On the Subject of Mental Health

I want to talk a little bit about anxiety and depression, managing it, and how this relates to art.

If there’s one thing I have always hated it’s the myth of the tortured artist. It’s the idea that you have to be tormented in order to create “true art,” and I honestly believe it’s incredibly damaging. Because let me tell you, anxiety and the depression it creates hasn’t led to me being a better writer. Frankly, it’s just made me miserable.

I’m doing so much better now than I was before therapy and medication, but it’s still something I have to manage because this doesn’t ever really go away. My anxiety no longer loops over and over until I fall into depressive episodes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad moments or even bad days.

Sometimes little things will hit you you from out of nowhere and distract, scratching at the back of your mind. Sometimes you have to take a break from what you’re doing because you can’t focus. Sometimes you just plain don’t have the energy to muster for your projects.

And that’s okay. It really is. Self-care is an ongoing process, and I wasn’t even qualified to have the problems I do now until I dealt with the previous ones because they were just so huge I wasn’t aware they existed. I’m sure I’m not alone in that experience.

Perspective helps with this, especially in not getting caught up in what you “should” be doing. Just getting through the day is a victory, and even if you’ve only picked at a few words of your draft then you should take pride in that. Your mind may work against you, but that doesn’t mean you’re helpless no matter how much it might feel like that’s the case.

Don’t let yourself get caught up thinking you have to be sad or feel awful in order to create art. Chances are that’s actually getting in your way. Take care of yourself and seek help in any way you can or need to. Trust me, you’ll be better for it.

Leave a Comment