Depression and creativity are closely associated but being an artist does not mean being depressed. The history of artists is full of incidents where creative people faced depression or ended their lives. The term the tortured artist is a stereotype as modern times have changed the narrative regarding artists and art. Now, artists don’t necessarily need to be depressed. Despite all the happy and positive claims, history has been pretty cruel to the artists. Mental issues and mood disorders were common among creative people. To answer the question, we need to explore different aspects of this subject in detail. In this article we are going to speak about whether an artist is depressed or not.
Are Artists Depressed?
This is a question that we have been asked many times by family members, friends, and even acquaintances. The answer, surprisingly enough, is no.
Depression is more common among artists than it is in the general population. However, this may not be because they are depressed; rather it may be due to their profession’s requirement for individuals to relentlessly create.
In other words, artists may become depressed by the creative process of producing art–a process that can often take years or even decades of intense work before any payoff or recognition comes along—which can cause significant insecurities and loneliness within an artist. But depression is neither a requirement nor part of their day-to-day life.
In fact, for many artists, producing art is the primary means by which they experience happiness and joy.
However, in some cases—especially when an individual presents with serious mental health problems—depression can be a byproduct of the specific symptoms that are experienced such as delusions, hallucinations, or losing touch with reality. For example, a person who sees pictures in the clouds might become depressed if no one believes them or shares their vision.
The discussion of whether artists are debilitated by depression has been going on for ages; even in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the youthful dramatist refers to his state as “sad”.
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Creativity and Depression
It’s no secret that the life of an artist is not easy but may not depressed as it seems. Constant rejection, isolation, and uncertainty are just some of the hurdles that artists face. Creativity can act as a buffer for these issues, but it also makes artists even more vulnerable to depression. As creativity requires such openness, artists are putting themselves at higher risk. Creativity and depression are both linked to decreased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain. These areas regulate the production of dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters commonly associated with happiness.
Scholars have begun to notice that genetic factors play a role in creativity as well. In fact, some people have claimed that dyslexia is actually an indicator of high creative ability. Researchers at Duke University have identified 10 regions in the genome that appear to be linked with creativity. Some studies even show that if you’re not dyslexic then there is a greater chance you will not be as creative as those who are.
How to Deal with Depression as an Artist?
As artists, we are always struggling with the pain of life. There is heartbreak and suffering in art; death, isolation, and loneliness. But sometimes depression comes into play when we have a creative block or just feel overwhelmed by the struggle of finding success as an artist. This article offers suggestions for overcoming depression, as well as tips on how to stay productive when it’s hard to be positive.
1. Know that you’re not alone
As an artist, you’ve probably been told that your art is beautiful or disruptive at some point in your life—something that has reminded you why you had to continue down this path. You may also have experienced the disappointment of not finding success in your art. That’s why it’s so important to remember that you are not alone, and there are plenty of people out there who can help you get by through this difficult time. When life gets you down, find a friend to lift you up.
2. Find a creative outlet
Just because you’re going through a rough patch doesn’t mean that you’re out of ideas or out of things to say. On the contrary, it might be just what your art needs in order for it to evolve, and for those painful emotions to be channeled into something meaningful and powerful; something that helps others identify with your struggle.
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3. Find your art in the midst of chaos
It’s important to remember that even if you don’t feel like your art is relevant or valuable, there are a lot of people out there who will be affected by it. Maybe they’ll identify with your pain, and maybe they won’t understand it at first glance. Try not to be discouraged by the fact that your art only seems to “speak” to a few individuals. Those people matter and it’s their presence in your life that matters most.
4. Give yourself a break
Art isn’t an obligation—it shouldn’t be something that makes you feel trapped or stressed out. In fact, it could be a positive force in your life that helps you overcome depression, and when you’ve reached your lowest point, giving yourself the break to focus on your art as a form of therapy is crucial.
5. Differentiate between “real” and “faked” depression
Artists often get depressed because they’re insecure about their talent and feel pressured by society to be an expert at something. When this happens, it’s easy for artists who are in the thick of it to start comparing themselves with other people who are on top of the industry. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and failure.
Artists really don’t have a higher level of depression than the rest of society. What makes me wonder about this is that a lot of people just don’t understand why artists are depressed. To them, it seems like an easy way to pass off a mental illness, but that isn’t always the case. Artists are happy with their work but society is not ready to accept their creativity.
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