The Grey-Ghost

This is a post from my art blog, Artsy. about depression. It is bit different than what I usually post here but given the effect of the the COVID-19 pandemic on our country, I think that it is pertinent.

stormyA few weeks ago, I was Rambling on Older Eyes, about fighting depression as I deal with the shit-storm that life seems to have dealt me in 2020.   I’m certainly not alone.   Time magazine reports that since COVID infected its way into our lives, about twice as many Americans are reporting moderate depression and about six times as many severe.  My wife and I were still adjusting a move into our new home in Utah after living in California for 50 years when the pandemic hit.  Like many people we are dismayed by the political rancor in our country and the way it is making the pandemic worse.  Add my daughter and wife dealing with breast cancer and you have the kind of environment that drives me from mild to moderate on the depression scale in spite of a daily anti-depressant.

Did you know that it is established that creative people are more likely to be depressed?   Psychologists and psychiatrists tend to agree that major depression is amplified in those who tend to ruminate on their thoughts. To be creative is to make sense of and connect the small details of everything we experience, the good and the bad. Creatives naturally tend to think more, and think about their very thoughts too.  Yep,  Rumination.   The opposite isn’t true, by the way … depressed people are NOT more likely to be creative than the general population.  In a way, creatives have been given compensation for their depressive tendencies.  According to, art therapy provides invaluable benefits for people struggling with even severe depressive episodes.  I know that writing, photography and painting work for me.

People who haven’t experienced depression may not grasp the force with which it drags you downward.   Snap out of it, they may say, everyone is sad sometimes.   In spite of numerous articles describing the debilitating effects of depression (like this one). it can be hard to describe how it feels.  Sometimes a picture is better (I’ve heard that somewhere before).  In my post, Rambling, I described The Grey-Ghost of depression as throwing his grey cloak over my shoulders to drag me down into depression.  It seemed like a perfect description … I even did an little sketch of him in my journal.   But that wasn’t enough … I had a haunting desire to paint him and a few days ago, I sat down at my drawing table with watercolors and India ink and painted this:

My wife, Muri said, That’s creepy … and it is … but it accurately illustrates how it feels when depression is stalking me. And don’t take my word for it. Look at 137 Artists Try To Show What Depression Looks Like And Some Results Will Make Your Skin Crawl on the boredpanda website and I don;t think you’ll ever be dismissive about depression again.

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