I suffer from depression . . . clinical, chronic, cyclic depression. There. I said it. Many creative people do. And, I imagine, many non-creative people do. Maybe even you do.
I happen to be in a depressive cycle as I write this, which is why I started a blog and then let it sit for a few weeks with no follow up. It doesn’t just effect my blog writing; it effects every fiber of my creative being. Really. How can I create when all I feel like doing is sitting in a darkened room staring at the walls? No, it’s not really that bad but I do spend an inordinate amount of time staring at a computer screen with nothing productive to show for it.
Sometimes, I can pull myself up and out of the cycle by doing little scribble art cards or writing in my journal or coming up with new recipes. But lately I can’t seem to do any of those. So, you can imagine how surprised I was to wake up two mornings ago with words floating in my mind. I couldn’t make sense of them and, frustrated, I got out of bed and showered. As I was showering I realized that the words were speaking to me about how it feels to be depressed. I sat down with a pen in hand and quickly wrote a short poem, something I’ve been unable to do in months.
Without A Poem
Words crow salutations to the sun,
their black wings beating in my soul.
I cannot make sense of them.
Their sounds swirl in airless skies,
spewing nonsense onto my skin.
I sleep again
without a poem to sing me alive.
Yes, it sounds despairing, that poem. But those words came from my creative spirit which is still there, alive, under the dullness of depression. And that little poem brings me hope much like Emily Dickinson wrote more than a hundred years before me: “Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul, / And sings the tune without the words, / And never stops at all. . .”
I guess the moral of the story is to listen to yourself. Even when you are too sad, depressed, stressed, busy, or angry to create, your inner creative spirit will let itself be known to you by the fluttering of hope’s wings and a wordless tune.