artists with depression?

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  07 July 2013
artists with depression?

kinda touchy subject, I know, but I have been wondering how many of you may deal with depression issues, and how you manage to balance that with your work? With stress and deadlines being a big part of our jobs, does depression make these even harder to deal with? Do you miss a lot of work days? what about medication? do you find this improves things or takes away ur creativity? I know a lot of studies have shown that depression is particularly common with creative people so i am guessing if thats true then there may be quite a lot of people here who deal with it, and am interested to hear your experiences.

and I guess one of the other big questions is: do u tell your employer about it? Are people in the creative world more accepting of mental health problems than the corporate world, or are we just as susceptible to stigma?
  07 July 2013
I found that not working goes a long way to curbing depression.

Seriously, though, one of the most amazing things I discovered back in the hectic days of crunch times and yelling managers was that a change in diet had a huge impact. I also got a Juiceman II juice machine and used it daily. Aside from getting in better shape, I notice that stress seemed to bounce off like bullets off the Man of Steel. It didn't matter how much yelling was going around.

Also was great around flu season.
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  07 July 2013
Interesting question and raises a lot of points to debate. May I ask what made you post this?

My point of view on the topic is that depression is a side-effect from mental distress. Distress that could be caused by many factors. It could be difficult to describe this, but the best way I can put it is when I started to work in a more corporate high stress environment I started to question my routine a lot. Somehow I knew that I was not happy, but from everything we learn growing up there was no reason not to be. This is probably why you mention that creatives seem to suffer from it more. We're essentially asked to have such a huge mental library of ideas, while unable to apply those ideas to society. So we notice the flaws, the pains and what could be different.

It's also a learning experience, if you let it. Kind of like the wall when trying to learn something new, which seems to not exist when you're past it. The depression subsides when you rationalise the problem. While it is still an unknown it is a constant hindrance and toll on the mind. The only real solution I found was to change industry, moving from 3d for advertising to coding/making robotics, which is still basically animation but realworld instead of trying to be only photoreal.

I know this could be completely different for other people, but thought I'd share my perspective a little.
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by rende: coding/making robotics...

Hm, this sounds intriguing . Can you share a little more about this topic?
If it's not real-time, it's a piece of shit not a state of the art technology" - me

magic happens here... sometimes
go nodeway
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by mantragora: Hm, this sounds intriguing . Can you share a little more about this topic?

Don't want to hijack the thread, but okay lets digress a little from the topic. If you need more information I'll do a more in depth writeup or whatever is needed. It is hugely interesting and fun area and I would highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested.

About a year or so ago started playing around with arduino, lots of information on this online. It allows you to control electronics.Lights, motors, sensors, knobs pretty straight forward. Awesome fun, kinda feels like magic

Then the real magic starts when you can transfer commands back a forth between the electronics and your computer. This can be done through processing, python, unity or nodejs.

The first thing I wanted to build was a 3D printer. So we did that. Its about 600 lines of code in total, 1 file for the arduino and 1 for the controlling pc. You can see a lot on it here: arrowprint

So now we're building a bigger better one and using the 3d printer to build/print other machines and reusing a lot of the code.
  07 July 2013
This reminded me of the time I was working 70-80 hours a week as a 3d artist in an architectural company....the pay was good but in order for me to be happy I need balance in my life. I used to come home real late at night and all I had time for was take a bath and go to sleep, then wake up again to do the same thing I was getting so depressed I had a mental breakdown in front of my boyfriend(who is now my husband :-) ) When I worked long hours, I didn't have time to even go to the gym and I felt disgusted. Anyways, I am happier now because I have time to rejuvenate and enjoy other aspects in life with my current job. I love 3d but too much of it can kill me I need variety in life

Last edited by MissOptimist : 07 July 2013 at 09:37 PM.
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by rende: If you need more information I'll do a more in depth writeup or whatever is needed.

Yeah, there is a topic here somewhere about other jobs where 3D can be used. Maybe it doesn't fit there specifically (more programming job) but I would love to hear more and it looks like a good place to expand a little more on this and ask questions. Maybe someone remembers the name of the topic?
If it's not real-time, it's a piece of shit not a state of the art technology" - me

magic happens here... sometimes
go nodeway
  07 July 2013
Depression is a nasty thing to have, but the first step in dealing with it is in acknowledging that you have it and then identify what the cause of it is. From experience, if you don't do that then you end up living with your misery for more years than you should have to endure.

First port of call is to see if your health is in order: sleep, plenty of water & fibre and 20 minutes of daily cardio should suffice. Second is to check to see if you are expecting too much of yourself. Third is to see if you are being bullied at work, and if you are then look into getting advice from a relevant source such as a union...or your parents, teacher, priest or rabbi. The majority of workers usually put up with abuse simply because they do not know what their rights are...or forget to pack their Smith & Wesson in the mornings.

Another suggestion: creative people obviously feel miserable if they cannot do the work they would like to do. If your job doesn't allow you to do it, then consider 15 minutes a day(if possible) at home. Sometimes doing it is enough to curb the negative thoughts and you can say "its happening...slowly, but its happening.".

But in the end it depends on what is causing the depression, as each solution will not be the same...
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  07 July 2013
I got out of the industry all together and went to uni to study something else entirely, which improved my work/life balance out of sight. I still teach animation but it's meant that I'm able to have vastly reduced work hours and much better quality of life.

I was able to do that though because I had no debt, no family depending on me and by that point had come off a month of pretty much every waking moment spent at work, which caused a massive burn out, possible depression, I was flat, exhausted, hadn't seen any of my friends in a month or had the time to do anything social, so getting out entirely meant that I could actually enjoy animation and art and meant I had enough time to focus on other interests.
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  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by Boone: But in the end it depends on what is causing the depression, as each solution will not be the same...

This is the most important point made in this thread so far. The only thing I recommend to everyone is to at least try meditation of some kind. If you can teach yourself to soothe and calm yourself down fairly quickly, it's a fantastic tool (and honestly one most people could use whether or not they have depression).

For me, depression was about a 99% biochemical issue -- I could understand what was happening, know what my normal response to things would be, and absolutely couldn't function because I couldn't have the normal response. Having gone through several medications and had some very good doctors, we finally found something that works. I went from firmly believing that the world suffered for having me in (despite also knowing that it wasn't true) to, well, knowing that it isn't true and actually believing it. In my case, no amount of therapy would have helped, because I already knew that the things I was thinking weren't true and mostly made no sense. It would have been like trying to talk my way out of low blood sugar or a broken bone. I mention this because there are a lot of people who seem to think that using medication is a sign of weakness or toxic or 537 other reasons they don't like it/don't want you to do it. I think people should know that it isn't, and that there are instances where it's absolutely the right answer. It can also be helpful in short-term cases where you use it to function while you train yourself to react differently to things if your depression is from other sources.

As to whether or not medication impacts creativity, I'm certainly not less creative. It is different, though. I don't often have as strongly negative emotions tied in to the work I do, and I find it more of a challenge to impart a visceral reaction if I do want to make something that's depressing or the like. That's not to say that I can't do it, but I have to put more of a conscious effort in to it. Before the depression was treated, it was much easier to just draw on what I was feeling at the time. On the other hand, I can work regularly now and don't find myself spending time berating myself or denigrating my work. That tradeoff is more than worth it to me. It can be more difficult to work at first when you start medication because there's an adjustment period, but I don't think that's limited to creative endeavors. It's more a matter of (re-)learning how to have a range of emotions and what to do with them.

Right now, I'd only discuss it with an employer if it was impacting my ability to work. Since it doesn't any more, it's unlikely to come up. If I was just starting on medications, I might need to take some time off while I adjusted. If that was the case, disclosure would depend on how well I knew them. In the US, there's no obligation to disclose what your illness is when you're taking time off for health-related reasons, so if I didn't know them well or thought they wouldn't react well, I wouldn't bring it up. Unfortunately, stigma against depression still exists everywhere, and there are people who are wholly clueless about it. I've even had health professionals criticize me for not "getting over it". (If that happens, don't go back to those people. Find new doctors.) Never be afraid to fire a doctor/therapist/etc. who isn't a good fit for you. Also, if you have a friend or family member who you trust, take them with you to the first appointment. They can help you remember what's said and tell them things you may not have noticed.
The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself. - Rita Mae Brown
  07 July 2013
Really good subject superhooman I'm glad you brought it up. My personal experience with depression is a bit different to what others have mentioned. I have a number of family members that suffer with depression and the most striking thing is you often need someone else to point it out to you before you realise you are suffering from depression.

I spent about 10 years believing that everything else was the problem. For example wrong job, bad relationship, terrible boss, no money etc. So I went about changing all those things. I now have a great job, great relationship (getting married on Sunday), consistently getting top grades on MA course and no money worries I thought things would balance out. But they haven't it's only now when everything else in my life was great that I realise the depression must be down to medical reasons and nothing to with lifestyle. That was quite a revelation.

It's interesting that rende mentioned making robotics. I find that when I am depressed something specific has triggered it and it's very hard to stop thinking about that one thing.
The best thing for me is to put the work down and focus on some other aspect of work.

Technical or repetitive tasks I have no problem doing when depressed and writing is also less of a problem but putting pen to paper is a nightmare.

If managing the workload in that way is not possible then sometimes I just have power on through and hope for the best.

It also helps having a physical part-time job where I can switch off and complete task after task. If I was working full time doing creative work I think I would find the creative work harder.
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  07 July 2013
hello, my way to manage depression is to just become aware that I'm a human being and that Im allowed to make mistakes, not a perfect being unable to sleep or feel or make mistakes.

I keep doing my own stuff aside my job, but I too feel Im becoming a money slave.

here's a blog article that became very controversial, I think it was posted here before, and is not that I agree with the content but in the comments you can see a lot of points of view about work, life and creativity, I hope you overcome this.
  07 July 2013
Interesting things for me said Rende - about changing industry. From my childhood I have method for make myself happy if something goes wrong: if something goes wrong - then do something other which go for me better. If I have problems in school - then I play piano in home. If I have problems with piano - then I ran (jogging) and many other examples. But this not always wrong. Changing industry isn't always possible.

Is strange for me working for more that 40 hours a week. This can bring us to depression. Money isnt most important in life. What about our wifes and childrens, friends. So for me second method to prevent depression is working not too much. When I work as freelancer then I have more depression than today - when I working in company. For me - for now is better to be employed than freelancing.

and maybe this is strange for you - I think that sometimes depression is good. If depression is caused by deep thinking about big problems then depression can be first stage to bringing good solution. If we saw problem and we go behind and don't trying fight with problem because we scare then we probably don't experience depression. But if we fighting with problems - then sometimes this can put us into depression.

For me depression isn't problem. I sometimes experience something what can be named as depression but always this depression is tool for me to rethinking my life.

And most important for me with depression-related experiences is faith. I belief that Jesus Christ is my friend. I talk with Him and He brings me thinking better than CG. Faith compared to work is like ocean compared to one drop of water.
  07 July 2013
i think artists arent so depressed when they are free to explore the world..

when they are sitting at computer benches all day, straining to get a nice shot on their showreel, then they get depressed.
  07 July 2013
There are a lot of misconceptions about depression in this thread, which is a bit frustrating to see considering how much effort has been put into awareness campaigns and such to educate people about depression as an illness. For many people, specifically those with clinical depression, it's not something they can just snap out of by making a few changes. Depression is just as debilitating an illness as any other, it's not simply "all in the mind", and yet sufferers continue to experience stigmatisation and a lack of sympathy from both their peers and their employers.

It's shameful.
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