John Leguizamo on Creativity and Depression

In a new interview at Fast Company’s Co.Create, John Leguizamo talks about the links between creativity and depression.

He has a good perspective, I think.

 “It’s true! Every time I’ve had one of those deep paralyzing kind of shut-in depressions, it makes me want to prove something. Bottoming out helps me focus. I guess it’s nature or my inner self telling me I need to deal with certain things, to grieve. When I surrender to the depression, there’s like a re-birth and I’m ready to create something.”

That doesn’t make depression fun, sure. I mean if you look forward to “deep paralyzing kind of shut-in depressions” there’s something more problematic going on than just a temporary lull in creativity. But, the link between depression and creativity is strong — though I don’t think it’s depression we’re actually talking about, at least in the clinical sense. I think it’s the feeling that comes from not creating. In general, I’d describe depression more of a lack of feeling, a protective mechanism that shuts down your emotional core to help you survive.

Trust me, I know it from both ends.

I restarted my website late last summer, and I think it was that rebirth that Leguizamo is talking about. Prior to, I felt a little hollow, bottomed-out on the creative end. Pouring energy into making a new website and creating a lot of content brought me out of it. From there, I launched a few new projects and am pretty happy with the way things are moving at the moment.

The takeaway? Don’t fear bottoming out. You’re a creative person with passion and purpose and if your creativity stalls out, it’s only logical that it’s going to have an emotional effect on you. The good news is that eventually you’ll rise above it, and the depression that you felt will probably become fuel. Don’t fight the process,  embrace it.