May is the month of #mentalhealthawareness, which coincidentally fits well as I’m sat here writing this on one of my bad days. I am someone who has and still does suffer with their mental health, much like the majority of others, which in turn often affects my creativity. I’ve put this post together firstly to inspire myself to do something useful today, and secondly to hopefully give someone the motivation to get up too.
Musicians, artists, actors, writers and filmmakers, anything with a creative outlet, are able to acknowledge their struggles and put it directly into their work. When I first began to experience panic attacks and the generalised feeling of constant anxiety that comes with it, I picked up a pencil and I drew; I drew until I felt calm, whilst one of my friends wrote songs, and another took photos.
Mental health awareness is a cause close to my heart and will be a running theme throughout this magazine. I believe it is so important to continue the conversation, to allow people to know that they are not the only ones suffering. I thought I’d share with you some of my tips when I feel so low that I find it so hard to get up and create.
- Take time out for yourself. Whether that is simply five minutes just to go sit outside, thirty minutes for a run, or a few hours to go see some friends. Let your brain take a break and relax. If you don’t want to stop doing work, then focus on another section of your projects. For example, when I can’t write, I’ll work on a video or research people to interview.
- Use your talent or hobby to manifest all your emotions. Don’t focus on a particular project. If you’re a painter, throw paint all over a canvas with no rhyme or reason, if you’re a writer, write it all out. Usually the best art and music are the result of heartbreak, grief, sadness or anger.
- Whether you are a wordsmith or not, write it down. Simply as a journal entry, as a list in a book, or try creative writing with it such as a poem, what you are feeling is a raw emotion, channel it and use it. Writing a diary entry is a good way to record it, talk about how you are feeling, what your body is doing, and what has happened that day. If it’s easier, writing this as a list or note form can be a smaller, less-daunting task.
- Try turning anxiety from negativity to positivity, it’s your best friend, use it, get to know it, control it; why not try to come at it with a different perspective? Remember that out of your deepest pain, in the eye of the emotional storm, you could create something incredible.
Dealing with an issue like anxiety will not be easy, but taking steps to overcome it, not only will make you a stronger person, it will help you to achieve your goals. Keep pushing through those bad days, even if you are only able to do an hour of work, that is still an hour worth of work closer to your dream. Call someone up, talk about it, don’t hide away or suppress your emotions. I know it feels like there isn’t a way out sometimes but try. It is okay to not be okay, don’t forget that. There will always be someone who will listen, even when you think there is no one. Get out of bed, have a shower, wear a nice outfit and be productive; you won’t regret it.
If you are struggling, open up.
For more help check out Mind for resources.
Words by Hayley North.
Images courtesy of Hayley North.