is going on in your life that is bringing you down.
A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that I must be doing fine because I’m posting – especially when I post “positive” stuff. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no fire here, y’all – there hasn’t been for over two years. But there’s an ember – there’s a desire and a wish to help someone else and feeling like I might be doing that helps me to keep TRYING to help myself.
Mostly that’s through my creative endeavors, but even with that I’m sporadic and unstable. In reality, behind the one post here or there that people see that convince them that I’m fine, I’m irregular in posting, I teeter back and forth between whether to share and then I openly share my confusion. I share some pretty obvious ups and downs and struggles…but I keep trying. I’m don’t see myself as “strong,” or anything if the sort.
Most days I’m not even “positive.” But I am TRYING (and then there are those who can’t see even the trying, much less do they think of me as “strong” or “capable”). What matters is how I think of myself. The actions I take. The words I allow my brain to absorb from my emotional self’s rants at me. But mostly in this whole process and experience of deression, I keep tending my embers. Sporadic though my “fires” may be, my embers are still hot. That’s all I can take credit for on that front, really.
NOBODY is perfect or has a perfect, pain-free life. EVERYBODY is hurting at some level and in some way or another, and all any of us really need is a glowing ember inside to inspire creativity (artist or not), strength, kindness, compassion, the ability to ask for forgiveness and to forgive, to overcome demons and struggles…
It doesn’t have to be blue-white hot glowing flames. A single yellow-orange ember is all it takes. Maintenance is key – and that’s a huge battle in living with/in depression.
I’ve spent the last hour reminding myself that life is about balance and cycles. Fires are always going to die out, eventually – it’s just the nature of things. But if the embers are always hot, the fire can be started again fairly easily. We just have to find the right “material” – the thing that works for us.
Depression loves to try to piss on your coals and tell you you’re unworthy. It CONSTANTLY reminds you that you’re misunderstood. On a daily basis mine reminds me that, “people will hurt you; they will let you down, ignore you, judge you, blame you, hate you, be unresponsive to your kindness, be impatient with your moods and emotions, turn their backs on you, stab you in the back, tell you lies, walk out on you, and hell, sometimes they will even die.”
Hey, nobody’s perfect, and we will do all of those things to someone else at some point in our lives, whether we mean to or not, or even whether we ever realize it or not.
Everybody perceives you and all the things you say and do differently. Every. Single. Person. You. Meet. Try to remember that when someone has issue with you and struggles to handle you during your struggle with depression. Also remember it when you have an issue with someone else, for any reason.
NO ONE is perfect. Try to be patient with yourself, and with others. We’re all just doing the best that we can, where we are, with what we have, one day at a time. And that’s OK. That’s life, and we have to stop fighting, keep flowing, and maintain the embers.
I hope that you’ll enjoy this post. I hope that you can find and experience what soothes and heals you this weekend, and that you’ll find YOUR best way to maintain your embers.