A friend of mine who makes his living as an artist said the following:

"Depression is a fact of life for many creative people. My advice is to embrace it as a part of you. Because without it, instead of painting or writing a book or song, you'd likely be somewhere enjoying life and making lots of money."

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Clinical depression has PLAGUED me all of my life.  It helped destroy my marriage (although his issues played a huge part), affected my family and my ministry.  I refuse to willingly "embrace" anything remotely associated with depression.  Personally, I believe it's a demonic hold that feeds on our weak areas (knows where to take us out) and is actually an assignment against the body of Christ (especially creative and prophetic voices) in order to sap us of the energy that God placed in us to do Kingdom Work...sadly, mission accomplished TEMPORARILY for so many of us, BUT God!  God knows how to turn messes into miracles and use every ugly thing turned around for HIS glory.  He used my depression to help bring freedom to others through prayer ministry and counselling...go figure!

Check the Psalms - full of ups and downs. Creative people are often melancholy. But clinical depression has a lot of ambient and random sadness and downright discouragement. Eric hit it - melancholy isn't depression. Depression isn't normal nor is it healthy. If you can't identify why you're sad and down and lonely and isolated; or you can't seem to climb out of it, you need to seek help. True clinical depression will not help you do anything, it is maladaptive behavior and as such, stifles creativity and functionality. And sometimes it ends in suicide.

 

Anyone here have any solid experience with music vs. clinical depression?  The little I know about it is that doctors treat it with drugs and various sorts of therapies.  Music is a profound and long-lasting mood-alterer (though I know that listening to Mozart can't erase the balances from credit cards or get the person a job they can hold on to).  Does anyone in this discussion have knowledge of music therapy or even of specific types of music which lend themselves to tipping the balance of power towards emotional health?

In another area parallel to this discussion, I observe that quite a few people use music in the church as a sort of emotional medicine.  The theologian Robert Webber went so far as to describe much of current worship as "therapeutic" -- the person comes to church to be rid of emotional baggage or distress (which partly explains the heavy penitential character of much current worship music).  This is certainly not without value -- Jesus spent a good deal of His time healing people of problems dealing with the mind, or of the spirit.

But we've got all of this music, and yet there are so many depressed people.  Any thoughts in this area?

we've got all of this music, and yet there are so many depressed people.

 

We have a lot of depressing music. The mood and mode of so much modern music is downright dark. Melancholy music is fine, but a steady diet of it is a bad thing I think.

 

Nothing can move my spirit in all directions like Albeniz, Suite Espanola. Next to that comes Mark Knopfler.

This is really a post about making money...

Who says you can't enjoy life "painting or writing a book or a song" without "making lots of money?"

I have friends who make a living in the Christian music industry and they are happy and do well financially. I have been involved in music for many, many years and I am not always happy with what I produce and either am I doing well financially. And yes there are times when I think maybe I should have invested my life in something other than music. I have to remind myself that I am involved with music for the fact that I love music. Besides, maybe the music I produce is just not good enough for prime time. But you know what? That's okay with me because I am in music ministry for God, NOT for me.

Mario

Same here.  By American success standards, at my age I should be enjoying a paid-off home, have a savings account, be able to take a trip in an automobile and other such luxuries.  But I've had a life as a musician; few of us ever become anything but an associate, an accompanist, an assistant -- our lives are in helping other people enjoy music.   Few of us get to play publicly the music we enjoy the most; we learn to help others with their styles (and gain appreciation along the way).  But I wouldn't trade being a musician for any other "career".. I put the word in quotes because it is not a career, it is a life, arranging sounds and words, somehow, attempting to do it in a God-pleasing way, and always being either in leadership or servanthood, or both simultaneously, bringing opportunities daily for my light to shine.  I get to bring beauty, balance, rhythm and harmony into this coarse, brutal world.  I think that's cooler than reading the Wall Street Journal on some beach in Polynesia.

 

I have friends who make a living in the Christian music industry and they are happy and do well financially.

 

Have times changed? As hard as it is to make money in non-Christian music, I thought it was that much harder in Christian music.

Actually, the post is about coping with your disease and making it work for you instead of you for it.

I wouldn't recommend depression to anyone. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Although there are great lessons to be learned while there, it's not healthy to stay there. I went through a great trial a few years ago which led to a depression so deep I was literally numb to my surroundings. I really felt suicidal but knew that was not an option for me. But it wasn't until I came out of my depression that I was able to write music again. The song Strength to Strength came out of the lonely 1 AM time of depression when I allowed God to begin the healing process.

 

Elman - when you say trial, do you mean a court trial, or a personal test kind of thing? I'm just curious because I know that legal proceedings can be just as trying as deaths etc.

I don't think there is any "coping with your disease" when it comes to clinical depression. Having a melancholy personality is one thing, but someone with true depression isn't coping. That's part of the definition of it. So "making it work for you" isn't an option - it works against you and until you get out of it, you won't be productive. I'm just now reading Elman's post and I completely agree. 

 

Now if your original post merely meant to equate "depression" with a sad and melancholy personality, then we're talking about a different thing.

Now if your original post merely meant to equate "depression" with a sad and melancholy personality, then we're talking about a different thing. ... which reminded me of an old CSN&Y album 4 Way Street where Neil Young says, "Now here's a song that's sure to bring you down. It's called, Don't Let It Bring You Down."

  I'm not sure I want my best friend to have a constant sad and melancholy personality, The angel said, "I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all the people."  Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy be complete."  I think I'm going to stick with joy.

  I'll take the valleys along with the mountain top experiences, but I do see that 'even though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death', I'm going to walk thru it. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. For a creative Christian, depression does not have to be a way of life.

 

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