Mental Health or Creativity?

What is my creativity worth?

Is it worth the lows of depression? Is it worth the dark walks? If it means being free of days unable to function, can I give up the ability to tell stories? If I give up the hollow heart, must I also give up dreamed-up skies?

Can I give up my creativity if it means giving up my depression?

Is it worth it?

They tell me that depression meds can affect creativity. I’ve seen it happen with some friends in the past. There’s something about depression that causes someone to long for another world, and that seems to kick up the creativity.

Well, I’ve been on depression meds for about three weeks now. Though I was diagnosed years ago, I stayed off meds initially because I was fine with just counseling. For the last year or so, though, it had been getting worse and worse, and I decided it was time to try out some meds. My doc agreed.

And for the last three weeks, I haven’t been able to write anything creatively.

I get along fine with my normal day-to-day activities, mostly. As a pastor, I’m still able to write sermons that explain God’s Word. Apparently I can still do storytelling, as I was able to read my own story last week to a group of fifth graders. I also was able to use creative storytelling at a Bible study this week with a woman who had never heard one of my favorite Bible accounts.

But when it comes to creating out of whole cloth?

Apparently, at least at the moment, I’ve lost the ability.

I don’t know if it’s the meds, honestly. This time of year, when the heat first starts hitting, has become rough on me. I just melt when the humidity starts cranking up, and that extra exhaustion might just be me being a wimp. And I have been a lot more tired lately, causing a lot of frustration.

But if it is the meds, then I need to ask: What is my creativity worth?

I’ve talked with some other writers. They tell me that yes, the meds do affect them, but they’re able to write even through it. Maybe it’s something I can get used to.

Or maybe this particular med isn’t for me; there are plenty of options, and this is just option number one. My doc is great about communication and being willing to try other things, so this isn’t the end of the road for medications. I’ve been so much more tired. Though I’m not stuck in bed because of depression, I’m now stuck in bed because of exhaustion! So maybe this just isn’t the right med.

Or maybe I’m still in my adjustment period – it has only been three weeks. Maybe the tired will wear off, and I’ll be able to find a way back to creativity.

Basically, it’s not like I’m really facing the option of (depression + creativity) or (no depression + no creativity). There’s a lot of steps before I would have to figure that out.

But… it’s something I’ve been struggling with. I miss writing. I miss creating worlds out of nothing and populating them with characters out of my head.

I’m hoping the ability comes back. I’m hoping that I can either fight through the fog and reclaim it with work or whatever it is that’s currently blocking me – whether it be meds or the weather itself – gets out of my way.

In the meantime… well, apparently I can still write blog entries.

So, at least I got that going for me.

How about you? Have you had to face the choice of creativity or mental health? What did you choose, or how did you find a balance that worked for you?

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

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