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When Creativity Blocks Are Actually Depression

Sometimes ideas just won’t come. Sometimes motivation won’t knock and the Muse is MIA and getting out of bed to face the easel or keyboard seems daunting.

Sometimes this is a normal part of the creative process. There are times of bountiful ideas and inspiration, and even if there’s not, the act of sitting down to create can often make these ideas and inspiration happen.

Sometimes this lack of creativity can actually be something more—depression.

photo found here

Confession time—I struggle with depression. A lot. Not only does it run in my family, but depression is the most common buddy-system illnesses for Chronic Migraine. I mean, try living with chronic pain every day and not be depressed at least once in a while.

I’ve had depression often and severe enough to know my symptoms and be aware of them. The biggest symptom for me? Lack of creativity. Not just a lack. An utter abhorrence of anything beautiful. I know when I’m healthy, I want to create. I want to paint and write stories and dabble in music. When the pain is bad, I don’t. When I’m depressed, I don’t.

I also know that I tend to not want to exercise or cook or get out of bed right away. When these 4 symptoms show up—lack of cooking, lack of exercising, lack of morning rising, and lack of creating—I know it’s time to head to a doctor.

I’ve also had depression often and severe enough to know that the biggest thing I need during this season—is grace.

Grace that my paintings aren’t turning out. If I’m doing any.

Grace that I can’t put my hands to the keyboard and. Just. Edit.

Grace that I’m not out socializing and being a part of society more. If I’ve left the house.

Grace that I haven’t even tried singing in ages or worked on composing.

Grace that I haven’t prayed in, who knows how long, nor do I want to.

Grace. Grace. Grace.

I bring this up because I’ve been stuck in a time of depression, and we do a terrible job of talking about hard things. I read this great article recently on writing blocks and depression, and the author does an awesome job. This time, my depression is mostly tied with Chronic Migraine and medication switches. However, not beating myself up about it when the pain is better, but my body still doesn’t want to function, is harder than growing out my nails. (context: I’ve only successfully grown out my nails, like, twice in my entire life.) My first book is getting published—YAY—and I am excited, thrilled, truly. But, getting a book deal doesn’t take away the depression. I still need hours before I can make myself get to the keyboard to work on revisions.


I’m reminding myself.


Does anyone else find depression interfering with their creativity?

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