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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 26 2011: Well, I think that when we're depressed, we're more focused on ourselves. This implicates a lot of daydreaming which evokes creativity. When we're sad, we easily get distracted and start thinking. Creativity is a natural consequence of it - being misereable becomes not enough to express ourselves (that's of course simplification ;)
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      Mar 26 2011: Whoa. The inward mind, drawn into a tighter spot, actually can create more? That's an incredible thought. I like it. Part of my mental picture of how creativity is fostered comes from watching kids. My own have an overabundance of toys and when I let them have "free reign" they often end up throwing them on the floor and being cranky. When I limit their choices and say, "It's legos time" or "Painting time", that's when I see them bloom and play becomes deeper, more fun and yes, more creative.
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        Mar 27 2011: You're right, I think when people are somehow forced to be limited, they start to find ways to expand their territory of creation and do more exquisite things

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