Hey everyone--it certainly has been awhile, hasn't it? I lurk on deviantart every few weeks, and while I am no longer as active as I once was (thanks to a full-time job), I still am astounded by the volume of wonderful artwork here. I'm also amazed when anyone sees and responds to my work. This is, hopefully, a safe place for me to go into this next topic, and a place that not many of my "real-world" connections knows about. So I'm taking this chance to speak out about depression and being an artist, and how much depression can damage creativity. Looking at my page, I've only submitted a few pieces over the last year or two. I know I can partially blame that to lack of time or energy, but I think a large part of this is due to my personal struggle with depression. I've been officially diagnosed with depression for about 6 years now, and have been aware of it since I was 11. Art has been mostly cathartic for me throughout this illness, as it allows me to express my feelings in a constructive way rather than through self-harm or other coping mechanisms. However, recently I've been faced with something that I am not quite sure how to deal with...an overwhelming feeling that my art is not good enough, nor will I ever be good enough. Is this the depression talking? Absolutely. But knowing that does not make it any easier to overlook those emotions. And that's not to imply that I've never had these feelings of self-doubt before. In fact, self-doubt is a HUGE part of depression. But I've just found it hard to battle lately, and because of that, have been beyond unmotivated to create anything. I'll get sparks of inspiration, only to sit down and think, what's the point? It won't be any good. So why am I writing this journal? It's not a plea for compliments, and it's not at all for attention. Honestly, I don't think many people will read it. But if you do, and you have any tips on how to power through these feelings, I'd appreciate it. Because right now, I'm sort of at a loss...
And then on an unrelated note. Something I have noticed that drives me INSANE and that I want to address here, in a community of artists, is the way we treat each other. Deviantart has been mostly a positive place to interact, but you will find that some artists interactions can take on a funny turn, both onscreen and in the non-digital world. I think there's this weird conception out there that if you compliment another's artwork, that means that you are admitting that you are not good. Or that because you praise someone else, that detracts from your own work. I've met a few artists who give off this vibe, completely unwilling to give any sort of feedback while desperately seeking praise for their own work. And I just find it...weird? Odd? Sad? I guess what I'm trying to say is...we need to treat each other with respect. I highly value a constructive critique, believe me. But I also think support of creation is something that we can all endorse. It comes down to acknowledging that we are all in different places in our artistic journeys, and we all bring something unique to the table. I think we are all quick to rank each other (well, my art is better than HERS, but wow, HIS is so much better than mine), and we lose sight of why we are creating art. So please, be kind to each other, stop playing the comparing game, and remember that the more we support each other, the more our community can grow and develop.
As always, I appreciate my followers more than you can ever know. I hope you all are doing very well! Thank you for everything, and keep creating!