Creative & Depression The True Battles Within!
A comedian Brody Stevens that I followed committed suicide on Friday. I discovered his video by accident. He was doing his daily steps, trying to walk the feeling of depression away. He shared his story of struggling as a comedian. I watched the twenty-four-minute video and as a creative I felt his every battle with acceptance, trying to secure the bag and his fears. He started his meds, Lexapro about a week ago. I thought to myself do we check on our friends that smile? Do we check on our creative friends?
I know for me as a writer and creative the struggle is real when trying to get people to accept your talents and to see your art as actual work. To be accepted is whether we feast or fathom. The summary is most folks don’t understand if our craft doesn’t pay we don’t eat. Whether it is acting, dancing, singing, writing or being a comedian our job is based on three out of every five Joe or Joanna wants to act, sing, dance or write. Though our talents are a gift not everyone will accept our works. Sometimes for some of us, we go hard, we are on a team of no sleep to perfect our craft. When rejected, unaccepted, and downright burned out let me say depression will sets in. I write from what I know. I live with it every day.
Depression is a disease of loneliness, of feeling misunderstood and unaccepted especially in the creative being. Simple anecdotes won’t cure our blues. Most of us have therapists on speed dial and medication to take. We cringe when a friend or family members lie and say, “I’m going to read your book, listen to your song, like a post.” For us, it is more than marketing it is our lifeline. It is those thoughts that we face and every creative being has had to contend with on a regular basis.
We All Want Our Talents To Be Accepted and Liked!
No matter the quotes or bullshit people post folks about not wanting to be accepted. People who are damn good at what they do want to be liked and loved for their talent. People want to be acknowledged so today while checking up on your strong friends acknowledge their gifts and talents. I made a vow that it is my human and creative right and it is nothing wrong with it. It is why we post on social media, and folks seek the love of their peers. I am not wrong though folks try to feed you bullshit on a stick it is not normal. Riddle me this then why are you vying for attention, likes and hearts?
I thought of a quote by James Baldwin, “And this was perhaps the first time in my life that death occurred to me as a reality. I thought of the people before me who had looked down at the river and gone to sleep beneath it. I wondered about them. I wondered how they had done it — it, the physical act. I had thought of suicide when I was much younger, as, possibly, we all have, but then it would have been for revenge, it would have been my way of informing the world how awfully it had made me suffer. But the silence of the evening, as I wandered home, had nothing to do with that storm, that far off boy. I simply wondered about the dead because their days had ended and I did not know how I would get through mine.”
The creative person is battling to reach to the top, to make it to the big leagues, and real talk rejection hurts but a thousand rejections can cause bouts of feeling lost in your career choice. The starving artist is dealing with being broke, lonely, angry & horny. The starving artist sometimes has to push their dreams to the side to survive to do a job they hate. Some of us work at it for hours on end because of our passion to become the best.
I’ve learned that creatives lend their talents to make others happy for two reasons to be accepted and to wash away someone’s feeling of worthlessness. I thought of Robins Williams who made the world laugh but was crying inside. I thought of Steven Brody and many others battling their demons of depression by bringing laughter and joy. Writers who write for free to bring hope. Actors who gift their craft. Dancers who take to the subway and streets. Musicians who play from the streets to the subways of Time Square to cure what ails them. The artist who paints and share with the world. We want to bring happiness and to be embraced simply because of our talents.
Check on Your Smiling and Creative Friends
Have you told them that they are damn good at what they do? Did you leave a review and share their works on social media? I am just saying. Stevens Brody painted the perfect sad picture. He painted his fears and rejections and worries. The hours he worked to perfect his skits, touring and feeling as if he one step from becoming an Uber driver versus living his best life doing what he loves. Creatives especially artists & writers live a lonely life. We have to sit in front of a computer crafting a novel, memoir and not know if it is only to be rejected, not well received. The shit can be devastating. Check on them and ask about their work, offer to read their books, go with them to practice, offer to sit in on an audition or go to their art exhibit. You might be the reason they continue on.
To my Creative Posse
Today, let’s stop fronting and acting as if we don’t want to be accepted. We want the world to know we are here. That every musician you want your song to be heard. For every artist you want your painting to be seen and writers want their books, blogs, and essays to be read. We all win at what we love doing. We want to do what we love and get a paycheck for it. It is nothing wrong with it. It is okay, to be honest with ourselves and say, “today, I am depressed about my career and I want acceptance.” Fuck what people may think or say. It is your truth and the most harmful thing we can do is lie to ourselves about what we want in life.
Just like Brody he wanted acceptance, he wanted to beat depression and win at something but he lost hope and felt defeated. My thoughts are depression is on so many levels that we just want to deal with the surface and not our truths. Today, I just want to say I see your hard work, your talents and please fight for your life. Believe me, we are not alone in this battle. If you are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1–800–273–8255 or visit their website www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org