View Full Version : Does depression stifle or enhance your creativity?


MindBlind
07-25-17, 04:48 PM
I don't understand how people can claim that their depression has fuelled their creativity. I know there are people that are somehow more creative when they suffer from a depressive episode or their depression is some kind of creative muse for them. To me depression just sucks all the life out of me and I can't think creatively at all. Even if you know you won't feel this way forever and that your future self would have like you to try harder, you get caught up in your nihilism. It's really hard to define, but when my mood gets low I just don't feel connected enough to anything to care if I make art or not. I stop finding joy in it and in fact find it painful - actually physically painful - to do it when I am in those mental states. Pretty distressing for an artist to go through.

And look, I'm not saying that I should always be in a flow state or whatever because creativity is supposed to be challenging. The creative process is frustrating by design and it's mentally taxing even when you have a normal mood. It's really hard to expend further cognitive power to that kind of higher cognitive functioning when you can't even decide what clothes to wear, ya know?

If other people can still be creative and productive while in the throes of depression, am I just being lazy? Do they just have better discipline than I do? What do I need to do to get better?

Fuzzy12
07-25-17, 05:21 PM
I don't know but I'm like you. I can barely string two coherent sentences together (and much less want to) when I'm depressed. For me it stifles everything.

I do day dream and fantasise a lot more though when I'm depressed though I wouldn't call that exactly creative.

Creativity requires energy. I don't see how anyone can actually create anything in that state.

Having said that I used to write poems when I was younger and the depression didn't affect that except that I'd write about being depressed and how futile life is...

userguide
07-26-17, 07:08 PM
I am not artistic and not really depressed, BUT ur post reminded me of an experiment I've read about.

Some guys decided to record their "marijuana session", because they had believed they got very creative after smoking thc, but they usually forgot all the great ideas.

So they recorded it, and after the replay from tape, the conclusion was: "I've never heard such amount of nonsense, declared with so much arrogance"

I don't remember where I read it.

MindBlind
09-03-17, 02:22 PM
I am not artistic and not really depressed, BUT ur post reminded me of an experiment I've read about.

Some guys decided to record their "marijuana session", because they had believed they got very creative after smoking thc, but they usually forgot all the great ideas.

So they recorded it, and after the replay from tape, the conclusion was: "I've never heard such amount of nonsense, declared with so much arrogance"

I don't remember where I read it.

I guess it depends on how the substance affects each person. Perhaps for some it helps them feel more relaxed and less vigilant about making mistakes, which is a great breeding ground for innovation. On the other hand, it can make you totally comfortable with being lazy and unmotivated.

What is great for creativity, IMO, is giving yourself permission to be bad at stuff. Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon said something about how you have to give yourself permission to suck so that you can actually get work out there and grow as a creative. I agree with that sentiment because my self critical voice has held me back so much in my creative process. Having depression just amplifies that self criticism and warps my worldview into thinking that because I can't draw a perfect, photo-realistic picture of Nicholas cage then I am worthless. Or at least it would do that if I actually set out to paint Nicholas Cage.

It's a difficult tightrope because you want to challenge yourself but if you make it too challenging you just set yourself up for failure anyway. The creative industry is especially very toxic when it comes to mental health, especially because you can get indoctrinated into this cult of placing your value as a person on the quality of your portfolio. It's no surprise that the entire industry seems to attract highly neurotic people. It's kind of messed up to think that my own career is holding me back on my career.

daveddd
09-03-17, 02:25 PM
my personal opinion is depression stifles any creativity or ideas i have

mania on the other hand...

Greyhound1
09-03-17, 02:38 PM
Depression only stifles my creativity, motivation, will power, drive, well being and other things.

For me it only fuels despair, anxiety and unhappiness. Depression has never benefited me in any way, shape or form that I am aware of. It has only stolen blocks of time and quality of life from me. I hate it because it truly sucks!

Little Missy
09-03-17, 02:51 PM
ugh, like everything.

Little Missy
09-03-17, 04:22 PM
oooh! I could go for a good mania today.

Been burnin' daylight though.
I think its the smoke. The fire is very close but not a danger.

MindBlind
09-04-17, 03:42 PM
oooh! I could go for a good mania today.

Been burnin' daylight though.
I think its the smoke. The fire is very close but not a danger.

Please be careful. I don't know how you experience bipolar disorder but I assume you're self aware enough at this point to reign it in before the fire does spread.

Little Missy
09-04-17, 03:51 PM
Please be careful. I don't know how you experience bipolar disorder but I assume you're self aware enough at this point to reign it in before the fire does spread.

oh no! I fear you may have misunderstood. I do not have bipolar disorder. There is a very large wildfire close by and it was stuck in a smoke pattern that obliterated the sun before the wind moved it around the mountains.

I do enjoy what I call mania, basically, it is just a great mood day.

Emre22
09-04-17, 03:52 PM
depression stole my years from me, if you are looking for a melancholic kind of creativity and inspiration .
Yes it enhances but it only brings more sadness
u must understand that this creativity feeds a sick pleasure of melancholia

daveddd
09-04-17, 04:05 PM
depression stole my years from me, if you are looking for a melancholic kind of creativity and inspiration .
Yes it enhances but it only brings more sadness
u must understand that this creativity feeds a sick pleasure of melancholia

like trent reznors "hurt" song

Emre22
09-04-17, 04:05 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruP672bL8eA

You can also check his channel , i bet this guy wrote these songs when he was in depression

i was listenning to him a lot when i was in depression

daveddd
09-04-17, 04:08 PM
oh no! I fear you may have misunderstood. I do not have bipolar disorder. There is a very large wildfire close by and it was stuck in a smoke pattern that obliterated the sun before the wind moved it around the mountains.

I do enjoy what I call mania, basically, it is just a great mood day.

oh i thought you were

i get those days too

pure mania though...woooo boy:thankyou::grouphug::yes:

Little Missy
09-04-17, 04:21 PM
oh i thought you were

i get those days too

pure mania though...woooo boy:thankyou::grouphug::yes:

never often enough, nor lasting long enough.

daveddd
09-04-17, 04:22 PM
never often enough, nor lasting long enough.

like a tease aint it

Little Missy
09-04-17, 04:23 PM
like a tease aint it

oh, it is, it IS!

sarahsweets
09-05-17, 04:48 AM
Depressions for me, fuels intense emotions and makes me irrational. I have never been extra creative when I am irrational.

LyrinMeow
04-30-18, 06:08 PM
This thread is old but I don't care.

Comparing me now to me back in the day? When I was semi functional: So much more creative. I used to write, draw, play and write music. They may have been bad emotions but I could feel them. Everything was vibrant and meaningful in a... sad sort of way. If that makes any sense.

On medication? I barely feel anything like that. Music doesn't affect me like it used to. I can't stay into drawing for more than a few pieces. I gave up playing the instruments. Everything feels dulled down.

I used to be a passionate person, now I'm more stoic than anything. I mean I have things I'm interested in that I do. But the spark is just... gone. Maybe I got old? Maybe it's my particular combination of mental disorders and the medication I'm on?

The broad middle of my spectrum is blurred out and I only get the occasional mood swing for a short period. Usually anger or panic. I may get the occasional moment of awe. But mostly I just feel I'm holding a flat line.

I WANT to be creative and do things it's just not in me anymore.

Little Nut
05-01-18, 08:46 AM
Lyrin, FTR I appreciate the lead-in and overall a nice post. Thx, -LN

stef
05-01-18, 09:44 AM
Depression (from life events, grieving, etc) totally definitely stifles my creativity
but adhd meds, definitely not!

I had worried about this, but instead the fact that I can actually somewhat manage my life, has freed up my creativity; my writing is more efficient, and I've found that I enjoy cooking and trying recipes.

Also, I've started reading fiction again :)

What meds are you taking?
A long time ago, I tried an antidepressant, it turned me into a zombie.

Fraser_0762
05-01-18, 11:52 AM
Depression is a life sucking vampire for me. It makes me not want to do anything at all. Everything seems boring. Every action and every idea. So it renders my ability to be creative or productive completely useless. I become a shell of what I should be.

CharlesH
05-01-18, 03:01 PM
Depression is a life sucking vampire for me. It makes me not want to do anything at all. Everything seems boring. Every action and every idea. So it renders my ability to be creative or productive completely useless. I become a shell of what I should be.

Definitely!

People sometimes conflate struggles with clinical depression. Struggles can absolutely spur creativity. Clinical depression just makes you withdraw from struggles. You're not going to be creative if you can't drag yourself out of bed, haha.

I think that people often try to make lemonade out of lemons, which is why they say things like "ADHD is a gift," or "depression helps my creativity." Certainly, people can be made stronger and wiser through overcoming struggles, and good for them! But not everyone comes out successful (especially for chronic conditions), and even if they do, wouldn't it have been better if they hadn't had to struggle as much as other people just to reach the same level of success?

For each famous example of artists/authors whose breakthrough creativity was spurred by depression, there are millions of ordinary people whose life potentials were wasted away because of depression.

LyrinMeow
05-07-18, 05:07 PM
I will specify. My creative times were when I was not at my utter depths but moderately depressed. I was still functional (kindof). Not at the "I've been laying in this bed for a week" depressed. Also I am bipolar. As such I don't suffer pure mania but dysphoric mania which is depression and mania at the same time. Both times I tried to kill myself I was dysphoric. BUT these weird mood combinations could make me really creative sometimes.

Also, I was not medicated at the time. Now I'm on aderall, 2 anti-depressants, an anti psychotic, 2 benzos, and ambien. Every day I have to speed myself up to function and every night I have to sedate myself to sleep.

And I just feel half dead all the time. But if I screw with my meds then I screw with my ability to function which affects my ability to do and keep my job. So I'm just kinda... stuck.

CharlesH
05-07-18, 05:43 PM
I will specify. My creative times were when I was not at my utter depths but moderately depressed. I was still functional (kindof). Not at the "I've been laying in this bed for a week" depressed. Also I am bipolar. As such I don't suffer pure mania but dysphoric mania which is depression and mania at the same time. Both times I tried to kill myself I was dysphoric. BUT these weird mood combinations could make me really creative sometimes.

Also, I was not medicated at the time. Now I'm on aderall, 2 anti-depressants, an anti psychotic, 2 benzos, and ambien. Every day I have to speed myself up to function and every night I have to sedate myself to sleep.

And I just feel half dead all the time. But if I screw with my meds then I screw with my ability to function which affects my ability to do and keep my job. So I'm just kinda... stuck.

To me, that does seem to be quite a lot of meds. How are you even able to tell what effects each of the individual meds are having on you? Anyway, I'm not a doctor, so if you're concerned about your med regimen, talk with your doctor.

Often, depression includes ruminating over negative thoughts. Perhaps your negative energy can get funneled into creativity, especially when combined with some sort of mania disorder? Doesn't seem hard to believe.

LyrinMeow
05-08-18, 05:12 PM
They are for bipolar, GAD, and ADHD -inattentive type. Right now all of my medications are needed. As a matter of fact my new anti psychotic wasn't working well so I stopped that.

I just hit a pretty major depression and I'm treating it with aderall and ativan (more than my daily prescribed. I've been with my psych so long that I can basically just call, tell her the situation, and she send whatever I think I need to the pharmacy). So I made an emergency appointment with my psych for tomorrow to get that sorted out. I want to talk through this one with her.


My main depression med is celexa which literally saved my life. I cannot go off of it. My second depression medicated was increased about a year ago for suicidal thoughts. The anti psychotics help with the intrusive thoughts which I have super bad. So I need to find a new one.

The ambien makes me go to sleep the klonopin keeps me asleep. Klonopin for me is a body sedating drug. Ativan is brain sedating drug. So when my mind just won't stfu I take it. Or if I'm getting a full blown panic attack I take it.

Without aderall I'd practically fall asleep sitting up. Oddly enough it calms me while waking me up. I would have to read things 4 times prior. At first I thought I was just getting more stupid because I have always read a lot of college level non fiction books. After the Aderall I retain things now, and first read through to boot. And am awake enough to think properly.

So unfortunately all these drugs are needed. Especially at a time like this. My meds give me a nice fat hazy patch in the middle so I only have problems with breakthrough symptoms, like now. But to come off of them? Very risky. Any mild destabilization can be life changing for me.

Art is great and all but my choice became art or death.

CharlesH
05-08-18, 05:42 PM
So unfortunately all these drugs are needed. Especially at a time like this. My meds give me a nice fat hazy patch in the middle so I only have problems with breakthrough symptoms, like now. But to come off of them? Very risky. Any mild destabilization can be life changing for me.

Art is great and all but my choice became art or death.

Yeah, that definitely makes sense.

Sorry if my previous post came across as if I was suggesting you to reduce your meds. For some reason, I thought that your previous posts were complaining about being on too many meds...but I looked more closely just now and I can see that you never mentioned that.

I hope your psych appointment goes well!

Also, for me, I have the inverse reaction to Klonopin and Ativan. Klonopin is better at reducing anxiety whereas Ativan is better at helping me sleep. I guess everyone reacts differently!

LyrinMeow
05-08-18, 06:36 PM
I wish I could come off the meds! I am on too many meds. But with how I was before meds that will never, ever, ever happen. CBT would fall a wee bit short, methinks. I think my psychiatrist would commit me if I tried to get her to let me come off them.