From my personal experience, creativity is one of the greatest weapons we will ever have against depression. And it makes sense that this is true.
Depression is when the loss of hope has become so complete, we have loss of self, loss of value, loss of perception of who we are.
On the other hand, creativity is the expression of self. Not in an egotistical way, but in an “I-proved-that-I-am-an-individual-because-without-me-this-couldn’t-exist” way. Creativity proves self, proves value, proves life. Creativity has the power to disprove much of what we’ve believed that has led to our depression.
But what counts as “creating?” What if you don’t think you are a “creative” person?
I would argue that one of the greatest lies we can believe is that we aren’t creative. And the only way we can possibly come to this conclusion is by comparing ourselves to others and what we assume creativity is.
“I can’t draw like he can.”
“I can’t paint like she does.”
“I can’t decorate like they do.”
“I can’t design things like she did.”
“I can’t take pictures like that.”
“I can’t sing as well as everyone else who sings.”
Believe, if you wish, that you aren’t like someone else. But do not believe that your differences make you less than or none at all.
Maybe we need to make sure we have the right definitions of creativity.
Creativity: The use of the imagination, or the use of original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work
Create: To bring something into existence; to cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions
Creative: Relating to or involving the imagination
Art: The expression or application of human creative imagination, typically in a visual form; works produced by imagination
Artistic: Having or revealing natural creative skill
Skill: An ability, particularly to do something well
As you read those definitions, you will realize that you possess creativity. You have the ability to create. You are creative. You are artistic.
If you imagine, you create. If you scribble, you create. If you do something and do it well, you create. If you make someone care for another because of your outrageous act of love for them, you create.
Don’t let fear, lies, and comparison beat out love and creativity in your life.
[NOTE: As someone with clinical depression in my family, and as someone who has needed anti-depressants for seasons in my life, I understand that creativity is not the single solution. I recognize that it is very powerful in all scenarios of depression, but not at the exclusion of professional help. If you are looking for information for counseling, treatment, and other mental health resources, browse the Find Help page.]
Lauren Lankford Dubinsky is a Los Angeles-based blogger and designer and the founder of Good Women Project. This post was adapted from her blog with permission.
I’ve always been left out of EVERYTHING, and it got hard to fit in. But at some point, when I was wide awake one night, I started letting the dark images in my head out, and I started writing. Now I plan on writing horror/romance/suspense novels when I get older.
This was really good advice to give. (:
Devin Nicole Smith
thank you for the inspiration
I am going through one of the deepest depressions of my life and I feel like my creativity has left me. I am caught in the “…fear, lies, and comparison” trap. I am not sure how to get out of this mindset but I have started counseling so can use this as a tool. It helps to have someone explain the roadblock in words. If I can start to create I know I will feel better…thanks for your great article.