Tag Archives: depression

Dueling Forces–Creativity and Its Enemies

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Photo Credit: Micaela Parente on Unsplash.com

The more time I give to writing, the more I realize my creativity has “enemies”–things that can sap my creativity if I let them. Some are external, some internal; some are physical, mental, or emotional, but I need to be aware they can appear, and be prepared to deal with them.

“Enemies” of creativity:

  1. Tv shows which have violent, sexual, or just plain stupid content. That mental garbage stays in my mind too long.
  2. News programs–while most end with a positive, heartwarming story, 98% of the coverage is negative. I can’t do anything about the bad stuff. I can easily slide into despair, and that sabotages my creativity.
  3. Workplace gossip and drama. Again, it’s negative, not anything I can do about, and provokes anxiety.
  4. Physical aches and pains–if they are bad enough to be all-consuming. Normally, focusing on writing pushes whatever pain I may have away. I don’t have any pain. But if the pain is severe enough, it’s all I notice, and I have a real battle on my hands to do anything that is the least bit creative.
  5. Perfectionism–a “natural” enemy of creativity, because perfectionism demands perfection, and creativity can’t be forced into the confines of perfection. Creativity requires a sense of freedom, and perfectionism and that sense of freedom are at odds.
  6. Depression–another “natural” enemy of creativity. Depression sometimes comes as a result of physical pain.
  7. Low self-esteem–no surprise, because if you think lowly of yourself, you’ll feel as though you don’t have anything inside you to create with.
  8. Little self-care–this goes along with depression; low self-esteem, and perfectionism (perfectionists are often unrealistically hard on themselves and don’t allow themselves to get the support they need, whether that’s a massage or making a needed doctor’s visit, or whatever).
  9. Clutter–whether it’s physical clutter like papers all over the desk, dust bunnies in plain sight (not even hiding under the bed), or mental clutter such as bitterness, un-forgiveness, resentment, or a tightly-scheduled to-do-list, clutter can be highly detrimental to creativity.
  10. Giving too much weight to other people’s negative opinions of your creative expression. Years ago, a family member told me that “I’d never make any money writing”. I allowed that to squelch my desire to write for a long time. (BTW: that person was wrong; I’ve already made a little bit of money writing. I’ve also received much joy.)

I’ve been thinking of ways to fight these enemies. Creativity means too much to give up without a fight.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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Filed under Creativity, Life Issues, Writing

Depression–“a heavy spirit”

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The past six months I’ve been hit by a variety of health issues. Among them was a bout with depression, that darkness my doctor called “a heavy spirit”. For me, I felt as though my spirit was being crushed. I couldn’t find joy in the simple things I usually find joy in; I couldn’t get relief in the simple ways I could before; I felt as though I could cry at the drop of a hat; I had to push myself to do normal, everyday responsibilities. Continue reading

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–How to Live in Fear–Mastering the Art of Freaking Out

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

I first came across How to Live in Fear–Mastering the Art of Freaking Out in a Christian bookstore. I thought that was a little strange, with a title like that. “Fear” and “Christian”  don’t go together. But the longer I leafed through the pages, the more I realized the title fit perfectly with the theme: being able to live with faith in God while having anxiety/panic attacks.

Pastor Lance Hahn has experienced severe anxiety attacks since boyhood. For a few years the attacks left, then they came roaring back into his life. He describes what it’s like to be a Christian, and the senior pastor of a large church–a pastor who suffers from panic attacks. Continue reading

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Five Ways To Help Someone Who Is Dealing With Depression — Thought Catalog

It is so easy to feel helpless when watching someone you love struggle but there are several things you can do to help.

via Five Ways To Help Someone Who Is Dealing With Depression — Thought Catalog

I saw this post on the Reader. This is a very good article. I have not looked at the whole Thought Catalog site, so I can’t vouch for it, but this article is definitely worth taking the time to read.

P. Booher

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January 23, 2019 · 10:53 pm

Diving Into A Sea of Books–The Perfectionist’s Handbook

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

The Perfectionist’s Handbook, subtitled Take Risks, Invite Criticism, and Make the Most of Your Mistakes by Jeff Szymanski, PhD, a self-described perfectionist and clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), is mainly for people who think their perfectionism generally works well for them, but want to know  when it may drift into unhealthy territory, and how to cope with any tendencies perfectionism brings that they don’t want to have.

Dr. Szymanski describes differences between “healthy” and “unhealthy” perfectionism. He gives the pros and the cons of perfectionism. When serving the person, perfectionism can be good, but taken to the extreme, this mindset can quickly become the master of the person, resulting in serious problems.

I like the way the author uses stories from his life to illustrate what he means. He never “talks down” to the reader. He does refer to a lot of studies, which to this layperson, grew tiresome to read. However, it shows he did his research.

To me, the author generally takes an optimistic view of perfectionism. For differing views of perfectionism, check out How to be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise and the BBC Future article, “The dangerous downsides of perfectionism” http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180219-toxic-perfectionism-is-on-the-rise). The article links the mindset to OCD, anxiety, self-mutilation, depression, and other problems, with the worst being early mortality and suicide.

As a person realizing the damage I allowed perfectionism to do, I didn’t find The Perfectionist’s Handbook as helpful as I thought it would be.  For my part, I see perfectionism as an enemy; it brings on low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Striving for excellence is good; beating myself up when I don’t reach my standards is not.

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Slaying The Giant–Practical Help for Understanding, Preventing, Overcoming Depression

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration, or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”.  As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Slaying The Giant–Practical Help For Understanding, Preventing, Overcoming Depression by French O’Shields is one of the few books I’ve read that can literally be a life-saver. The author, a pastor afflicted with  clinical depression after a physical condition brought an end to his pastoral work, is well-qualified to write about depression, both as a pastor and a former sufferer. The depression he went through was not simply “the blues” but rather the kind that sucks all joy out of life.

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Something To Give When I Thought I Had Nothing

Some years ago following the death of a family member, I was restless and depressed. Too much time on my hands meant I was thinking too much about myself and my loss. I felt empty; I felt as though I had nothing to give to anyone.

Someone suggested contacting a local pastor’s wife. She was looking for some volunteer help for a short-term project. I knew the pastor’s wife; she served as volunteer coordinator for the town library when I volunteered there years before.

I called her; she wanted someone, preferably with library knowledge but not a church member, to reorganize the church library. Since I had experience working in the town library but wasn’t a member of the church her husband led, I met her preferences.

Reorganizing the church library turned out to be one of the best jobs, paid or unpaid, I’ve ever had. It rescued me from the doldrums and morass of self-pity I fell into. It taught me that even when I thought I had nothing to give, I did have something to give.

If you are feeling down and stuck, look around! Someone may be seeking a person just like you to lend a helping hand–a person who thinks he has nothing to give.

P. Booher

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