I mentioned last week that I suffer from depression.
I’m not alone.
There are other ventriloquists I know that deal with this. Jay Johnson has spoken openly about it on his blog.
In the U.S.A. alone it is estimated that more than 15 million people suffer depression.
As an artist or creative person, it can be extremely debilitating. It led Robin Williams to his death. It has ended the lives of many who sought solace in drugs, only to die of an overdose.
Before I realized I had a problem, I thought my feelings were “creatively normal.” I had very high, highs and very low, lows. Mood swings that I attributed to what was happening in my life at the time.
When I had lots of shows, I often felt amazing. I thrived on the feedback from audiences. I got attention. I had money from the work so I could do things I wanted. I was impulsive to say the least.
During slow periods I missed the laughter and applause. I became withdrawn. I didn’t want to do anything.
Then it got worse. I didn’t want to leave the house. I attributed that to the fact I had returned from a long tour. I wanted to be home. I didn’t want to go out for dinner, I wanted it delivered. I didn’t want to see friends, I wanted to rest and become absorbed in the television.
When I stopped returning business phone calls – I knew I had a problem. The fact I didn’t care made things worse.
I went to a doctor and now I am on meds. It took awhile to balance things out. I’m not 100% sure I am back – but I feel better than I had in a long time.
I went to a therapist. That was hit or miss. I can’t say it helped but I can’t say it didn’t.
So why am I talking about it here?
Because if you are reading this, you may well be a creative type.
I’m not saying you will ever experience a level of depression that affects your work. Or that makes a major impact on your life. But if you ever do, or if you currently are – you are not alone.
It isn’t easy to reach out for help – but it beats the suffering that comes from dropping further into a hole.
If you ever need to talk, please reach out.