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Mary Saville

Educator - STEM, ACTS Homeschool Teaching Support

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How can creativity and chronic depression coexist?

Ever since I spent my 18th birthday in a psychiatric ward, I've struggled with chronic depression. I'm 35 now and don't feel defined at all by such an unwelcome mental companion since I have many coping strategies including medication. In this phase of life I am learning, creating and innovating at a much faster rate than in many previous years and would like to know how others handle having a mind that can rapidly sponge knowledge and churn out fun ideas one part of the day, and need to close down another part of the day.

I find that if I spend a few hours "producing" with my brain I often need a subsequent reboot of sorts - a retreat into quiet, a nap, a shutting down - before I can begin again.

Sometimes I have to stop and let sadness have a turn. Working late at night is helpful. Why? I'm not sure.

This is quite relevant to me and I would appreciate any thoughts, tips, or musings on the subject. Are you coping well with depression and still enjoying creativity? Do you have a helpful pattern of work to share?

Thanks everyone, this is a great forum.

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    Mar 25 2011: I learned that it is good to have a steady everyday rhythm that includes food, sleep, moving the body, relating with others and withdrawing inside. When I live in circumstances where that rhythm is supported from outside it is even better. The mind follows the body, but that is easy to forget. So first rule is: Take care of your basic needs,as if you are the mother of yourself. And if that is to much for you or you do not know how, ask for help with that.
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      Mar 26 2011: Great points Anna. I've come to realize that a good life consists of good days. And the elements you point out make for good days.
    • Mar 26 2011: Its been only few months since i could control my panik attacks and got better with depression. one thing that i notice now is exactly the same as miss Hoffmann said. i do not have a rhythm in my life and without it its so difficult to remember and take care of important things. My first step is to go to bed and wake up on exact time everyday, and that itself is taking lots of time and effort. if miss Hoffmann or anybody who is familiar with this topic have some important suggestion and some tips on how to take care of basic needs, i think it would be really helpful to lots of people including me.
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      Mar 26 2011: I totally agree with you Anna - having a rhytm and tasks to do keeps us in check
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      Mar 26 2011: Anna - thank you for your wonderful charge to take care of my needs, as if I were "the mother of myself". You've hit a large nail on the head. I am a mother of four and I know how true it is that, phrased in the positive, I put my family first, and phrased in the negative, neglect myself. If I were my own mom I'd fuss at myself a lot more to just be nicer to myself! It does relate to depression too because when I am struggling mentally it's almost like a reverse survival of the fittest going on - I'm down and out so my brain should rally to my cause - instead it withdraws into loneliness. True as well that rhythms help with sleeping, exercise, community, and eating well. I'm am trying to find a way to work creativity into that rhythm, to make a time and place for it even when I'm sad, and everyone's answers are so helpful.

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