The Link Between Depression and Creativity

Posted on 14 January 2014

Random annoying quote:

Many experts believe mood disorders, like bipolar disorder and depression, may be linked to creativity, which might make these types of people more likely to choose an artistic career.

Let me start by saying, watch out for people who say things like “experts believe”. Which experts? Using what methodology, under what circumstances, and with what sample size? If we all simply believed generic experts as a way to determine our decisions, we would be buying every expensive hair product ever made.

Sensitive people go into the the arts. Their sensitivity makes it possible for them to experience a richer world than many people. When that experience is skillfully expressed, it becomes art. Sensitive people are going to be particularly vulnerable to social pressure and judgement. So, SURPRISE! they frequently have problems with depression.

Depression does not cause creativity. Our society causes creative people to be depressed.

Making the reverse assumption helps to perpetuate a toxic culture that refuses to take responsibility for their ill treatment of various groups of people. It’s not necessarily your fault for being depressed. Don’t let anyone romanticise depression such that you get stuck in it, thinking you need it to achieve your dreams. You don’t.

You do have to remain open to the ups and downs of life, grieving when you need to, rejoicing when you want to, and always ready to take chances when it comes to creative decisions and forming relationships. No one can promise these chances will always work out, but they are the seeds from which you will grow your finest works.

If you are depressed, find a counsellor you can talk to. Free yourself from any stigma attached to doing so. People are generally afraid of letting others grow and change, and therefore are going to be afraid of what counselling may do for you. Feel free to shop around, not all counsellors are equal. Feel confident enough in yourself to say, this counsellor isn’t for me, while still looking around for a good fit.

This world is messed up enough as it is. Untreated depression doesn’t help it. Your being up on that stage helping people to find a little joy and resilience, does. Know that what you are doing is important.

Peace and kindness,


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