Five Tips to Avoid Pitfalls of Depression – especially for Creatives

My intention with this essay is not to shame or laud over anyone. I’ve struggled with depression and know how insidious it can be. Every time I’m able to get past my default setting of being overly critical and hard on myself (the killer critic is the foreplay of depression) makes a great day, a cause for celebration. When my idealized version of who I should be glares unforgivingly at my actual self, the demon of depression takes hold. Below, are some useful tips I use to prevent the demon from coming in.

What is depression? Simply said, it is anger turned inward. From the judgments and expressions of disappointment from parents, teachers, the world. Anger inherited, anger misplaced – something we mostly don’t want to feel or own or acknowledge. It simmers through over the years and there can be a perverted pleasure that it’s at least something we can control, albeit unconsciously. But it can become a habit, a dangerous and destructive habit. It can feel so authentic, so true. Brain patterns are like that and it can take some practice both undoing and creating positive and more helpful, positive habits. 

So let’s make a plan on how to reset these harmful habits, and how to learn to be compassionate and loving with yourself. 

  1. Do not beat yourself up if you are not completely free of negative thoughts. 
  2. Move! Especially when you don’t want to. The dark juices want nothing more than to tie you up, so any way you can move will help. Walk, dance, jump in place, without caring what you look like or what it feels like. We all know how much better we feel after a yoga class, a swim, a dance, but at those times when you feel like you just can’t move, anything to get you going will help. Take yourself out as if you are the dog, maybe even bark! Anything. Any movement that gets the oxygen flowing will alter the mood. The body’s best drug is our own breath.
  3. Enter your resistance. Even a tiny bit. Sing – even if you think you can’t. Scribble some words – even if you’re certain you have nothing to say. 
  4. Give yourself permission to be creative even if you think you are not. Allow yourself to engage in an activity that comes often to your mind but you’ve been shooing away for years. (I can’t do that) Any activity will improve with practice. Even singing or dancing badly is very good for the brain!
  5. To give a loving kick to get started. The hardest with every activity, including positive thinking, is to get started. The dark voices of depression want us to stay a blob, it can be so comfortable and yet once we get started, a door will open, even if you doubt it.

If you hit a wall, you can contact me to give a helping hand.