Creativity, Depression, and Self Worth

imaginationHey all. This is a post that I was very unsure if I wanted to share with anyone. But if I’m suffering, I’m sure there are others out there who are also suffering.  So I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had low peaks, depression.  That kind of thing.  And I’ve blogged about the correlation between imagination and depression before.

I absolutely love being creative.  It’s my favorite thing about myself.  I love creating new worlds and exploring them through my writing.  I love creating new characters and getting to know them.  It’s my job and I love my job more than anything.  I don’t think I could stop writing if I tried.

As I said in my previous post, with all that imagination, that power to create worlds to play in…sometimes the real world pales in comparison.

Depression

That realization that you can’t live in the worlds you create, or just that the real world isn’t as spectacular as fiction, can be a huge blow.  You feel small and so very insignificant in the universe.  You’re just a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things.  And that’s only part of the issues that creative types tend to get saddled with.

People around you think that there should be more to show for your work.  Sometimes it feels like they’re waiting for you to present them with proof that you’ve topped the New York Times Best Seller List…and then obviously, you’ve done work.  But until that point, you don’t really have much to show except the hard copies of your books and maybe some remittance checks from Amazon.  You’re on your computer all the time, but how can they tell you’re actually working?

Having people make those off-hand comments hurts more than most are willing to admit.  Why don’t we have more to show for our hard work?  Why am I not on the best seller lists?  It’s not great for your self-worth, which we’ll get to in a bit.

So the world seems dull, you don’t have much to show for all the (hundreds of) hours of work you put in, and let’s not forget that writing can just be frustrating and depressing sometimes.  Writing is hard (and I love it), but it can be exceptionally frustrating at times.

Self Worth

I’ve never been great in the self-esteem department.  I’ve never thought very highly of myself.  But with my writing, I go through these cycles.  There are times that I think I’m on top of the world.  I’m an awesome writing and I can do absolutely anything.  And then there are other days that I question WHY I even try to keep this career going.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ever going to stop writing.  I just have my doubts some days.

There are some days where I just feel embarrassed by the work I HAVE put out.

There are days like today where I just feel terrible about my spot in life because I can’t support myself.  I have accomplished SO MUCH but I have so little to show for it.  I know its a game of patience, but there are times when I want my instant gratification.   There’s all these tiny reminders that I can’t support myself – much less buy the fun things I want.  I’m extremely hard on myself.

So its the job of the writer to pick themselves back up and keep working despite depression and constant reminders that they aren’t as successful as they want to be.

…is it worth it?

I wouldn’t trade what I have for anything in the world.  I’m building something for myself.  What I’ve done is something that I can call my own…and most of the time, I’m really proud of what I’ve done.

This hasn’t been the easy choice.  There are a lot of things that would be easier than trying to write full time.

And there are times that I just sit down and cry and wonder WHY I decided to do this to myself.

But then…I sit down and actually start writing again.  Or I get a glowing review from a friend or a fan.  Or I get that next proof copy of my novel.

And for now, that seems to be enough to help me through the depression and self-worth issues.  It’s enough to bring me back up.

Any other creative types suffering from depression and self worth issues?  How do you work through your issues?

~LL Lemke

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11 thoughts on “Creativity, Depression, and Self Worth

  1. Pingback: Best of 2013 – Blogs I Follow « The Books of Jobe

  2. Pingback: Continuing Creative Work When Depressed | Rants from a Starving Writer

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