Many people don’t struggle to imagine the suffering artist – the one who suffers internally but creates wonderful music in order to work through the mental illnesses he or she may be suffering from. An organization in the UK called “Help Musicians” conducted a study of men and women in 12 different occupations within the music industry. They found that 71 percent of people had suffered from panic attacks or high anxiety and 69 percent suffered from depression. These numbers are extremely high, considering that the depression rate cuts to 20 percent in the overall population.
They found that the main sources of depression were:
- Difficulty sustaining a living – Musicians get paid very little, especially if they are relying on platforms like Spotify and iTunes to provide their living. There is no consistent paycheck.
- Anti-social working hours – The hours vary from day to day, leaving no regular time to stay in touch with loved ones.
- Inability to plan for the future – Schedules are ever-changing, and planning ahead is somewhat of a luxury.
- Little to no recognition of their work and identity – Being underpaid and undervalued can damage your sense of worth, leading to depression.
- Family and work balance – Work takes up most of a musician’s time and usually does not allow free time when others have it. It becomes difficult to hold onto relationships.
- Sexist attitudes and sexual harassment – This can lead to feelings of helplessness.
Intelligence and Depression
Those people with higher intelligence do seem to suffer from depression more than those with lower IQ levels. An article by Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD called “Does High IQ Increase the Risk of Depression and Mental Disorders?” claims that those with a high IQ have a more internalized sense of the world. When the reality of what is around them clashes with the reality they have constructed in their minds, they feel alienated and unable to cope fully. Many people turn to creative outlets to help them cope.
Genes versus Environment
Many people ask if depression and other mental illness is a result of genetics or of environmental factors. The answer is a bit more complicated than one or the other. Our biochemistry is established when we are born, but our behaviors change the protein synthesis and genetic expression of our genes. Our biochemistry changes with the influence of our environment. This may mean that creative and intelligent people with a knack for music may be more attracted to musical careers than others.
What Can Be Done?
By taking small steps, it may be easier for musicians and other creative types to tackle their depression in a healthy way. For example, addressing any psychological issues and trying therapy can be very helpful. Exercise, a proper diet, and healthy amounts of sleep can also contribute to a musician’s emotional and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which gives us feelings of happiness. A proper diet that is low on carbohydrates and sugar can also help solve many of the problems depressed people experience. Our bodies crave the happiness feelings we get when eating sweets, but we crash after the high has passed.
Exploring a supplement, too, can be beneficial to mental health. Oftentimes, these feelings of depression and anxiety are the result of deficiencies in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D3, and other necessary vitamins in the body.
We understand the pain and struggles that can accompany depression and anxiety, which is why we created EQ. To learn more about the connection between music and depressive disorders, as well as what you can do about it, take a look at our clinical brief. If you are ready to give EQ a try, be sure to check it out on our site today.