Two years ago, on the 22nd December 2015, I was diagnosed with depression after a three year battle with an existing anxiety disorder.
I remember sitting in the doctor’s room staring at the blank white wall listening to him say “you have a long journey ahead of you.” At the time I thought there was something wrong with me. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Why wasn’t I able to cope with my emotions properly? Why can’t I just enjoy my life? It was a constant battle with my mind.
I didn’t know why I was depressed. I lived in a beautiful home with my family, I went to a good university studying Media which I was always passionate about and to anyone, it looked like I had the ideal world. Mental illness runs in my family so I knew that had something to do with it, but thinking back now I know deep down a lot of it had to do with not knowing what I wanted from life, not understanding my true purpose and disliking who I was. I used to spend a lot of time dwelling on things I couldn’t control and in the end, I found myself sitting on a hard, dirty old chair in the doctors room feeling like I’d completely let myself and everyone around me down.
After dwelling on the fact that I thought there was something wrong with me, I decided enough was enough and in the new year, I vowed to spend time to fnd my feet again. While all my friends were getting into relationships, I was learning to enjoy my own company. While people around me were hopping on planes and travelling the world, I tried to fnd happiness from being home. It really felt like learning to walk again and some days I fell. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, or leave the house or do anything. But I learnt to accept it.
Throughout my recovery, my main goal was to find things that made me happy. I did everything. From going to the gym, to thinking about getting back into singing, to wanting to start my own business. But nothing truly made me feel good. My whole life I’ve been a very creative person. Whether it was stepping on stage in a green tutu or performing in my school plays, doing anything creative allowed me to express who I was and it took me a while to realise that I had lost all of that. I lost my spark and the one thing that always made me happy.
I soon realised that my journey wasn’t just about dealing with mental health, it was also about searching for my creative fair again.
Since studying media, I began to make short films and videos for YouTube, got offered work as a freelance videographer and created a blog as an outlet for me to express how I feel inside. The thing with depression is that it makes it extremely hard to talk to someone about your problems. For me, I made the choice not to so I used my blog as my “psychologist”.
I spent a lot of time creating my blog into a little online world for people to read content I share. I wrote about things going on in my head, things I love and things I’m passionate about.
After a few months of putting posts out here and there I felt a shift. It felt like all this weight I’d been carrying on my shoulders for years had been lifted off, and for the first time I felt content with my life.
“My main goal was to find things that made me happy.”
I started setting goals for myself and gained the motivation to achieve them. I learnt to explore my creativity and get out of my comfort zone and most importantly, I taught myself to love who I am on the inside and the life I’m living.
Now I try to use my creativity to inspire other people. Whether it’s one, two or a hundred people, the satisfaction knowing I can create something that can help someone gives me the motivation to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, some days, weeks, even months are still tough and there’s some times I wish I could lock myself in a room till I’m okay again but I know what makes me happy and I know that being creative will always help me.
My advice to anyone going through the same thing is to just stop. Pick up a pen, your laptop or whatever material you use and make something, write something, share something with the world. Free yourself from however you’re feeling and put that emotion into something incredible.
Depression affects 1 in 5 people, but creativity affects everyone.
Claudia Bonnici is a content creator who is passionate about using her skills in writing and social media to produce content that helps and inspires people.