Depression in Biologists, Filmmakers, Artists

Depression in independent scientists, filmmakers and artists is a very real thing. I know. I’ve experienced all of those careers and seen it first hand.

I’ve always thought that being depressed was a weakness to your character. I know my father explained it that way to me once. I don’t think that anymore. In fact, I think it may be more a symptom of the difficult career path – one full of uncertainty and one of comparison with others. Once I had the courage to explain what I was going through, I finally had everyone come out of the woodwork to explain they go through it too. That helped a lot.

I made a video this week about depression, to bring up the struggles I go through as an artist, filmmaker, guy, and dad. In some ways it’s for me – in others I just want to make sure anyone who is also feeling down or depressed, knows they aren’t alone. Link is in my description. 🙂 Sometimes #downdays sometimes #updays – #keepitinperspective

Over the last 5 years, I’ve had two 6-month periods where I was very down – I was depressed. I never went to see a doctor so I wasn’t diagnosed, but I realize that this action of not taking action was part of a bigger problem we all have in this filmmaking world. The more I started to tell people the more I realized it was everyone’s secret.

I was tired, unmotivated, stressed, anxious, couldn’t sleep and feeling worthless. I couldn’t get it to leave. Was it related to being a filmmaker and YouTuber in this modern world? I think so. I’d be willing to say that depression is higher in our field and I think we need to talk about it.

Here are my favorite videos that I’ve seen on the topic of depression all wrapped up into a nice little playlist. If you have others feel free to add them in the links below.

Also, do leave me your comments. Look, it’s important to let anyone that is going through it know they’re not alone. And, realize that it doesn’t mean you’re weak if you’re going through depression – anymore than having a broken leg means your weak. I might even see it as part of the struggle that anyone in our field will likely go through to get to where they want to be.

Thanks for watching and letting me share.

depression - scuba diver in cold water

Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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