Navigating Depression and ADHD as a Creative

It’s 7am. I’m getting up.

Doesn’t sound unusual. Thing is, I went down for a nap at 6pm yesterday. I was tired.

Again, sounds normal and reasonable.

I have long Covid. I tested positive for Covid early December 2020. I was extremely ill for 2 weeks. It’s now the middle of May 2021. I’m still grappling with severe fatigue, breathlessness and severe hair loss.

Last night I was going to go out for a walk. It pelted down with rain and hail stone and the sky thundered and roared.

I stayed indoors.

At 6pm I decided to take a nap. I was trying to read “Own Your Own Weird” by Jason Zook, but was way too tired.

Pre long Covid, this nap would be brief and I’d wake up later in the evening, ready to be creative and productive.

Instead, I woke up 13 hours later.

I woke up, upset that I can’t this control this aspect of my health and my time.

I’m anxious as I’m waiting to hear back on some leads for paid work projects. They’ll get back to me. But for now, I can only focus on the silence in my email inbox.

I decided to load up Logic Pro X and open I beat I was making so I could share it online. These beats were made using presets, so I learnt the hard way that Logic Pro X does NOT save the presets you choose to make beats with when you save it.

When you make original compositions it saves everything. But not when you use presents, it just won’t.

I created 5 beats last week. All made and saved this way. Lost forever.

Last week, just before I took a break for Eid I was on a high. New leads for paid freelancing gigs, beats made…..lots of promise.

An artistic and creative path has ups and downs, twists and turns. For me, this is heavily exacerbated by my ADHD.

ADHD makes me far more susceptible to extreme highs and lows. Depressive episodes and lows are a lifelong companion.

Waking up to the kind of start I have today is often the recipe for very unproductive depressive episodes.

But I’ve been doing my morning pages this morning and gaining some clarity.

I’m feeling very down. Doesn’t take Colombo to figure that out.

But, I have leads for work. They’re likely busy. So I’ll park that anxiety to one side, or at least try to.

As for the lost beats. I’ll create again and I’ll write down the settings for beats made using presets on Logic Pro X, so I don’t repeat this mistake.

The lost time and fatigue from long Covid?

My body has been impacted by an unforgiving virus. My body needed the rest. I listened to my body. I need to be patient with my health.

Despite my current ADHD mood swing, essentially a depressive episode, I’m gonna try and push on today.

A creative path isn’t all bouncy castles every day.

I’m going to focus on what I can control today.

I’ll go out for a walk and work on some creative and paid freelancing goals and read.

I’ll “Keep Going”.

The pendulum will swing the other way.

If you’re an artist, a creative and / or have ADHD, know that you’re not alone navigating the ups and downs that come with what feels like a lonely path.

You’re not alone.

Keep Going.

We need you and your gifts.

Share them with us.

Let generosity be your North Star.

3 thoughts on “Navigating Depression and ADHD as a Creative”

  1. Ericasharlette

    Dear Haroon,

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Suffering with severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD, I can absolutely relate to what you’re going through, and it’s brutal.

    If it helps any, just know that these feelings touch people that you’re in direct contact with and most importantly, you’re not going through them alone.

    I hope that knowledge helps some, in the same way your post has helped me.

    Thank you for sharing and I’m very sorry that you’re experiencing this, I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy.

    I hope today is a better one.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Erica.

      Each day there are improvements. I’m becoming more self aware and just navigating the challenges better.

  2. I relate to this SO much @Haroon, I don’t even know how to put it into words! I’m taking a break from writing because my body said I had to, and I’m climbing the walls not being able to write. I’ve frittered away more than half of today on social media, done nothing of worth when I have a short book to read by the time I have my next counselling session on Tuesday, and I’m upset about a couple of misunderstandings personally and professionally. My depressive state is evil and self-abusive, so I have no alternative but to walk the fine line between feeling desperate to be understood, and emotionally harming myself with cruel words I would never in a million say to someone else, but find it so easy to say to myself. I’m not in a good place and I just feel so raw, and exposed. Guess I’ll go read that book now. Hope you’re feeling better. If it helps, I’ve spent the majority of time since last Tuesday morning asleep. Literally, for whole days, and could not be woken. You’re not alone either.

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