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How Many of You Suffer from Depression


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I suffer from bad depression.   There are days where just staying in bed seems like a grand idea.  I always get out, and I always do my job.  It's been like that for the last 20 years.  The

From my teens until I hit thirty, I suffered from anxiety and depression. Becoming a Christian, studying the book of Philippians, joining a sound church, seeing a Christian counselor, plus serving oth

Recently one writer after another has told me that they suffer from depression, which led me to question whether depression and creativity are linked.   What do you say?

First in fair disclosure, I am not a psychologist, and have no training in that field. Yet in my observations of creative people, and from what I've read about famous ones, I see patterns. Because our brains are apparently wired to spot patterns (even when they're not there!) I would offer my impressions with caution.

 

I do notice among some very creative associates, minds that seem to be chaotic, but in a controlled way. The opposite of creativity is to fall into a rut and do exactly what everyone else would do. That chaotic element can bring in additional random elements, some of which may actually be useful, and the mind that's also disciplined enough to hold the chaos at bay, yet examine the chaos for useful ideas has a creative advantage over others. OTOH, the mind that's not disciplined enough may lose control, and end up like those sad souls one may see sitting alone in the back of the bus, arguing with the voices in their heads...

 

People who write comedy often employ a method using multiple lists of various topics, which introduce the element of randomness and chaos, because if predictability is the opposite of creativity, it's also the absolute death of comedy. If it might help others, here's an article that repurposes the list method to form creative writing ideas: 

 

https://endicott.toastmastersclubs.org/Creating_Great_Speech_Topics_and_Excellent_Speech_Endings.html

 

I wrote this to help others in speechwriting, and it's given me spectacular results, but it should be able to help in all sorts of writing situations. This uses lists and multiple free associations to produce a controlled chaos to those of us who are more stable-minded. To use it, you have to actually make the lists; the point of them is that our minds by themselves don't have enough free ideas to create the chaos that the lists create. Trying to do it in your head won't work.

 

As far as depression goes, I also see the correlation you've pointed out. It may also be a cause of creativity, or perhaps a motivation to use the creativity that's already there may be an outcome of depression. A person who's depressed may reach harder to find an audience who will listen to the way they feel, and there's no end of creative people who've either drunk themselves to death, or committed suicide. Edgar Allen Poe was one depressed puppy, expressed his depression deeply in his writing, and his drinking killed him. Writers like Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemmingway committed suicide due to deep depression.

 

Robin Williams, whose mind was among the most chaotic-yet-under-control-kinda also suffered from deep depression and killed himself. Perhaps there, there's also a link between the wildly (!!!) creative chaos and depression.

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It does seem that the two go hand in hand.

 

However, whilst I agree with much of Wes says, it needs to be stated that often some of our greatest artists, writers, actors and comics, have also suffered in their lives and these experiences contribute to the depression they experience.

 

Addiction is another condition that can bring depression on.  So  don' think it is clear cut but, yes there is an argument for a pattern existing.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Shamrock
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1 hour ago, Wes B said:

I wrote this to help others in speechwriting, and it's given me spectacular results, but it should be able to help in all sorts of writing situations. This uses lists and multiple free associations to produce a controlled chaos to those of us who are more stable-minded. To use it, you have to actually make the lists; the point of them is that our minds by themselves don't have enough free ideas to create the chaos that the lists create. Trying to do it in your head won't work.

 

Nice, @Wes B!

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I know this is not exactly the same thing, but it is in the same general direction. I have noticed in the last year a correlation of admissions through interviews with many actors who claim they suffer from mild to bad anxiety and bouts with depression and have all their lives. I had always thought these were the last people who would be like that since they are so open and out in public, their performances are so well done. Yet now I think that their anxiety is the weakness or flaw that balances out their strengths and talent of acting. Although I'm pretty sure the same list of actors has no proclamation of faith or an association with the church, whatsoever which may add to anxiety if they have no outside source of strength, hope and peace other than their own.

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I suffer from bad depression.

 

There are days where just staying in bed seems like a grand idea.  I always get out, and I always do my job.  It's been like that for the last 20 years.  The more the world grinds down on you, the worse the depression gets.

 

What gets me out of bed is that I am stubborn and driven, and stubborn.  And the fact that God protects me, and watches over me is really a counterbalance.  God made me the way I am, probably for this very reason.

 

I'm far better off than most.  So I can't complain.

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I used to suffer from deep depression, but God delivered me from it. I wrote a blogpost about it recently -  "Escaping from the Houdini Handcuffs of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidal Thoughts"

 

As far as depression and creativity being linked, Canadian singer/songwriter Robb Nash has noticed a similar pattern. He talks about it and how to combat it in this (amazing) video - Dream: World Changers: Robb Nash

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     "Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

     "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."

(Philippians 4:4-9)

Edited by William D'Andrea
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I have no idea if they are or not, but I would think depression doesn't come from God and creativity in a good way doesn't come from the devil. I used to deal with depression starting at the age of 11, but God freed me when I was saved.

But who knows? That's a great question. Unfortunately, I'm not much help in that. Sorry! 😞

Edited by Ky_GirlatHeart
Fixed a word.
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3 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

What gets me out of bed is that I am stubborn and driven, and stubborn.  And the fact that God protects me, and watches over me is really a counterbalance.  God made me the way I am, probably for this very reason.

 

That's an interesting answer, Jeff, and a good one, too!

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Wow! Some really great insights in the posts above! I have struggled with depression for many years in the past. Almost lost my wife and kids in the midst of it. I can see that there very well may be a correlation between creativity and depression. In my thinking, the two are polar opposites. In my experience,  the more I look inward the more prone I am to feel anxious or depressed. The more I look to Jesus the more I feel hopeful and inspired. Hope and inspiration are excellent ingredients for creativity!

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I think our biggest opposition is that it is so natural and instinctual for us to look inward; it is the natural state of our sub-conscience to worry about ourselves and relate everything to how it affects us. The very idea of faith of looking outside of ourselves for help or ever guidance, to depend on God to find the answers we are seeking or need him to have hope and peace, it is like loving God, it is a complete opposite and abnormal way of living that conflicts with our carnal nature, yet it is in those times of closeness and union with God we are restored for a time to our original state and we feel complete.

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That ol' unpleasant visitor likes to show up at my house once in a while. For three reasons: 1) I have fibromyalgia and that feeling of less than comes with it, 2) I'm an introvert and a melancholy/phlegmatic (or phleg/mel, very close) personality, and 3) I'm creative, not just writing. However, I don't call it depression. I call it, well, that I'm feeling poopy. (Sorry.) I've also given it all to the Lord and I've learned to praise Him to counteract it. The feeling doesn't last very long. And He always sends someone to cross my path and lift me up. 🙂❤️

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9 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Recently one writer after another has told me that they suffer from depression, which led me to question whether depression and creativity are linked.   What do you say?

YES YES YES YES YES

 

I say it does! My depression (among other things heheh...) have inspired me in many ways. They've helped me to write my story, because now, I can connect better with my characters, and understand how they feel. (off note but: in return, my novel has helped me so, so much in this battle) so yeah I think so! or at least sometimes 😄 

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This is an interesting question and observation!

My brother is quite creative he suffers from depression and anxiety ever since he was a child.

I don't see myself as creative but I had depression as a teenager. God saved me from that state of mind but I still have bouts of it on occasion. 

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From my teens until I hit thirty, I suffered from anxiety and depression. Becoming a Christian, studying the book of Philippians, joining a sound church, seeing a Christian counselor, plus serving others in ministry through that church slowly brought me out of the depression over the course of seven years, with a few breakthroughs which caused major improvements. One of those breakthroughs came when I visited a dying woman at her nursing home to console her. The first time I visited Janet, I was overwhelmed with compassion and wept uncontrollably for twenty minutes. After the tears subsided, I was filled with peace as I walked to church. By the time I reached my church, I was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. That joy remained for a whole week. Within a year or two, my depression was gone. Almost thirty years later, it has not returned.

 

At Janet's funeral, someone else remarked that when you were with her, it was like the Holy Spirit was pouring out of her. Janet's faith despite her long and painful illness was miraculous. If she were a Catholic, they would make her a saint.

 

Despite all that, my struggles with anxiety persisted another twenty-five years past that. I once had a score of symptoms related to anxiety: nightmares, shortness of breath, digestive issues, back pain, headaches, multiple nervous tics and twitches, panic attacks, and more. Two years ago I took a Big Five Personality Test (Five Factor Model). My trait neuroticism had plummeted to the tenth percentile. That means that 90% of people have more problems dealing with anxiety than I do. What changed?

 

I am convinced that around seventeen years ago or so, in a dream, the Lord laid out his plan for healing me of my anxiety with a promise that I would survive the treatment. In that dream, I was driving my family in our car. We were lifted up by a tornado, then slammed down. Up, down, up, down. I don't remember how many times it happened. Then the storm ended and we drove on in safety. A few days later, the first calamity struck - our oven caught fire and my wife had to be hospitalized due to inhaling toxic fumes. The trials did not let up until about three years ago. I lost more than ten jobs, spent all our savings and retirement, all of us (me, my wife and three daughter) had multiple health problems, we had nasty disputes with our family and our church, utilities turned off because we couldn't afford the bills, and finally the death of my mom and near loss of my father. The end result was that I was cured of my anxiety, because I had God's promise that He would keep us safe. So if I can endure all those problems and still believe in God - like Janet before me - why should I be afraid?

 

So yes, many writers suffer from depression and anxiety. Praise God that He provides a way to overcome it. However, there is no telling how long it will take to overcome any given problem. For me, from the time I became a Christian to the time I was delivered:

 

  - Fear of death: 6 months

  - Purposelessness: 2 years

  - Depression: 7 years

  - Anxiety: 30 years

 

Your mileage may vary.

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