Depression and Art

In Creativity, Life
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I suppose that no one who considers themself a Creative is surprised by the ebb and flow of inspiration. Maybe the first time, it’s a shock to the system. The fear that somehow the thing which fed you, and flowed out of you has just stopped. I remember it, actually, and I wasn’t so much scared as I was empty. But then, later, as quickly as it had dried up, it returned, and I couldn’t sleep because I had so many things to make. And on it went. At some point, I understood that it was a cycle and I embraced the slow periods, and considered them rest. Replenishment, even. The need to create always comes back. Unless it doesn’t.

What happens when it’s more than a natural part of the cycle? What of creation when the artist is suffering from depression? Some, I know, are prolific and find their muse inside the darkness. Others are lost. I’ve been in this moment before and found solace in the work—found my light inside of the act of creating. This time, though, it feels heavier. Harder, even, to lift the camera to my eye. But I push on, because I have the frame of reference (having climbed out and been ok again). I have support. I am caring for myself. And I’m trying.

Again, this summer I’m working on a 100 Days Project. I’m mostly keeping up with it. If I’m being honest (and why stop now) it’s a slog. As of yet, it’s not exactly medicinal. I do look, and I do see. What depression does, though, is it blocks your view.

It’s there, I know that, so I know I’ll be ok. But right now, it feels just out of reach.

I’ve allowed myself the grace of sucking. Making photos that are so boring, I can’t even bring myself to edit them. (Another shot of the cat, really?) Baby steps. I won’t add to the burden by also expecting perfection. So I’ll keep looking, and I’ll keep shooting, and some of the photos will be things I want to remember. Some will be a record of that summer I sat in my sadness. I have to believe they will all be a reminder that pushing on can take you to the other side.

8 Comments

  1. Thank you Amy for such an honest post. I too have had sad seasons where depression has sometimes fed and sometimes sucked my creativity. Thank you for sharing your words and images and I hope the light returns to your spirit soon.

  2. This is beautiful Amy. I am sorry that you have been suffering.

  3. How funny, or rather strange that you are writing about the very reason I was unable to have a post ready for August.
    This all resonates so much.
    Take care. And thank you again.

    • Valerie. I’m sorry that you’re in it. I have (more than once) been unable to bring myself to write and backed out of posting. I get it and I’m pleased that I was able to get the words out. You write when you’re ready — we’ll be here. ❤️

  4. There is so much beauty in your honesty Amy, and it shows through in your work even during the low time. I experience these ups and downs myself and generally don’t pick up my camera. Thank you for sharing, xo

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