TALENT DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES : articles

Depression

Depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), dysthymia, hypomania - especially related to creative people.

Also see more articles, and the Depression and Creativity site.

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Perhaps depression is the inability to see value in our pain. Depression is anger turned inward. Depression is a chemical imbalance. Depression is a mental illness. Depression is resistance to what is. Depression is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relationship, and career/financial pain. Depression is Beautiful. If we dive deeply into any of these points of view we deepen our understanding. [Photo: Like many actors and other creative people, Harrison Ford has struggled with depression.]

I cringed at these things my friends said to me these few years. For those of you who don’t really get us, I’ve decided to let you know 10 things not to say to a depressed person from my own experience. ...As I’m not a doctor, I can’t give medical advice. Moreover, what to say is very dependent on the personality and situation of the oppressed. But what I can offer is my take on what NOT to say to someone in depression. Hopefully this can help you empathize where we weirdos are coming from, and for you to be more sensitive to our plight.

We Are The X-Men

In watching X-Men: The Last Stand, I noticed several characters with whom I could relate. They wanted to live a “normal” life and could not see the benefit of a power that they could not control. They were subjected to overwhelming pressure to get “cured” of their disease, and many succumbed to the promise of a “normal” life. ... The greatest power of all is my ability to go into such deep depression that I can gain insights into the true meaning of life. It helps me to find meaning and purpose beyond just surviving another day, and helps me to appreciate life for all of its richness.
 

James Turrell makes artwork that is simply amazing. I think his work with light and darkness is a perfect metaphor for trying to see depression in a new light. Each time I was forced to experience depression it became more clear to me. I began to redefine what depression is and better recognize the features that I could now 'see' more clearly. My scale began to change from one based on pain to one based on a much richer perception of what was going on. ... I have also begun to gain tremendous insight into many things, including my spiritual life.

The philosopher Plato first postulated the notion that melancholy often followed ‘the Divine Frenzy’ of creativity.” But many of us (such as writer Enoch Li) have also found that creative expression can help deal with depressive feelings. A number of writers and psychologists are questioning the validity of the long history of associating depression with creativity.

Stimulation comes in on all sensory channels: sights, sounds, smells, vibrations, touch. HSP’s typically respond strongly and quickly reach their natural level of tolerance in loud, bright or chaotic environments. Managing this kind of overstimulation could be treated as a “technical problem” of reducing environmental intensity or leaving it when possible. Five kinds of over-stimulation can contribute to depression.

Why is depression so daunting to some? Why is it so difficult for some to lift themselves out of the mental state? Control – we’ve lost control over the environment, the situation and ourselves.

Depression and anxiety are sometimes hard to tell apart. While they may seem like completely different conditions, chronic depression can hide anxiety, while people who suffer from general feelings of anxiety may actually be experiencing a symptom of depression. Further, when people begin treatment for depression, the new focus on underlying issues sometimes causes anxiety symptoms, such as frequent heart palpitations, agitation and feelings of nervousness.

Depression is not like the flu, where a certain virus is the cause. There are a lot of factors that appear to contribute to depression, and perhaps a group of factors is responsible for causing depression when they come together in a certain way. In the end, knowing what causes depression may not be as important as knowing how to treat it.

Depressed Creativity

By nochnoch / Enoch Li -- Never thought I had any creativity. I equated creativity with artists, innovators, entrepreneurs, designers, fashion… I was none of that - until I sunk into depression last year. And over the course of a few months, I rediscovered my creativity, which spurred my recovery. I had always classified myself as “not creative” till I met my fiancé...But it was a limiting belief that I was not creative myself.

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