Depression and Creativity

How Finding Creativity Changed My Depressive Symptoms

May 8, 2017 by Michele 1 Comment

Not Completely Wreath Related, But Close

This post is a far cry from the usual.  I am a small business woman but that does not mean that I don’t have struggles.  As an entrepreneur, issues dealing with finances, marketing and social media are all common anxieties.  This one is not. The relentless struggle I have is living with Bipolar Depression and anxiety.  The symptoms are with me everyday.  From the time the alarm goes off in the morning to when I lay my head down at night.  It is not a made up illness; not something that I do for attention.  If I could make it disappear, I would, in a heart beat.
Sharing this private part of my life is not an easy one.  I am not looking for sympathy but I am hoping that my story resonates with someone and provides you with some encouragement and hope.  People think that when I tell them that making wreaths is my therapy, I am not joking.  I find comfort in creativity and sharing my gift with others.  It brings me joy and for the time I am in my creative zone, the symptoms seem long gone.
Too often, those suffering from mental illness are shunned into being silent about their sufferings.  The stigma attached causes society to look at mental health and those that live with it as pariahs.  I truly believe that because it has been a topic surrounded by stigma that if people don’t discuss it, they think that it does not exist.

My Revelation

I remember clearly the day when finding a hobby was a temporary cure for my symptoms.  My psychiatrist wrote out a prescription with the words “find a hobby by our next appointment”.  Hobby.  Are you kidding me?  How will that help with what I am feeling?  Little did I know that this “prescription” would be the best medicine.  The hard part was finding where to fill this prescription.  What would I enjoy?  What would I be good at?  Where do I begin?  These were all very important and pressing questions that needed answered before my next appointment.
Here is how it went.  I was at work and a co-worker brought in a deco mesh wreath she had made.  I had never seen one before and it was beautiful.  We sat down and talked and she informed me that she watched YouTube tutorials.  Thinking to myself, “I can do that”, I proceeded to watch videos all evening long.  Next questions was where to buy the supplies.  This may sound weird but I had never stepped foot into a Hobby Lobby.  Funny huh?
I researched supplies and ventured out to Hobby Lobby to purchase all of the supplies, went home and started my first deco mesh.  It was so much fun but boy was it ugly.  Honestly, it looked like someone had thrown up deco mesh all over my living room floor.  I continued to watch tutorial after tutorial to try to hone my skills.  Eventually, I was pretty good at it and began selling them.
My next doctor’s appointment went well.  I shared with him that I had found a hobby and that it was making all the difference in the world.  I am so glad that he not only suggested this, but made it a part of my treatment.

What Does This Mean For You

Now, I’m not saying that if you struggle with mental illness that wreath making will cure you or even finding a hobby will lessen the symptoms.  What I am saying is that you need to find something that gives you joy.  Self-care is so important with symptoms and a diagnosis of a mental illness.  Heck, self-care is important for everyone.  Having something that is strictly your own can be rewarding and literally decrease stress and anxiety in your life.
Do I still have bad days?  Of course.  Are there days when I can’t even begin to think about making a wreath?  Absolutely.  Do I second guess my choice and my ability to create?  You betcha I do.  Depression is a horrible disease.  Yes, I said disease.  It literally affects the chemicals in the brain.  Some days, I just need to rest and check out of the daily routine and that is Ok my friends.  Don’t beat yourself up over not accomplishing everything on your to-do list.  You and your well-being happens to be the most important item on your list.
I am so thankful for my creative outlet.  I applaud myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and finding something for myself.  A secondary effect of epiphany was finding my love of shopping for supplies.  One thing that did arise from my trips to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and online shopping is that I have a ribbon problem.  That’s ok though.  At least that is what I tell myself.  Haha.
My prescription to you is to find something that brings you joy.  Search out an activity that is your very own.  Start taking care of you and cut yourself a break every now and then.  You may be pleasing surprised at the difference it will bring to your mood and you everyday outlook on life.

My Prescription For You

Go out and create joy my friends.

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