Smiling in spite of deep depression
Posted by PurpleMoonbeam
10th Oct 2012

In support of World Mental Health Day and the theme of depression.

I have discovered that there is actually one benefit to living with bipolar disorder and that is creativity! I have found that when I am in a deep depression I can take up a pen (ok, keyboard these days) and produce creative writing. When I am in a high state, I can produce a variety of different forms of artwork.

So, I have been experimenting with different ways to channel the creativity that is crashing around in my bipolar brain. In addition to writing and blogging, I have had a go at creating art such as creative photography and digital art forms. I have been channelling my energy into creating a series of digital artwork that focusses different things that can bring about a sense of wellbeing.

If I can use my painful experiences and turn them on their head to try and help others, then I feel like I am giving a worthwhile contribution and feel a little less hopeless. So I am having a go at promoting mental wellbeing!

The first picture in the series focusses on a simple thing that may help lessen the feeling of depression.
Depression often involves complete lack of feeling, a sort of numbness and disconnectedness as well as actual feelings of hopelessness and despair. There are many claims about the things you can do to help alleviate this state. Some are too difficult if you are very deeply depressed, but one simple thing that we can try, is forcing a smile.

Forced or real, this simple act releases endorphins in the brain. The chemical boost this produces may be very small for someone in depression, but it could create a pleasant therapeutic effect that makes the day just a little bit better. I know how hard this is to do when deeply depressed; nothing touches me enough to make me smile when I am in that state; not even jokes, stand-up comedy or funny sitcoms. (Actually Miranda does make me smile on occasion!). But, I have discovered that forcing a smile, even briefly does seem to help. You can view the digital art I produced to support this state of wellbeing in the Image Gallery here:

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