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Depression and my creative journey

I am not ashamed to say I suffer from depression.  I have suffered for about fifteen years now to various degrees.  It is not just a case of feeling sad all the time (which isn't the case).  To me, it is deep rooted, sometimes totally immersive and often comes with feelings of stress, anxiety and doom.  I used to think it was because I was single and felt lonely.  But meeting my husband didn't stop me having periods of depression and if it was just a case of being lonely that would have ended surely?
I also used to think it was part of grief and the fact that both my parents have died and that I missed them dearly. and though it may still be a factor, it is not the sole reason why I get depressed. 

I do think, however, it has a lot to do with me feeling like I haven't truly found my purpose in life, that I don't know who I am and what I want to do and that I feel sometimes that I am stuck in a rut.  (I definitely know that is true in terms of my employment.  I desperately hate my job, but because I don't know what I want to do yet, I feel as if I might as well stop there in the meantime until I find something I do want to do ).

I do sometimes, go over in my mind, "What ifs?"  What if I had done this course at University?  What if I had continued in that relationship?  "what if I had gone through my application to emigrate to Canada?". but that is just self defeating, and I will never know.  Hindsight doesn't always help.

I have had counselling on several occasions.  At times it helped, other times it just made me angry and felt like a complete waste of my time.  I even enrolled on a Counselling Skills and Concepts course to see if that would give me any major insights into my depression.  I have tried anti depressants and herbal/natural medicines too.  Nothing has magically made my depression disappear.

But what has this to do with my creative journey you may be asking? 

Doing creative things such as writing, art journaling, artwork, cross stitch, scrapbooking, Photography and Project Life has all helped me to come out of the really dark moments in my life.  .  Writing and journaling and in part doing this blog, helps me to put thoughts out there and enable me to download them from my mind.  Looking back on old journals and blog posts has enabled me to see trigger points throughout the years.  I have realised that for example at certain times of the year I get more down that others. Winter times and dark nights make be feel worse than say the middle of summer when the days are longer and nights shorter.  A few weeks leading to my birthday in September I get down because I feel like another year has passed and I haven't achieved stuff I thought I would.
Photography, scrapbooking and Project Life helps me see physically that my life isn't that bad and that I do have some great and special experiences.  That there is some really good times in my life that I record and often forget about.  Like going out with friends, holidays, days out and even every day moments like just cooking a meal are all recorded and I can look back after a few months and reminisce about.

Making art does make me happy.  It helps me relax, it calms me down.  I feel better for doing.  It is as if it is the real me.  Reading about creative things such as art, scrapbooking etc and visiting blogs and watching Youtube provides me with a community I can identify with.  It encourages, inspires, provides new ideas and perspectives on life.

My depression will always be part of me and I have decided to embrace that.  My creative endeavours in whatever form does help me get through darker times and I know the more creative things I do, the better I do feel about myself.  It enables me to stop wallowing in my own sadness and bad thoughts.  I feel as if I come outside of myself for a while and are free.  Being creative does make me feel alive and I am grateful for the life I do have as it may not be perfect but it is a precious gift and I should make the most of it.

Good afternoon from Pickle Land

Lesley xx


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