Creative Depression

Some of you might have noticed that I have not written or posted anything in a while. Well there is a reason for that, took me a little bit to figure things out. I thought I was just going through a creative slump and felt unmotivated to do anything. However it wasn’t your typical “I am not inspired” feeling. It was as if a switch was turned off on my emotions and I could not physically draw or be creative.I thought for a bit that I might be going through burnout, but it felt different. Since artists and designers are generally passionate people, we feed off of our emotions to be creative. It felt as if someone came in a shut the lights out and I was in the dark trying to find the light switch. I had lost all of my creative passion and energy to carry on. I had to dig deep to see what was wrong because I did not chose to feel this way. As a Christian I knew God did not want me to feel this way. Lots of negative thoughts were flowing through my mind and I felt defeated and had no hope. So I sought some wise council in friends and family to talk about what I was experiencing and finally came to the conclusion I was going through depression. I thought “how can I go through this”, I am a highly motivated person, I look to God as my inspiration and motivation, I am a positive person in general. But after talking to people and finding out more about depression my mind is tired and taking the path of least resistance. It is much easier to be negative and not do anything vs be positive and press forward  So the first thing I started to do was be vocal about it. I let several of my friends and family know that I am going through this, yes I have depression, it sucks but I am going to fight through this. I went to the doctor and found out I had a vitamin D deficiency, not enough sunshine I guess. So I started taking vitamin D and that actually helped out quite a bit. Then found out that exercise is one of the best things you can do to combat depression, not easy to do  when your mind doesn’t want to do anything. I have had to dig deep at times to get myself to walk around the block. Every time I do I have always felt better. I have also started taking a vitamin supplement called SAM-E and that has helped with my mood. So as I push through this road block I do look to God as my rock and it is truly through Him I find comfort and freedom from this whole thing. I am being transparent so I can, hopefully inspire or help out with some of you that are going through the same thing. I can’t thank all of you enough for the support on my web page and store. I will get better as time passes and I will keep pressing forward.


Dwayne Vance


  1. Igor Tkac

    Hey Dwayne,
    I’ve been there once, for too long. I sustained a pretty bad skateboarding injury (tore ACL and bunch of other stuff) and spiraled downward mentally and physically. I think it happens to the best of us and how we recover from it is paramount. I am glad you are feeling better and I would say exercise is an amazing remedy. I would also recommend a vacation as well once you start feeling a little better to clear some things and get back to it! Thanks for your amazing art… Take care..

  2. Michael Satterfield

    Love you brother and I’ll be praying for you! I know you are going to pull through and come out stronger and more driven.

  3. Michelle

    I am an illustrator struggling with the same type of thing. It gets markedly worse during winter. I literally have to force myself to do something creative when it used to be that I couldn’t stop myself from creating.
    I have to force myself to make a website, which is super crappy. I have 2 books I am trying so hard to work on, but it feels like the life has just been drained. (I do have professional help).
    Thanks for sharing.
    Keep drawing,

  4. Scott

    Sorry to hear about it Dwayne – as a creative designer myself I’ve experienced the burnout and separation you’ve described. It happens. Sounds like you’ve had it pretty bad though (more than I ever have) but just know that there are lots of folks out there like myself who are really inspired by your work. You are an incredible illustrator and I hope to see more stuff soon!

  5. Stefan Marjoram

    Hey Dwayne, I’m really sorry to hear you’ve been going through a rough patch – but very relieved that you’re fighting your way out of it. I have times a bit like this too but luckily they don’t last too long. I get cross at myself about it because I really have no reason to feel depressed or uninspired – there’s absolutely no logic to it. I agree that excercise and a holiday goes a long way to making you feel better (if I lived closer I’d be knocking on the door and pestering you to go for a climb). I find learning a new skill is great too. I recently did a blacksmithing course – it’s great to be a beginner at something again and you feel very proud when you start to master it. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your excellent work – but don’t fret about it, take your time and let us know if we can help. There are loads of us here who have enjoyed your talent and hard work over the years and who’d be only too happy to help in some way if we could. I’m rambling, but you know what I mean… hope so, otherwise I’ll come across as a bit of a loon.

  6. Jeffrey Gillan

    “The meaning of life, is a life of meaning.”
    Your mind and creativity inspires many of us around the world.
    You worked very hard to complete your second book and at the same time, tour, give tutorials, customers work, look after your family, run a business or businesses…
    Just remember that you are a beautiful person that has a wonderful life and the only people you need to please are your wife, children and don’t forget to treat yourself.

  7. jonsibal

    That’s a tough situation but glad you’re up and about. Thx for sharing your experience man. Keeping you in my prayers. Your work is an inspiration to me.

    • Dwayne Vance

      Thanks bud an much appreciated.

  8. David

    Everything has its positive side. When you get over this situation you will discover than you know more about yourself than before. This will make you stronger and more wise. We learn mostly from difficult experiences, which at the end are opportunities be more aware of ourselves, see what is necessary to change, to learn and grow.

    • Dwayne Vance

      Thanks David and yes I totally agree with you.

  9. Naveed Butt

    To Dwayne Vance
    I’m twenty and i live in the UK studying product design, what you posted really struck a chord with me. I suffer with Complex PTSD, with Severe Depression being one of the symptoms. I’m so glad i read this while im feeling like this as it makes life a lot easier when i know other people are finding a way to manage so it is possible and i can do it. Thank you for posting this as i completely related to what you just said and its made me feel a lot better. I find car design the most interesting just because of the sheer variety in styles but my favourite style has to be the british sports car. anyway thank you
    Naveed Butt

    • Naveed Butt

      But to be honest i struggle to cope and its nice to know there are people who know how to change.

  10. Mark

    I just read this and its been months since it was posted. I am going on my 7 month of depression. I am a Industrial Designer or was. No feeling no motivation but it makes me feel better that I am not the only one, and your not afraid to post your struggle. Thank You

  11. Chris

    I just came across this post and I feel greatest respect for your honesty and strength to simply face this. I’m an interface designer and have been dealing with this depression ever since my job stopped to be all new and exciting. And just as someone mentioned earlier it got worse every winter. But instead of being professional about it I cowardly tried to ignore it. Probably because didn’t want other people to see me weak and not meeting my expectations.
    But people like you finally made the difference for me! By talking to pros who also had a tough time and had to feed their families nevertheless, I learned how to overcome my suffering and to enjoy my job in a much better way. And may be check out this book: the dude and the zenmaster. Cheers

  12. Ray

    Good day Mr. Vance,

    Thank you so much for taking the time and courage to write down this incident of yours. It filled me with hope and courage.

    May God show us the truth as truth and bestow us the path to follow it, and may God show us the falsehood as falsehood and bestow us the path to avoid it.


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