Depression is a sign of Spiritual Awakening. The artist is more susceptible to depression because of the way we must lay ourselves out for public scrutiny. The big mistake that most artists make is that they medicate themselves or distract themselves from it and in some cases attempt to destroy their body. If you are a little pre-mature in this process, some medication may be a short term requirement to get you back in your right mind yet depression is a symptom. A sign that transformation is available if you are ready to take that, inevitable step. Depression is an opportunity for the artist to transform.
A Course In Miracles has shown to me to embrace the depression and be COMPLETELY depressed. The nature of the world is that you can not be COMPLETELY anything and there in lies the problem. When you compare your depression with a memory of when you were not depressed, why not just BE completely depressed? What’s wrong with being depressed? Stop fighting it! Just “fall” into it. As an artist I am doing it all the time. Yet I can only respond to it in the moment that I have the feeling…”Why is this not working?”, “What am I doing?”, “Why isn’t my artwork selling?”, “Should I stop being an artist?” No one can answer any of those questions. The compromise is where the conflict is. I think Jesus would say “resist Not evil”. Your resistance IS what the problem is.
“Don’t hide it away in embarrassment or sedate yourself from it”
So often you’re told to “fight on!” or “present a positive self image” or “buck up, everything will be just fine”, excuse my French, but fuck that! It’s time consuming, usually painful and often just pushes it down the road. Here’s the secret about wholeness, when you allow yourself to be completely depressed, you become whole and because there is no opposition IN wholeness there is nothing against you (insert miracle here). The depression transforms! I guarantee that you can’t be COMPLETELY depressed for more than an instant. There’s no guarantee your artwork will be any better (giggle) but I know your depression will be gone. Speaking from very deep experience. It doesn’t matter what comes next, that will be whatever it is. Like any trap you may set for yourself depression is an opportunity. If you don’t hide it away in embarrassment or sedate yourself from it then there is a joyful undoing awaiting. The thing that is undone isn’t True and you can get back to being an artistic expression of a Self made whole because fear and depression didn’t man-handle you into yet greater darkness.
Success As An Artist?
Society may still equate success through winning awards and selling lots of artwork, yet money is a by-product. It can’t genuinely reflect the effort made in a necessity to creatively express the problem and it’s solution, as a market place commodity. Your artwork doesn’t need to be a commodity, the conceptual artist of the 70’s showed us that. Yet what is wanted/required from you (even if society doesn’t know it yet) is an authentic expression of your whole Self, however that is made manifest. Will you be loved and adored and famous and respected? Probably not, but the artist that is working only for that IS the thing that needs to be transformed.
And so this is what I do, I teach my depression as an active part of my transformation, as a complete part of who I know myself to be, as an artist. Just as no one can question your decision to be awake, no one can question your title as an artist, except you. This is just a step and beyond this I really can not say but now you know how to deal with depression or any other “opportunity” that presents itself, and as an artist you will get plenty of opportunities. I sincerely hope that helps you rethink your depression when next it presents itself.