Life as a Writer and Creator with Depression: A Reflection

Depression is something I have struggled with for a while, it was never the easiest thing to help those in my life truly understand, as well as myself, so to give my  heart and mind some sort of healing, I would write about everything, especially about my depression. My grandmother had been sick with cancer, dementia and many other health problems for a few years and her condition worsened within this last year. Unfortunately,  this summer my grandmother passed away and I literally felt as though I hit rock bottom. My depression went from something I thought was only temporary to something that seemed to never go away, something that seemed permanent. I still have moments where I feel I will never get past this hurt, moments where the pain feels unbearable, and though I have tried to cope the best way I can, it hasn’t made it any easier to deal with journeying through daily life. It has been something I had been ashamed of, something I would try to hide to the point it only made my depression feel a lot more difficult to cope with.

In my experience, I tried to heal by staying busy which seemed to be impossible, I tried opening up to friends and that seemed to only cause more problems. I turned to the one thing I knew best that always seem to help me see the light at the end of the tunnel, I tried to use my writing as my way to heal but I just could not seem to find the words to express exactly what I was feeling, which drove me crazy. I had all these feelings, all these thoughts I felt I needed to release and I couldn’t. Many times I felt alone, I felt I had no one to talk too, I felt misunderstood, because everyone I seemed to talk to started to make me feel worse about myself, ashamed, embarrassed, because I was simply going through something they had never been through, something they couldn’t understand. Writing has always been my way of expressing my pain in the ways I couldn’t express it to friends, family, or even a therapist. It was always my escape. I felt like I lost the one thing, that seemed to guide me. Lately it hasn’t been easy to write, so I searched for other things to help me cope. I had never been put in the position where the one thing that was keeping me from drowning, wasn’t giving me much relief. For a while I stopped writing, especially about the things that were causing me pain, about how misunderstood and alone I felt and it seemed to only feel like it was causing me more pain and started to take a toll. What do you do when you’re a depressed writer who can’t find her voice?

I was in such a dark place, I felt completely detached from my emotions and how to deal with them all at once. My therapist suggested I start a mood journal, but I couldn’t begin to process the darkness to someone on the outside looking in, much less myself. So many of my deepest fears were too hard to put into words, and as of now it’s  honestly difficult to articulate what they are. Instead of writing, I started to do some research to see if there were other people like me: a college kid, dealing with depression, trying to be successful, make her family proud, be a good student, a good friend, be in good health and be great at your craft (mine being writing). There were so many people just like me. I started to research things they did when they felt like they were unable to write because of their depression. I learned that, Depression doesn’t help my creativity, but creativity can help my depression. Instead of trying to go full circle in on my writing, I started to do other things to express myself creatively to help my depression. I started drawing, I starting trying to write in other ways about other things, I wrote poems, attempted to write some songs, and I also wrote some letters to my grandmother.

I had a hard time writing and expressing myself the way I wanted too but I took the time to just write and be creative, even if it meant me not creating  your next New York Times Bestseller, a complete Masterpiece, or a hit song. I was being creative to find healing. My depression didn’t deepen my creativity, but it didn’t completely strip me of finding other ways to deal with it. I find that it can be next to impossible to truly create when we’re depressed, let alone do anything. My creativity helped me identify my depression, understand it, not feel ashamed about it,  and it helped me connect and engage instead of escaping. For anyone like me who has felt as though they have lost their voice, I suggest keeping a notepad, a journal, markers, pencils, crayons, or anything you can think of that can give you a little bit of hope to make it through the day. Take some time out to color, write, draw or paint out your mood in whatever way you can to match how you’re feeling, especially when you’re at your darkest point or feel as though you can’t find your voice. Though I still have had many days that have been hard, I try to understand that there is still beauty in the struggle, in your pain, in your grief, and even in your depression.

– Marquita DavisMarquita Davis

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