Creative Depression (3/4): Recognise Your Achievements, Overcome and Adapt

“Each time we create we create something beautiful…”

At the end of the day, we are trying to dull a sense of failure. In order to do this, we have to understand what failure truly is. We also have to recognise that we are not failures in the common world. Each time we create we create something beautiful even though we may not see it through our own eyes; we have to learn to understand it in this manner.

A helpful way to dull the sense of failure for myself, is simply to write down my achievements. Perhaps I’ll look at the past week, month or year. Write everything down that you have achieved; and I mean everything. Nine times out of ten I’ll be astonished. I would have forgotten about certain things that perhaps before I hadn’t considered to be achievements, or maybe I forgot I had achieved something within the time frame set.

“…make a decision to ensure you don’t fail…”

It’s best to recognise your achievements to overcome any sense of failure. Think about your own wellbeing, your future and who you are and what you want to be. If we consider failure too much we’ll end up spiralling down again. It helps to understand that if something has gone wrong and you genuinely feel that you have failed then it is so, but make a decision to ensure you don’t fail again in the future; be selfish.

I’m being openly honest by saying that in order to rid a any sense of failure for the future, we have to be selfish. No one should have to suffer through depression, and if you are suffering with depression then there’s only one person who truly can help you to get out of it, and that is yourself. We may often try to fix the past but why not think about how you can fix the future instead?

So this is what I’d like you to do…

1. Get a pen and paper

2. Write down your achievements for the past year

3. Make note of the workflow you used in order to achieve it

4. How was this achievement made similar to others in your life?

5. Adapt it and make it better for the future

If you read my previous post ‘Life vs Creativity (2/4): When in Your Life Were You Most Creative?’, you may find that thinking about when you most creative in your life and how that relates to your achievements will help you to adapt your life in the future in order to overcome any sense of failure.

I have no training in Clinical Depression, and these articles or any other I write are not done via official research into the subject, but simply a personal opinion on how depression can often relate to creative people.

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Creative Depression (2/4): When Two Worlds Collide

“A sense of failure comes in all walks of life…”

The people I most commonly meet on a day to day basis who suffer from depression are often creatives. Now this probably isn’t an original idea but something that crossed my mind significantly after multiple conversations, however there aren’t many people who aren’t creative in some shape or form. A sense of failure comes in all walks of life: Failure to full-fill your job role, failure in a relationship or marriage, failure as a parent or a friend; all will lead to the same feelings of hopelessness we can all recognise.

I personally find that if a ‘non-creative’ person is suffering from depression that it can often be dramatic, this may be due to the fact that they are not used to it; it may be completely alien to them to feel this way as there may be less room for error in their lives. As creatives daily failure is common, as the life of a creative enables more chances for failure over achievement, and we often thrive on searching for the errors that need to be fixed in creative ways; it’s why we’re called creatives.

“When you combine that striking blow at the same time as the creatives day-to-day sense of failure it can be life threatening”

The hardest part is when the worlds of a creative and a non-creative collide, and what I mean by this is that we all have to deal with life as much as any other person. A non-creative may not deal with the sense of failure as commonly as a creative does, but that sense of failure comes like a striking blow. When you combine that striking blow at the same time as the creatives day-to-day sense of failure it can be life threatening; and I don’t say that lightly. It can be absolutely devastating when everything mounts into an uncontrollable train of thought.

“…make a decision to change…”

Being creative at this stage can be horrible, as our creative brains simply try to come up with new ideas constantly to fix the error, but not coming up with the solution you need can simply lead to a never ending spiral of hopelessness and even more depression. A starting point to this may be to make a decision to change, and recognise that for this to stop happening in the future that we need to overcome and adapt our lives for a positive outcome.

I have no training in Clinical Depression, and these articles or any other I write are not done via official research into the subject, but simply a personal opinion on how depression can often relate to creative people.

Creative Depression (1/4): The Need to Create

“…a constant nagging sense of failure…”

Creatives thrive on the need to create, and in order to create there has to be something to achieve that hasn’t already. The drive to create is a constant nagging sense of failure until you have achieved your goal, but once said goal is achieved, we constantly think of the next goal ahead; and until then the sense of failure kicks in again.

A musician like myself may write a new piece of music, and for the few minutes whilst I’m listening to that newly finished piece of music I feel amazing; but what’s next? Instead of taking time to enjoy my achievement, I have an overwhelming desire to write another new piece of music, and until that new piece of music is finished I’ll often subconsciously feel that catastrophic sense of failure.

“…we constantly seek improvement…”

This brutal cycle that many of us may recognise can be the demise of the creative. Our brains constantly think about our next steps and we constantly seek improvement, but rarely recognise how we have improved through our previous works. It’s too easy to be overly critical of ourselves by focussing on the negative rather than the positive; but these feelings can be harnessed. Depression can be adapted and converted into a creative drive in order to cease any form of creative block in the future. That overwhelming sense of failure can actually be manipulated into working for us as creatives, rather than letting it spiral into a pool of self loathing.

“…recognise your need to create…”

Taking the first step to understanding that your creative depression may simply be caused by a need to create may help you to positively change your future. I touched on this previously when talking about ‘Life Vs Creativity’, as when you recognise your need to create, you can make a decision to enable that need, and by doing so you can enable your own success as creatives in the future.

I have no training in Clinical Depression, and these articles or any other I write are not done via official research into the subject, but simply a personal opinion on how depression can often relate to creative people.

News: February

This month is a bit of a turning point in my life. I’ve made many decisions to move forward looking toward the future, and a lot of my days have been spent planning work, money, time, and of course what I want to do with all of it.

I’m hoping this year to focus on quality over quantity, I’d made plans previously about a few releases this year, but have decided that after the mishap and delay of my Human Imperfections EP that I need to spend more time on myself rather than stressing about getting things done, but at the same time I feel that I’d like to make sure whatever I do this year is to the best of my abilities.

To add to this, a wonderful new opportunity cropped up during January, in which I was asked to do music for a feature length film this year. This is something I’ve never done before, and I’m really excited. My efforts for the next month or so will be purely focused on material for that rather than another EP release over the summer; however I feel that throughout this process I may of course come up with some stuff that I think suitable for yourselves to hear, so anything I feel won’t be used in the film will be put together for yourselves.

A couple of things before I finish up…

NEXT GIG

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Also, please take some time to check out Bywyd Studios, some guys I’ve met through gigging have spent their hard earned money and time putting together a great little studio in Cardiff. The quality of their work is awesome, so please follow them on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc for regular updates and info on what they do.

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Life vs Creativity (1/4)

“…your standard day to day workings that take up your creative time.”

Many things can get in the way of our creativity. I often refer to this as ‘Life’; by this I mean your standard day to day workings that take up your creative time. If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to deal with life in such way, then I salute you, you’ve hit the jackpot, but there are so many creatives I know that commonly struggle with this.

Creatives use their talents on a daily basis, but often struggle to create what they really want to themselves. Perhaps they’re a composer working hard writing music for film and television, but would prefer to be writing their own symphony. A cameraman filming daily, yet never directing their own film. A writer/journalist reporting everyday, yet never able to write their own story. I personally spent a year teaching music technology, only wishing the whole time to be making music for myself rather than teaching others.

“…should we really do this to our own detriment?’

Now this may appear selfish. Why have a talent and not use it to help others? This is true, and I agree that we should always help others when we can. We should use what we have learned in life to teach and guide others, but should we really do this to our own detriment? I recently had a conversation with someone about this such subject, people who study in order to go straight into teaching. It is something I can’t quite comprehend, as we all need to experience life in one way or another before passing on our experiences, and when moving straight into teaching after study, when have we had the time to experience the real world? Teaching is certainly a great way to earn a living and find fulfillment, but what does it cost in terms of our own creativity? Does it allow us to truly be creative for ourselves?

I’m not going to concentrate on teaching but thinking about that time in my life led me review my own ‘creative life’. I began to map out when I had been the most creative and what I was doing at that moment. Previously I’ve spoken about Planning Creativity which has been the first step to making sure I allow myself to be creative, but in the past I hadn’t needed to plan. It led me to think; “Why was that?”.

“…is it going to be a never ending battle between the two?’

As we grow older life begins to throw more and more our way. We may find a day job that we enjoy to earn our keep or a partner share our time with as we being to settle down. We begin to consider what the future holds for us, but where in that future is our creativity? Is there enough space to allow life and creativity to live happily side by side or is it going to be a never ending battle between the two?

This is a question that we have to decide for ourselves as it will never naturally sway either way. It involves our own discipline to get things done; to plan ahead and choose our own path in the creative world.

If you’re like me, and have decided for certain that you want creativity to be part of your life in a more established way, then over the next few blogs I’ll be going through a few steps I’m taking in order to achieve this. It involves dedication, discipline, time, organisation, inspiration, willingness, sacrifice, energy, and above all –  Patience.