Creative Anxiety

“The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.
– Deepak Chopra

Lately, I’ve been cutting back more and more on drinking; this can be a tricky task when one lives in Wisconsin, as it is truly a huge part of local culture, from Sunday brunch to sporting events or backyard grilling and everything in between. Once you start to avoid it, you realize that almost all the social gatherings are based around alcohol. And while I sure don’t miss the hangovers, I’m suddently painfully aware of what my anxiety level was before all the social drinking. And while that can feel isolating at times, I’ve come to find peace in creativity (and fortunately, creative is my job!).
It’s kind of a personal thing to speak candidly about, but anxiety and depression are a very real part of my existence. Most days, it is physically painful. And I begin to wonder what to even do with myself instead of partaking in bottomless mimosas on a Sunday. It might not sound very fun, but double down on work! Certainly, that sounds like well… work, of course. ew. Who wants to work 7 days a week? What am I, mad?? haha Yes, actually–a little bit! Maybe I take advantage of the totally empty building at work on a Sunday and utilize my drafting table. Maybe I can get excited about a nerdy side project. Maybe I can make a bunch of extra money creating more artwork and doing more art shows and finally take the vacation I’ve been wanting and needing. Because that’s the luxury of getting to do what you love for a living–it doesn’t always feel like work.
Calming the mind can be difficult; some days it feels downright impossible, like having 30 browser tabs open at once. But folding an infinite origami pattern can be soothing, as it forces me to focus, at least a little, on one thing instead of fixating on many. Experiencing that wonderful feeling of gratification upon completion of a watercolor and presenting it to the world can be as great a high as any drug.
It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, and maybe I wasn’t able to work up the physical or mental energy to get a load of laundry done, but it’s something, and it isn’t self-destructive. And something is better than nothing. For many people, just getting out of bed in the morning is a legitimate struggle, and it isn’t out of laziness; it’s about a neurosis that is downright crippling at times. Some of the most creative minds are troubled ones.
So hi! What up, demons? It’s your girl. Let’s makes some pretty pictures together.

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