Enabling the Team
UXDX Community: The Mental Health Side of Creativity 2023

Have you ever noticed that Designer and Depression start with the same two letters? Coincidence?

All the ingredients for a good depression are intrinsic to the designer's job: Perfectionism, Performance, Comparison, and Creativity at all costs. Simmer in a tech culture where we are always trying to please, where no matter what we do, we are never enough... BANG, BooBANG and KaBANG!

My name is Manon, I'm a Lead designer and went through a major depression. I was off work for 11 months.

Depression is being a sad mac in a world of happy windows.
While burnout is starting to become acceptable, depression still isn't. Burnout is the badge of honor of the ambitious. While depression is still synonymous with weakness, laziness, abandonment of all dignity, or being born with a rainy cloud. In the collective imagination, we should be ashamed of being depressed.

I want to say Fuck the shame.

I want to lift the veil on a reality that too many live hidden, in pain and guilt. Often isolated and misunderstood, the return to "normal" life is a road full of pitfalls that I would compare more to a rollercoaster than a cruise in my bed. Depression can happen to anyone. It's time to look depression in the eye, with a little smile on our faces. Because humor helps to pass the pill...well the antidepressant!

Between toxic positivism and the cult of "hustle", how to get out of it?
The reality is that loving yourself is not innate and is a skill to be learned. What if healing is loving yourself?
What if developing self-compassion was the answer? Under the pretext that design is a profession-passion, should we put up with everything? How can we reclaim our creativity?
Can we redefine performance and success? Can we have a healthy relationship with our work?
Can we live well-being and success at the same time? How to support a person who is experiencing depression?

With humor and love, I will speak frankly about loneliness and suicidal thoughts but also about acceptance, questioning, discoveries, dignity, and hope at the end of the tunnel. I want to share with you the learnings and behaviors I've learned to navigate the discomfort (which can be useful to you) and the little things that make my life better now.

Talking about depression is about what makes us human without judgment.
That's where the work begins.
Let's question everything, together.

Manon Gruaz

Manon Gruaz, UX Team Lead ,Haleo Sleep Clinic