Depression in an Artist

There are quite a few statistics about artist and mental disorders. It is for sure not a requirement of the trade, but it is prevalent. Depression being a prominent affliction. Writers especially seem to suffer from it.

From Hemingway to Rowling, some of the greatest authors suffered from depression. It is a tricky disorder/disease. Often leaving the recipient feeling hopeless.

There is quite a bit of speculation as to why artist and even more so writers suffer from this. Sleep patterns, social interaction and rejection have all been part of the discussion.

I know that it is something I have struggled with most of my life. I find it odd that I fall deeper into it the less writing I do. I found an article where William Styron’s daughter talks about this same issue. She said, “My father was depressed when he wasn’t writing,” she says. “That is to say, I think the creative urge was so strong in him and his sense of himself so tied up with his art, that when he wasn’t working well, it caused him great despair. I believe he struggled with depression all his life, but it was at his worst when he was frustrated creatively.”

I think part of me always had this naïve notion that if I every got to a place where I made a living off of my writing my depression would go away. Two years ago the lead singer of Linkin Park committed suicide and changed those notions completely. He wasn’t the first to show me this, but for some reason with him it really hit home.

Here was a man who had a family and was successful in a field of art that he loved. It wasn’t enough. I learned then that our art cannot be a shield. It can be therapy for sure and it can allow us to express things that are harder to say in daily life, but it is not a fix.

Why am I writing this? I feel like many artists try to suffer in silence. We hide behind humor and other things that we have learned to use over time. But there comes a time where things will become too much. It is very important to know the signs, to know what you can do in those moments. It is important to put people around you who know what you are going through and can watch for it.

There are resources out there and obviously if it feels like it is becoming too much you can call 1-800-273-8255 which is the  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

I guess my main point is, whoever you are whatever you do in life artist or not, take care of yourself. You are important, you are worthwhile and life is more than a moment in time.

Hope everyone is well, talk to you soon.

2 thoughts on “Depression in an Artist”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with this and I’ll add two thoughts to go with. One is I find with my own depression it’s so easy to fall into the trap of assigning a cause – – like not being a full time writer, or not being healthy or (enter cause of choice). My brain wants a cause beyond messed up chemicals, so it latches onto various life-things, even tho I know better. That also allows me to hope it’ll end, and feel like I have a (false) sense of control. The other thing I’ve found is I definitely get depressed when I’m not writing, and being depressed itself *keeps* me from writing, or at least writing well, which is a lovely downward spiral, sigh.

    Thanks for this. It’s like you read my mind…

    Liked by 1 person

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