Creativity, Balance, and Mental Health

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One of the hardest challenges for me, as a writer, is knowing when to push myself and when to stop.

It’s a depressive thing as much as a writing one. As I’ve touched on here before, I’ve been dealing with depression for several years. I’m a lot better than I was, but it’s one of those health issues that will probably never entirely go away.

Depression can be a bitch when it comes to creativity. It numbs the brain and wrecks your concentration. But one of the hardest things is knowing how to deal with it. Some days, I get sluggish, but what I need is to push on through. The satisfaction of achievement improves my mood and lifts me up. Other days, I get sluggish, and what I need is to stop. To let my brain rest and recuperate.

The problem is, those two sorts of days feel very, very similar, and it’s hard to analyse them from the inside. Doing what’s good for one can make the other worse. Trying to work out which it is is a total nightmare.

Whatever your mental health, getting the balance right is vital to creativity. Burning out can kill creativity as badly as giving up. I don’t have any easy answers, but just being aware of the problem is a good start.